Indian Chartered Accountant Process

The chartered accountant was my initial success and reason for creating this website.  However, I have been constantly providing information about other related and sometimes un-related topics.  I thought today would be a good chance to return to those original roots.  This time I am tackling information about the chartered accountant in the rapidly growing economy of India.

India has been growing very quickly over the past several decades.  Growth in terms of population has been happening for much longer than that.  It is one of the most populated countries in the world.  Growth in terms of the economy has happened a bit more recently.  With its vast economy growing and spending more and more money, accountants are in strong demand.  But what is the life of an accountant like in India? Can you make good money?  How can you become a Chartered Accountant in India?  Is it difficult?

Life is good for accountants in India

The Chartered Accountant title is quite prestigious in India.  It’s a difficult process that yields a high salary and high honor.  The perks and benefits outweigh the salary, but the salaries are very desirable compared to the area.  Average starting salaries for a bachelor degreed employee in India is around $7,000 per year.  Chartered Accountants start between $10,000 and $18,000 which is significantly higher than the average.  The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India recently placed several candidates in jobs with starting salaries over $150,000 which is excellent even for United States or Canada.  This is very rare but it shows the growing need of Indian Chartered Accountants.

Sometimes life is not so good for chartered accountants in India.  The average first year accountant can expect to work long and stressful hours.  But after the initial few years, work hours slightly reduce and stress levels are known to drop.  The problem then is with travel.  After your first few years expect to travel every 3 or 4 years as business needs arise or as new opportunities approach.

Becoming a Chartered Accountant in India

The process is a long 5 year process.  There are several paths but the main one starts right out of high school.  The first part is to study for the CPT or Common Proficiency Test.  The test is divided into four subjects: Mercantile Law, Fundamentals of Accounting, Economics, and Quantitative Aptitude.  The test is 200 multiple choice questions.  To receive a passing grade you must get at least 30% correct answers on each test and 50% overall.  In other words you need to get 50% of all answers correctly and not do too bad in any one subject.  Also, every four wrong answers will reduce one of correct answer.  Each correct answer gives you 1/2 a percent and each wrong answer reduces 1/8 of a percent.

The second test is IPCC.  This test can be done only after passing the CPT and completing a mandatory 9 months study.  The IPCC is divided into two groups consisting of the following: Group 1 (Accounting; Business Laws, Ethics, and Communication; Cost Accounting and Financial Management; and Taxation) Group 2 (Advanced Accounting, Auditing and Assurance, and Information Technology and Strategic Management).  To pass this test you must have an overall score of 50% or more and no less than 40% in any subject.

After you pass the second test you must complete a three year on-the-job training course.  This is similar to an internship but is more like a medical school graduate’s residency time.  This is a rigorous work schedule with little pay.  After the three year intense work experience you can register for the Chartered Accountant certificate.  Currently India has less than 200,000 members that have passed, but almost 1,000,000 students are currently in the process.


The path to become a Chartered Accountant in India is not easy but it is well worth the effort.  Other options can open up on the path that will allow you to get a good job without finishing.  These are things such as certificate programs that are offered by the Institute of Charted Accountants of India.  If you really want to make it, I believe you can.