How to Become a CA in India – Complete CA Course Guide 2021


How to become CA in India – Chartered Accountant is among the most popular career options for students after their 12th. For students who are interested in this career and want to know, how to become CA in India, then they can read this full guide.

CA professionals works on managing the finances of the company, auditing, taxation, budgeting, and so on. On an average, the CA salary in India is 7-8 Lakhs per month. To become a CA, students need around 5-6 years to complete the CA course. The eligibility criteria for the CA course is to clear the 12th exams.

In this detailed guide, you are going to know the step by step procedure to become a CA in India. The CA Journey starts from registering for the CA Foundation course, giving exams, same for the Intermediate course, then 3 years of articleship, and finally clearing the CA Final exams. You are going to read about all the steps in detail below. But before starting such, let us explain to you what is Chartered Accountancy?

What is Chartered Accountancy?

Chartered Accountancy is a professional course that includes the management of finances for an entity. This includes managing financial accounts, budgeting, auditing, business strategy, and taxation. Chartered Accountant is a designation which is provided by the Statutory Body known as the Institute of Chartered Accountancy in India. Also, a certification of the Chartered Accountant is just like a reward or a permit to work as a professional CA in India.

Mentioned below is a tabular representation of the complete CA Course including eligibility, registration, subjects, exams, fees for all three levels.

CA FoundationCA IntermediateCA Final
EligibilityAppear in 12th examsClear foundation or graduation or PGClear intermediate level & practical training
Last date of registration Before 1st July 202128 Feb and 31 August 13 April and 1 July
Examination heldMay and NovemberMay and NovemberMay and November
Registration Validity3 years (6 attempts)4 years (6 attempts)5 years (10 attempts)
Subjects48 (4 each group)8 (4 each group)
FeesRs 11300Rs 27200/23200rsRs 39800

Steps to Become a CA (Chartered Accountant) in India 2021

The journey to become Chartered Accountant is divided into 4 steps –

  1. CA Foundation
  2. CA Intermediate
  3. Articleship Training (3 years)
  4. CA Final

VSI All India Toppers

VSI student Ajay Agarwal achieved ALL INDIA 1st Rank in May 2019 in CA Final with EVER HIGHEST Marks in the history of ICAI after Atul Agarwal who achieved ALL INDIA 1st rank in 2018.

CA Final May 2019 Topper’s Interview

How to Become a CA in India After 12th

Candidates can enroll to become a CA after 12th board exams. Also, candidates can apply for the CA foundation course after the 10th and can appear for exams after completing their 12th examination. Therefore, to be eligible for the CA course after 12 candidates must have secured:

  1. Candidates with a commerce background need to score a minimum of 50% marks in their board exams.
  2. Candidates with non-commerce background need to score a minimum of 55% marks in their board exams

Steps to become a CA after 12th

Step 1: Enroll yourself in the CA Foundation Course after completing the 12th board exams

Step 2: Complete a 4 month study period and appear in the CA Foundation Examination.

Step 3: Enroll into CA Intermediate Course after clearing CA Foundation Exam.

Step 4: Complete 4 weeks of Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS). This course needs to be completed before your articleship.

Step 5: Complete an 8 months study course of CA Intermediate and appear for the exam. There will be 2 groups of exams, you need to pass at least one before moving forward.

Step 6: Join 3-year article training after passing either group of CA Intermediate Exam and complete ICITSS before starting your articleship.

Step 7: Clear the remaining group of CA Intermediate Exam (if there’s any).

Step 8: Enroll yourself in the CA Final Course.

Step 9: Complete 4 weeks of Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (AICITSS) in the last two years of your articleship and before appearing for the final exam.

Step 10: Appear for the final exam either after completing your articleship or during the last 6 months of it.

Step 11: Complete your article training, in case you decide to appear for the final exam while serving your articleship.

Step 12: Clear the CA Final Examination.

Step 13: Enroll yourself as a member of the ICAI to be designated as a “Chartered Accountant”.

The CA Course duration after your class 12th is 5 years, if you clear all your exams in first attempt. You have to study with dedication, discipline and consistency.

Also Check: How to become CA After 12th Commerce?

How to Become a CA in India After Graduation?

Given below is all the information to pursue CA after graduation:

The eligibility criteria required for CA after graduation is as follows:

  1. A minimum of 55% for commerce graduates or postgraduates
  2. A minimum of 60% for Arts/Humanities/Science graduates or postgraduates

The minimum duration to pursue CA after graduation is 4.5 years as you can directly register for CA Direct Entry Route exams after 9 months from registering yourself, after which you also need to complete 2.5-3 Years of Articleship to become a Chartered Accountant.

You can pursue CA after graduation by getting the CA foundation exemption if you have the specified percentage of marks required to get exempted from the exam and then you can directly begin your articleship and further take the CA intermediate exams.

Steps to become a CA after Graduation

Step 1: Enroll for CA Intermediate Course.

Step 2: Complete 4 weeks of Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS). This course must be completed before your articleship.

Step 3: Register for a 3-year articleship or practical training.

Step 4: Appear for the CA Intermediate Examination after 9 months of your training.

Step 5: Clear both groups of CA Intermediate Examination.

Step 6: Register for CA Final Course.

Step 7: Complete 4 weeks of Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (AICITSS) in the last two years of your articleship and before appearing for the final exam.

Step 8: Appear for the final exam either after completing your articleship or in the last 6 months of it.

Step 9: Complete your 3-year training.

Step 10: Clear the CA Final Examination.

Step 11: Enroll yourself as a member of the ICAI to be designated as a “Chartered Accountant”.

Tip – Complete the subject 100% in which you are confident that you can score exemption as it will help you in covering your aggregate score.

How to Become a CA in India in First Attempt

Now, as you know the complete process on how to become a CA, let me tell you in detail about the 3 levels. And to become a CA in India, candidates have to crack all three levels.

CA Foundation

How to Become a CA in India - CA Foundation

CA Foundation is an entry-level test in order to pursue Chartered Accountancy. Check all the details about the CA Foundation below.

Eligibility – To be eligible for CA Foundation, you need to clear the class 12th with the required percentage.

Registration – Eligible students needs to register for CA Foundation course. Students have to register for the course before 4 months of the exam month. The CA Foundation registration will be done through the ICAI official website.

Study period – Students get the study period of 4 months after their 12 class.

Exam Form – Students also have to fill the CA Foundation Exam form, in order to give the exams. The exam form can be filled on ICAI website. The ICAI announces the dates of filing the exam form.

Syllabus – The course is much similar to your 11th and 12th standard (Commerce stream). CA Foundation syllabus is divided into four subjects:

  1. Paper 1: Principles and Practices of Accounting
  2. Paper 2: Mercantile Law and General English
    1. Part I:  Mercantile Law
    2. Part II: General English
  3. Paper 3: Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning, and Statistics
    1. Part I: Business Mathematics and Logical Reasoning
    2. Part II: Business Statistics
  4. Paper 4: Business Economics & Business and Commercial Knowledge
    1. Part I: Business Economics
    2. Part II: Business and Commercial Knowledge

Exam Pattern – The CA Foundation exam pattern is partially objective and subjective. The first two papers are subjective type and the next two papers are objective type. All the papers consist of 100 marks.

Preparation tips – Students can keep this things in mind while CA Foundation preparation. Students should prefer good quality and updated CA Foundation study material for their preparation.

As you have already gone through the Accounts in your senior secondary classes hence it is scoring and this subject can really help you to cover your aggregate percentage. So, give your 100% on this subject.

Mercantile Law is a new subject for you but this one is also scoring. You need not to learn each and every section. Make sure your concepts should be clear. Both the above subjects need practice as well as good presentation skills.

The third paper Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning, and Statistics having an objective-based paper pattern. Generally, it has been seen that Maths is the weakest factor among commerce students (exceptions are always there). But this paper is divided into three sections –

  1. Business Mathematics (40 Marks)
  2. Logical Reasoning (20 Marks)
  3. Business Statistics (40 Marks)

So, you have two more options besides Maths. No Doubt, Logical Reasoning is always scoring. Are you worried that you commit a lot of calculation mistakes in Stats? Don’t worry, 12 digit calculator is allowed in CA Foundation Exams. But you have to practice on the calculator and also learn short tricks which save you time in the Examination hall.

The fourth Paper is Business Economics and Business and Commercial Knowledge, if you are a CBSE student or RBSE student who chose Commerce with Economics, then this paper is also scoring for you. Other students need a little bit more effort and practice.

Both subjects are objective types. Hence, you need a lot of practice. Start practicing the modules given by ICAI and also set time because speed is one of the key factors in clearing CA Exams.

Passing Criteria – To clear the exams, students need to get 40% in each subject or an aggregate of 50%.

Result – The CA Foundation result is declared by ICAI 2 months after the last paper. So, the results of Dec 2021 is declared in the month of February.

Validity – Students who don’t clear the foundation exams, can reappear in the next attempt. The registration is valid for 3 years or 6 attempts. After that, you have to register again.

CA Intermediate

How to Become a CA in India- CA Intermediate

CA Intermediate Course will be your next level in the Chartered Accountancy journey after clearing the CA Foundation. This level is considered tough and students need to prepare well. Check all the details about the CA Intermediate below:

Eligibility – The eligibility criteria for CA Intermediate is through 3 ways i.e., clearing CA Foundation, Graduation/Post Graduation, clearing ICWA or intermediate level of CS.

Registration – Eligible students can register for the CA Intermediate and start their preparation. You can register for the Intermediate exams in the month of March and September for November and May session.

Study Period – Students get the period of 8 months to prepare for the CA Intermediate exams.

Training – Along with the preparation, applicant also need to complete the 4 weeks of ICITSS training.

Exam Form – ICAI declares the CA Intermediate exam form dates and the students can fill the form. Only after filing the exam form, you’ll be able to get the admit card for your exams.

SyllabusCA Intermediate Syllabus consists of 8 subjects categorized into 2 groups. Generally, students are not able to clear the exam on the first attempt but if you plan your studies and revision in the right manner, you will not only clear this level in your first attempt but also be able to achieve a rank, if you dream so. Check the syllabus below:

Group 1 includes:

  1. Paper-1: Accounting
  2. Paper-2: Corporate Laws & Other Laws
    1. Part I: Company Law
    2. Part II: Other Laws
  3. Paper-3: Cost and Management Accounting
  4. Paper-4: Taxation
    1. Section A: Income-tax Law
    2. Section B: Indirect Taxes

Group 2 includes:

  1. Paper-5: Advanced Accounting
  2. Paper-6: Auditing and Assurance
  3. Paper-7: Enterprise Information Systems & Strategic Management
    1. Part I: Enterprise Information System
    2. Part II: Strategic Management
  4. Paper-8: Financial Management and Economics for finance
    1. Part I: Financial Management
    2. Part II: Economics of Finance

Exam Pattern – The CA Intermediate exam pattern is both subjective and objective. All the 4 papers of both the groups consist of 100 marks each.

Preparation Tips – Don’t neglect the modules given by ICAI. It gives you an idea of questions asked, presentation demanded, and how to answer in the exam. Revise the syllabus properly. Remember, three times revision is a must to clear CA Intermediate. Make a proper study plan for CA Intermediate exams. Complete your course at least two months before exams. Then properly divided the time between revision and practicing papers. The thing which most of the students lack in CA Intermediate is Practice. Take out time for solving Mock Test Papers and solve at least past attempts papers before the Exam. Students should prefer the study material that is updated and from good source.

Passing Criteria – To clear the CA intermediate group, you need to get 40% in each subject or 50% aggregate. You need to clear both the groups to move on to the finals.

Result – The CA Intermediate result is announced after 2 months of the last paper. Students need their login id and password to check their result.

Validity – The CA Intermediate registration validity is 4 years, that means 8 attempts. After that, you need to register again for the exams.

Clearing this level with coaching is really tough, but coaching is necessary too. Hence, you should join a CA Intermediate coaching somewhere which guarantees you to complete the classes within 5-6 months so that you will get enough time for self-study and revision.

Articleship Training

Candidates can start their CA articleship as soon as they passed any of the group of CA Intermediate. But before that, you must have undergone ITT and OT Program.

Candidates who have appeared in both the groups of CA Intermediate together should try to complete 100 hours of IT training during this waiting period. After completing IT, if possible, complete your OT program also. This will save your time after the declaration of the CA Intermediate result. Get all the details about the CA Articleship registration by going through this blog.

The candidates who have appeared in a single group should start preparing for the next group. If you plan articleship and next group with the office then this will really be a tough task and it might take several attempts of the second group. Hence, you should complete your CA Intermediate first and then go with Articleship Training.

Some students go for dummy articleship but trust me this is the biggest mistake. Articleship training gives you vast exposure to practical experience. Hence, it is referred to as a direct ticket to the corporate world. So, never ever think of taking dummy articleship.

The more you sweat in practice, the less you sweat in war”

CA Final

How to Become a CA in India- CA Final

The CA Final Course is the last step in the Chartered Accountant course Journey and the biggest challenge. This level requires you to expertise in each and every subject. ICAI wants you to have knowledge of every topic it has included in the course. Check the full details below.

Eligibility – Student needs to clear both the groups of CA Intermediate and also complete the articleship.

Registration – CA Final registration will be done through ICAI website.

Training – After completing both the groups of CA Intermediate one can register for CA Final. Although, the candidate can appear in CA Final only when he has undergone GMCS and Advanced ITT.

Exam Form – The dates to file the CA Final exam form will be released by the ICAI. Student need to fill the form on time and don’t wait for the last date.

Syllabus – The CA Final syllabus includes 8 subjects, that is categorized into 2 groups. They are as follows:

Group I

  1. Paper-1: Financial Reporting
  2. Paper-2: Strategic Financial Management
  3. Paper-3: Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics
  4. Paper-4: Corporate and Economic Laws

Group II

  1. Paper-5: Strategic Cost Management and Performance Evaluation
  2. Paper-6
    1. Paper-6A: Risk Management
    2. Paper-6B: Financial Services and Capital Markets
    3. Paper-6C: International Taxation
    4. Paper-6D: Economic Laws
    5. Paper-6E: Global Financial Reporting Standards
    6. Paper-6F: Multidisciplinary Case Study
  3. Paper-7: Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation
  4. Paper-8: Indirect Tax Laws

Exam Pattern – The CA Final exam pattern is both subjective and objective. Each paper consists of 100 marks. The paper 6 is open-book.

Passing Criteria – To clear the CA Final Exams, you need to obtain 40% in each subject or 50% aggregate.

Result – The CA Final Result will be released by ICAI, 2 months after the last paper.

Validity – The registration form validity for the finals is 5 years that is 10 attempts.

This is the detailed answer to your question on how to become a CA in India? If you’re in school right now or doing graduation, it is better to start planning for your CA Career.

Study Tip for CA Final Exams

CA Final exams are considered one of the toughest exams of India, therefore you need to prepare accordingly. You should go for the practical subjects first where chances of the amendment are less hence start with Financial Reporting, Strategic Financial Management, and Strategic Cost Management and Performance Evaluation. This will take you one year to complete these subjects. Then you can choose one practical subject and one theoretical subject like DT and Advanced Auditing or IDT and Corporate and Economic Laws, and one elective paper.

Prefer the theoretical subjects in last so that you will not forget the concepts till the exam. DT and IDT should also be completed in last as both the subjects come with plenty of amendments in every attempt. Hence, keep them for last.

Make sure that all your coaching and first reading have been completed 6 months before the exam. Six months should be kept aside for revision only. During this time, you need more and more practice so that you can prepare well for the Final Exams. If possible, give the Mock test also, conducted by ICAI in every attempt which will show you a true picture of your preparation.

Check out the one month revision strategy for CA Final exams.

After appearing in the chartered accountant exam, complete your MCS 2 so that your time does not get wasted after the declaration of the CA Final result. Besides this, prepare yourself for the interview to be conducted in campus placement.

Note – If you are not ready to handle both the group together, then go for the single group. It will save you from getting an attempt.

You should also know about the main quality of a Chartered Accountant students, and try to learn and inculcate those skills.

Scope and Demand of a CA

As you are aware about how to become a CA, now its time to know about the scope and demand of this career. Based on the Times of India report, there are only 44% of CAs that are currently working. Apart from that, taxpayers and businesses are increasing year by year. Therefore, it can be said that there is good demand for CA in India at present and in the future also.

CA is a vast field with so many opportunities and work roles. There are many areas in which a CA can work on, some of the major ones are mentioned below:

  • CA Firm
  • Businesses
  • Financial Institutions
  • Independent practice
  • Consultancy Firms

We hope you now clearly know about how to become a chartered accountant in India after 12th or graduation. As mentioned quite a few times, CA is not an easy exam but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be cleared in 1st attempt. If you are determined, disciplined, focused toward your goals, and consistent, then you can clear the exams soon and become CA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Pursuing CA courses is best after 12th or after graduation?

Ans: Candidates can pursue CA courses after 12th and after graduation. It depends upon their preferences when they want to start their courses.

Q2. How many years does it take to become a  CA?

Ans: It takes a minimum period of 4.5 to 5 years for the students who joined after 12th. For the graduated students, they take a minimum of 4 to 4.5 years to become CA.

Q3. What is the salary of a CA?

Ans: The average salary of a Chartered Accountant ranges between 7 to 10 lakhs per annum.

Q4. What is the fee structure of CA courses?

Ans: There are three levels of CA courses, and the fees of all three levels are different. Visit VSI to know about the fee structure of CA in India.

Q5. To pursue CA after graduation which degree is required by the candidates?

Ans: If a candidate BCom or MCom degree then it’s a plus point in pursuing CA after graduation.