IntroductionA Chartered accountant is one who is specialized in accounting, auditing and taxation. He also serves as a management and corporate caretaker. A chartered accountant is a person who is accepted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of their respective countries, after having passed the Final examination of the Chartered accountancy course conducted by the institute.
The CFA Institute of USA formerly known as AIMR offered an international professional designation Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) to financial analysts who complete a series of three examinations. The candidates should have a bachelor's degree or equivalent where they are either in the final year of their bachelor's degree program, or have at least four years of qualified, professional work experience.
To practice as a chartered accountant in the UK there are no license requirements, but however to use the description "Chartered Accountant" they must be a member of one of the following organizations:
• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW)
• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
The functions of a chartered accountant caters to a wide category, some of the key functions to be performed by them are
Accounting is called as a language of business and the basic function of any language is to serve as a means of communication. The primary responsibility of chartered accountants is to report on the financial statements of clients, as required by its constitution or legislation. Based on the financial statements of the client to its shareholders or to the public and considering the adequacy of the controls over the safekeeping of the client's assets the chartered accountant has to prepare account statement from the records of the clients.
Auditing represents a true and fair view of the state of affairs on accounts to the clients or the users of financial statements that they are done on Correct accounting principles. They generally investigate the financial reports of the company and then report on it.
Chartered accountants compile reports on aspects of management, for use by the client in improving the management of the company. They investigate the accounting methods adopted by clients and make recommendations for the improvement thereof.
The Chartered Accountant prepare the returns for tax purposes, represent assesses before the income tax authorities and render general advice on taxes to his clients. The services of chartered accountant may be requisitioned by the tax department for auditing taxation cases with large revenue potential. Thus they give advice on determining of and the legal manner of saving tax.
Chartered accountant handle the legal aspects of contracts, estate planning, and are able to accept appointments such as trustees in insolvent estates, liquidators of insolvent companies or curators where people are unable to administer their own affairs.
When it comes to financial management, accountants are responsible for the accountants control the funds and assets of the company or institution, they prepare financial or management reports to top management and the interpretation thereof in order to increase efficiency and profitability.
A Chartered Accountant prepare costing for the guidance of management introduce cost control methods and assist the management in determining the right selling prices.
The Chartered Accountant's service is utilized in a variety of ways like formulation of policies, control and performance evaluation.
A Chartered Accountant undertakes the valuation of shares of public and private companies at the time of amalgamation or reorganization.
The eligibility rules for the foundation course vary for different countries. It is a 1-year program and the Course involves the following papers,
• Fundamentals of Accounting,
• Mathematics and Statistics
• Mercantile Law.
• The Intermediate examination
On passing the foundation level candidates can apply for article ship with a practicing CA. During the training time, articles learn the technical details of the work and as time passes, they are given larger assignments. After about 9 months, they can take the Intermediate Examination of the Board of Studies and then later on, after clearing the exam, can go for the industrial training in their last year of article ship. The papers involve
• Accounting, Law, and Auditing.
• Cost accounting, Income-Tax & Central Sales Tax, Organization & Management and Fundamentals of Electronic Data Processing.
If a candidate takes the intermediate examination during their practical training, they can give their final examination provided there is a time interval of one final exam between the inter exam and first attempt at the final exam. On the other hand, if the practical training as article clerk or audit clerk has completed, the time interval can be neglected.
• Advance Accounting, Management Accounting, Auditing and Company Law
• Direct Tax Laws,
• Corporate Management, Secretarial Practice, Managerial Economics and National Accounting
• Operational Research and Statistical Analysis, System Analysis and Data Processing, Costs Systems and Cost Control
• Management Information and Control Systems, Tax Planning and Tax Management, Management and Operational Audit.
Once a person has become an eligible chartered accountant the immediate question is, what next? For which there is a wide range of choice and based on ones own personal inclination they built their career in any of the following
• Start independent professional practice
• Join a practicing firm of chartered accountants.
• Render services in the field of capital market.
• Start businesses in the commercial and industrial arena.
• Work on preparation of project reports and feasibility studies.
• Study on market research.
• Make preparations for business policy, corporate planning, organizational Development, growth and diversification.
• Render systems analysis and design, and computer-related services
• Start investment counseling in respect of securities.
• Starting one's own industrial or business venture is also now becoming popular among chartered accountants.
There are just a few words to write about a couple of top personals in the field of chartered accountancy. Akintola Williams was the first African to qualify as a chartered accountant. Akintola Williams & Co in Lagos which was founded by him 1952 was the first indigenous chartered accounting firm in Africa. .He was the founder and first president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).He played a valuable role in the establishment of the Nigerian Stock Exchange .In April 1997, Queen Elizabeth also honoured him with the title Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
Sharyn Long, another prominent personality from Australia, is a chartered accountant with extensive experience in the buisness services, accounting, tax and audit areas of public practice. She is regarded as one of Australia's leading superannuation practioners and has delivered many papers and training seminars on her topics .The success of Sharyn Long as a chartered accountant is a testament to her buisness acumen and commitment to high standards and strong service ethic.
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Institutes : Some of the prominent institutions offering courses in Chartered Accountancy can be had from the following links.. Click here for more information