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Difference Between CA And ICWA


The general opinion is that CA is tougher than the course in Cost Accountancy organized by ICWA (Institute of Cost and Work Accountants of India) now known as ICAI (Institute of Cost Accountants of India)While this may be true, the option to pursue a combination of both courses is also open for people but you can practice only one of the two. If you are serious about pursuing a career in accountancy, it is also important to understand how these two qualifications differ, and what would be the best option for you if you have just finished your 12th standard.

If you are wondering about the difference between CA and ICWA then this article will brief you on the same

Chartered Accountants (CA) Vs. Cost & Management Accountants (CMA/ CWA)



Definition: Chartered Accountancy (CA) is one of the most prestigious qualification in accounting and can be pursued immediately after your 12th standard exams. A qualification in Chartered Accountancy equips a student with thorough knowledge of auditing, taxation and accounting.Definition: A Cost Accountant is expected to collect, assimilate, collate, and analyze financial information from all areas of the organization. A cost accounting degree equips you with the knowledge on how to manage finance competently. Cost Accountancy as a profession is developed and improved by the ICWA now known as the ICAI
Governing Institute: It is important for students to register with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to appear for the examination.

(Also readAll about the career of a CA)

Governing Institute: The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) [previously known as the Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI)] promotes, regulates, and develops the profession of Cost & Management Accountancy in India.

(Also readAll about the career of a CMA)


Levels of Chartered Accountancy:

  • Entry Level Test: Common Proficiency Test
  • First Stage of Theoretical Education: Professional Competence Course
  • Final Stage of Theoretical Education: Final Course

Levels of Cost Accountancy:

There are 2 levels that need to be passed after the foundation course:

  • Intermediate Examination
  • Final Examination



Eligibility Details: If you have passed 10+2 from any stream from a recognized school, you are eligible to apply for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT).

If you registered for the Common Proficiency Test 60 days prior to the first day of the month in which CPT examination is to be held, you can appear in the examination.

You need to apply on or before 1st April and 1st October to appear for CPT examination to be held in June and December respectively.

Eligibility Details: Eligibility for admission to “foundation” level: passed Class 10 or equivalent from a recognized Board or Institution.

Eligibility for admission to “intermediate” level: Passed Senior Secondary School Examination (10+2) & Foundation Course of CMA (ICAI)/ Graduation in any discipline other than Fine Arts/ Foundation (Entry Level) Part I Examination of CAT of the Institute/ Foundation (Entry Level) Part I Examination and Competency Level Part II Examination of CAT of the Institute OR Passed Foundation of ICSI/Intermediate of along with 10+2.

Exams are held twice a year – June & December

Membership Requirement: To apply for membership to Institute of Chartered Accountancy of India, you need to pass the final course examination and also finish the requisite work experience.

Membership Requirement: Nothing prescribed

Job Profile: A Chartered Accountant (CA) has thorough knowledge of every aspect of accounting, auditing and taxation.

  • CAs are involved in core accounting work of an organization
  • CAs analyse risk and design efficient financial system
  • Taxation and auditing are main duties of a chartered accountant
  • Important skills required is that of patience and confidence to handle responsibility

Job Profile: A Cost & Management Accountant (CMA) has knowledge of cost & financial management to ensure a balance between expenditures & available resources.

  • Cost accountants are involved in the costing part of financial transactions
  • Cost Accountants assess the feasibility of projects vis-à-vis available funds
  • Cost management and designing cost control methods are main duties of a cost accountant  
  • Good communication is a key skill in cost accountants

Career Prospects:Chartered accountants are involved in a variety of roles. They are either employed by a company or are practicing chartered accountants. They are involved in:

  • Preparing financial statements and management reports
  • Liaising with internal and external auditors
  • Carrying out taxation and auditing work
  • Advising on tax and efficient tax planning
  • Preparing the annual reports
Quality chartered accountants are always in high demand. Demand for professionally qualified accounting personnel who can advise on cost control and financial investments are always high. As a fresher, you will start your career as an internal auditor or as a team member in the finance department of an organization.

Salary: According to Payscale, an entry-level chartered accountant can expect an average salary of INR 6.42 LPA.

Career Prospects: Every organization needs a good cost accountant. You can also take up consultancy work with various firms. With experience and training, cost accountants can hold top management positions like Financial Controller, Chief Accountant, Cost Controller, Marketing Manager, and Chief Internal Auditor.

Options are also open for CMAs (previously CWAs) to directly register in M.Phil and Ph.D. courses in commerce as decided by the Association of Indian Universities.

All India Council for Technical Education or AICTE also accept fellow members of ICWAI as at par with persons holding Ph.D. degree. They are, therefore, eligible for appointment to the posts of Professor and Lecturer in Professional and management Institutes.

Salary: According to Payscale, the average pay for an entry-level CWA is INR 4 Lakhs.

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