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CA vs CFA – Duration, Difference, Salary, Which is Better?

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CA vs CFA, the two most fascinating and demanding professional career options in the corporate world. But students usually ask which is better for them? Well, choosing between good and bad is easy but choosing between good and good is the most difficult task, and here is when mainly students get stuck.

CFA is ideal for a career in Investment Banking and Portfolio Management whereas the CA is beneficial for a career in Audit and Taxation. Both are the two renowned courses and their scope is rapidly increasing but one must choose a career seeing his interest and ability. Therefore, we have prepared an article that will help you in choosing between CA and CFA – which is better for you, in terms of course, duration, salary, difference, scope, etc.

Now, let’s discuss some differences between CA and CFA and also see which is better from your perspective –

Focus CA is treated as an expert in Accounting, Taxation, Law, Audit, and Finance.CFA has a core focus on Finance.
AreaCA is an Indian Recognised course organized by ICAICFA course is globally recognized and organized by the CFA Institute.
Duration of the CourseCA is divided into three levels along with 3 years of Practical Training which requires a minimum of 4.5 years after 12th.CFA course duration is also divided into three levels along with 4 years of practical training experience which requires a minimum of 4 years after graduation.
Pass Percentage CA is considered the toughest course throughout the world with an average passing percentage of 0.5%. It has been believed that only 5 out of 1000 entrants are able to qualify the CA Final exam.The passing percentage of CFA is higher as compared to CA. The avg. pass percentage seems to be 10% which means 100 students are able to qualify for this exam out of 1000 entrants into the course.
DemandDefinitely, the demand for CA’s is higher because they are only authorized to audit the Financial Statements of the company.CFA is demanded by many national and multinational companies looking for a candidate to be an expert in finance and handle their investments.
Paper Pattern CA is a subjective paper-based pattern. Hence, forget about the luck factor.CFA is an MCQ based paper pattern that involves a little luck factor in getting clear this exam.
Exam PatternHere the CA students get benefited because the papers are spread over 16 days having 1-day preparation leave in each paper.CFA is really difficult to prepare during exam time because here students are required to prepare all the 10 subjects in one day.
Salary in IndiaThe average package of a CA salary in India ranges between 6-7 lakhs which increases depending on your work.The average CFA salary in India of freshers are estimated up to 4 Lakhs which increases with your experience and ability.

Now, let’s have some understanding about CA and CFA in a detailed manner.

CA (Chartered Accountancy)

Chartered Accountancy is organized by the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India). The profession is well-reputed in society and enough to get you a dream job and earn name and fame as well. Chartered Accountants are highly responsible people in an organization whose work is to forecast, plan, and advise the management of the most profitable projects and investments.

The CA Course duration is of 5 years. In these 5 years, the total CA course fees will be around 3 lakhs including the fees of the registration form, exam form, study material and coaching. As soon as CA is added to your name, you will deem an expert in various domains to say as accounting, auditing, taxation, finance, corporate laws, etc. Besides the above, CA are the only authorized persons in India who can audit the Financial Statements of an organization. Without a CA signature, F.S. could not be called an Audited F.S. Moreover, the CA salary in India is around 8 to 9 lakhs per annum.

Even P.M. Modi Ji himself said that “CA signature is more powerful than P.M. signature”.

The CA Course is structured into three levels CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, and CA Final Coaching along with three years of Articleship Training which designate that CA studies are beyond bookish knowledge. With the three years of Articleship Training in the CA curriculum, here students are made aware of real-world challenges and turned into a true professional.

CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)

CFA course is globally recognized and organized by the CFA Institute which mainly focuses on Investment Management. Those who want to grow their career in Finance should go with CFA. CFA is not limited to India only, as this is a globally certified course, therefore the course carries much about global investment management.

CFA course is also divided into three levels. Moreover, the CFA Duration is around 5.5 years including four years of work experience. This means that CA and CFA, both courses are based on practical world challenges. However, one can go with CFA only after completing his graduation. The CFA salary in India is around 6.5 to 7 lakh per year.

CFA has a core focus on Finance and is completely based on concepts. Here the examiner test the application of concepts and formulas rather than their learning.

Better Career Option – CA or CFA

CFA is a course of 4 years with relevant work experience that is accepted by the CFA Institute. Candidates have to go through the entire CFA course syllabus and should clear 6 hours examination. Once the CFA exams are over, students can apply for CFA membership from the institute and can register with the local CFA society. 

CA candidates have to study for around 4.5 years and have to complete 3 levels to become a Chartered Accountant.  Students can enroll in the CA courses after class 12th or after their graduation. To become a CA, students have to go for article ship training. CA courses have flexible job opportunities for candidates. 

Candidates with a CA background have a high demand in the finance and manufacturing sectors. And, the candidates with the CFA background have a high demand in the investment sectors.

Therefore, both the courses CA and CFA are equally better for the career options for the students. It’s up to students which course they go for. 

Also Check: ACCA vs CA

CA and CFA Together

Students can go for a combination of both CA and CFA courses. Moreover, doing the combination course, students have a plus point that other students do not have. But, students should opt for combination courses only if they can manage both the courses properly. 

Or else, after completing the CA Course, you can pursue the CFA Course.

Conclusion – With the above article you must have got an idea of which course you should pursue CFA vs CA. CFA is a good career option if you want to go into the field of  Investment Banking and Portfolio Management whereas CA is ideal if you’re interested in Accounting, and Auditing. However, CA and CFA both are good career options but now you have to decide which is better for you. 

Also compare: CA vs CMA

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is CFA?

Ans: CFA is an internationally recognized course that deals in the finance sector. The CFA course is categorized into three levels that revolve around money management, economics, accounting, and more. 

Q2. What is the difference between CA and CFA?

Ans: The CA syllabus majorly revolves around accounting, auditing and taxation, whereas the CFA majorly deals in finance and money management. 

Q3. Is CA better than CFA for career opportunities?

Ans: CA and CFA both equally provide good career opportunities to the candidates.

Q4. Can a CA student opt for CFA?

Ans: Yes, students pursuing CA can opt for CFA courses.

Q5. Is CFA a difficult course?

Ans: Yes, CFA is a difficult course. Students have to really work hard for the CFA exams.

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