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Chartered Accountant vs. Company Secretary


Blog Date
February 27,

Students studying in the Commerce stream can opt for two lucrative career paths – CA or Chartered Accountant, and CS or Company Secretary. Both are professional courses with a high demand in the market among students. The high pay scales and reputable job positions make these courses rather attractive. Despite the huge demand for both study programs, there are certain key differences between the two that make them distinct from one another. This blog explores the differences between Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary courses.

What is Chartered Accountancy (CA)?

Chartered Accountancy is better referred to as CA in everyday lingo and is one of the most respected professions in the commerce industry. Chartered Accountants or professionals in this domain are essentially responsible for managing the financial workings of an organization. 

Chartered Accountants are involved in some of the following key tasks:

  • Planning business strategies for the organization
  • Keeping track of all financial transactions and records
  • Offering financial advice to the company as and when required

What is a Company Secretary?

A Company Secretary is an important member of every organization, responsible for ensuring that the company complies with the legal rules and regulations laid out. The CS, as they are popularly known as, also serve as crucial mediators between the company and its stakeholders and other organizations, being the official communicator between the two parties.

Differences between CA & CS

Interestingly, CA and CS sound similar and are therefore often confused with being the same study programs. However, as we understood from the descriptions above, they are rather different, and the roles pursued after completing the respective courses are also different, though equally crucial within their respective industries. To further differentiate between the two, the table below highlights some of the vital parameters that distinguish CA from CS courses:

Parameters CACS
Conducting bodyInstitute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)Institute of Company Secretaries of India
Course duration5 years2-3 years
Eligibility criteriaCompletion of Class 12 along with a study duration of 4 months (for CA Foundation courses)
Graduates are eligible to directly enter CA Inter via the direct route
Completion of Class 12 exams (for CS/CSEET Foundation courses)
Graduates/postgraduates in Commerce/Corporate Secretaryship/any other discipline except Fine Arts are eligible for direct enrolment, without undergoing CS Foundation, via the direct route (for CS Executive courses) 
StagesFoundation Program, Intermediate Program, Final ProgramCSEETCS Executive Program, Professional Program 


How to become a Chartered Accountant?

Yet another key difference between CA and CS courses is the educational requirements and examinations for both professions

Students interested in pursuing their career as a Chartered Accountant must achieve the following educational qualifications and qualify through the exams listed below.

Degree required:

  • Students applying for the Foundation course must have completed class 12 to be able to apply for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT)
  • Students applying through the direct route must have completed a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline to be able to register for intermediate exams. A minimum of 55% is required for students with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. Students from other disciplines must have secured at least 60% aggregate in their Bachelor’s.


Entrance exam:

Students aspiring to pursue Chartered Accountancy courses must qualify through a Common Proficiency Test (CPT), the entrance test for CA programs. The ICAI conducts this test for various stages of CA study programs:

  • The test is generally organized twice annually – June and December – for CA Foundation courses
  • For CA Intermediate courses, the entrance test is conducted in May and November
  • CA Final course students also need to appear for the entrance exam in May and November 


How to become a Company Secretary?

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India defines various stages for students interested in applying for a Company Secretary course:

  • After 10+2: Students directly applying for a CS course after completing class 12 or an equivalent qualification are required to pass through the following 3 stages:
  1. Foundation program
  2. Executive program
  3. Professional program
  • After undergraduate: Students applying for CS courses after qualifying through the Bachelor’s degree are required to pass the following 2 stages:
  1. Executive program
  2. Professional program

Additionally, the minimum requirement to apply for a Foundation program is the completion of 10+2 in Science, Commerce, or Arts stream (except Fine Arts). 

The Executive program requires completion of Graduation in any stream, excluding Fine Arts.

Upon completing the Executive program, students can apply for the Professional program of CS. 


Roles & responsibilities of a Chartered Accountant

The functions performed by both CA and CS professionals also differ from one another. Let us first look at the career paths and roles of Chartered Accountants:

  1. Audit: This is one of the primary responsibilities of a CA, auditing the finances of an organization, including the costs, accounts, and taxes of the company.
  1. Preparing financial statements: CAs are also responsible for preparing financial reports to provide an accurate estimate of the organization’s past and current financial situation. 
  1. Third-party liaison: A CA is also involved in all official communication and liaison with clients, and third-party businesses and organizations on behalf of their company.
  1. Budgeting: Responsible for managing the finances of the company, the CA would prepare a budget to better handle its monetary resources.
  1. Managing taxes: CAs are well-acquainted with information on statutory taxes and help the company with all tax-related matters. 

Roles & responsibilities of Company Secretary

To help understand the key differences between a CA and a CS, let us now look at the responsibilities and functions of Company Secretaries:

  1. Maintaining corporate records: A CS would keep track of all official records of the company, such as its statutory registers, company records, and the like.
  1. Tracking MoMs: Recording the Minutes of the Meeting (MoM) and other keynotes during important business conferences is also the job of a CS.
  1. Ensuring legal compliance: The CS would make sure that the company’s policies are in line with all legal formalities. They are the face of the company before all concerned authorities. 
  1. Facilitate communication: Serving as the mediator between the company and a third party, the CS, would help facilitate all communication between the two stakeholders.
  1. Arranging board meetings: The CS is responsible for scheduling important board meetings and also deciding the agenda for the meetings. They would also distribute important material to all members of the meeting, such as brochures or company newsletters.

Salary of Chartered Accountants in India

Even the pay scales for the two job roles differ considerably, as is evident from the data shared below. 

The average annual salary (approximate) of a Chartered Accountant in India is estimated at INR 887,543 per annum. The figure stated is for indicative purposes only and is likely to vary between different organizations and roles in the country. 

Salary of Company Secretary in India

Upon course completion, a CS is likely to earn an annual approximate salary of INR 606,907 per annum. Again, these figures are to be used only for indicative reasons, and the actual figures are subject to variation. 

CA vs CS: What’s best for you?

After presenting a detailed overview of the study programs, their respective job roles, responsibilities involved, and the corresponding pay scales earned, we hope you will get a fair idea of the two courses. Deciding which one to pursue is an informed choice that is likely to be based on your educational background or future career preferences. 

For instance, students interested in working in the accounting domain can look forward to a rewarding career as a CA at a reputable firm. However, CS is ideal for students with a keen interest in company secretaryship tasks, corporate governance laws, and the like. 


Whatever you choose to pursue, make sure that you do your homework well and research thoroughly before signing up for any of the two programs. Alternatively, online learning seems to be an intelligent and highly popular choice among most students these days. With the comfort of learning from anywhere, anytime, and the choice of self-paced studies to pay a relatively lesser tuition fee, online courses in professional subjects such as CA or CS are increasingly becoming popular. Online Manipal offers the option to pursue online courses from the convenience of your home.    


Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.

Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.

  • TAGS
  • chartered accountant
  • company secretary

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