CA vs CS – 7 Key Differences to Help You Choose

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CA vs CS

Company Secretary (CS) has to advise the company on various fronts, while a Chartered Accountant (CA) takes care of budgets and finances of the company. One is an expert in Accounting and Finance, while the other is an expert in Company Law and Corporate Governance. Keep reading because in this blog, our primary goal is to clear the confusion between CA vs CS for all who want find which is the better programme for them!

Despite a striking difference between the job profiles of both the courses, most people are often confused between CA vs CS. Being one of the most pursued professional courses after graduation or 12th, it is important to understand the difference between the two. So, here is a blog that will provide you with a detailed analysis of CA vs CS and the various aspects related to the two fields so that you can make an informed choice.

Check out: How to become a Cost Accountant?

What is Chartered Accountancy?

Choosing a career is tough which is why we have compared the two most commonly confused professions- CA vs CS in this blog. Chartered Accountancy is an international career field accredited by the ICAI i.e. Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. The course provides with Auditing, Accounting, and Financial Management techniques and skills that open up career opportunities for those aspiring to work in the Business and Finance sector. A Chartered Accountant is a professional who analyzes the Risk Management aspect, maintains accounts as well as provides future financial advice.

Who is a Company Secretary?

Company Secretary is among the principal aspects of a company and acts as a conscience seeker. Apart from managing taxes, a CS also ensures that the organisation complies with the laws, statutory and non-statutory, efficiently. The ICSI i.e. Institute of Company Secretaries of India provides professional training to those who aspire to pursue a career in the financial and legal aspects of business firms. The course provides knowledge of handling legal aspects and managing the company’s brand image. A Company Secretary is responsible for completing the company’s tax returns, keep records, the advisory board of directors and members and ensure all the legal and statutory regulations.

Difference: CA vs CS

Here are some of the major differences between CA and CS. A CA stands for Chartered Accountant while CS stands for Company Secretary. CA course is organized by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India or ICAI while CS course is by  the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. Let’s read about them in detail.

Differences CA CS
Conducting Body Institute of Chartered Accountants of India [ICAI] is the main conducting body Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
Who should opt for it? Candidates with a strong mathematical and logical reasoning background Candidates with an inclination towards theory and legal
Stages Foundation, Intermediate, and Final Course.
Note: One can also follow the direct entry route
Foundation, Executive, and Professional Programme
Note: The number of levels can vary based on the
Course Duration 5 years 2-3 years
Entrance Exam Chartered Accountancy Common Proficiency Test Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test
Eligibility Criteria Candidates who have qualified their 12th exams with a minimum aggregate of 50% marks can register for the CA Foundation 2021 exam.
Candidates who have an aggregate of 55% marks in graduation or post-graduation degree in Commerce stream or its equivalent from any recognized university/open university are exempted from CA Foundation 2021.
For the Foundation Programme, (10+2 pass or equivalent from any stream)
Executive Programme (Graduation from any field apart from fine arts)
Professional Programme (Executive Programme)
Job Profiles Auditor
Credit Analyst
Forensic Audit
Financial Analyst
Research Analyst
Investment Advisor
Associate Company Secretary
Legal Advisor
Corporate Policymaker
Principal Secretary
Company Registrar
Corporate Planner
Chief Administrative Officer
Average Salary Rs. 8-7 Lakhs Rs. 6- 5 Lakhs
Employment Opportunities Accounting, Taxation, Auditing, etc. Public Relations, Corporate Governance, Corporate Law Advisor, International Trade & WTO, etc.
Official Website https://www.icai.org/ https://www.icsi.edu/home/
YouTube- KCC Tutorials

Career Path: CA vs CS

How to Become a Chartered Accountant?

The beginning of both the fields starts from Commerce but eventually divert into two different paths. For those, who wish to pursue a career in CA, need to have strong mathematical knowledge to deal with massive accounting and budgeting.
Steps to follow in order to become a CA:

  • Register with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
  • Qualify the Competency Professional Test(CPT) and pursue a degree course in Commerce or any relevant field.
  • Qualify the Integrated Professional Competence(IPC)
  • Pursue Articleship and gain work experience under professional CA for minimum of 3 years.
  • Clear the final CA exam.

The CPT exam can be pursued right after class 12th. However, you need to complete graduation to appear for the IPC examination.

How to Become a Company Secretary?

For pursuing a career in CS, having strong critical thinking is important to in order to handle the company profile and involve in decision making.
Steps to follow in order to become a CS:

  • Register with the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.
  • Pursue the Foundation course of 8 months.
  • Pursue the Executive Program of 1 year for additional qualifications.
  • Pursue the Professional course of 1 year in order to gain specialization.

For pursuing CS programs after graduation:

  • Pursue Graduate programs in the field of Commerce for 3 years.
  • Pursue the Executive program of 1 year.
  • Pursue the Professional course of 1 year.

Course Duration: CA vs CS

Another important with regard to CA vs CS is the course duration. Both CA and CS courses involve 3 levels, but the duration of each field differs from one another. If compared, CS is shorter than CA and can be completed in 2-3 years. While CA takes 5 years to complete (including the training period).

Eligibility Criteria: CA vs CS

Both CA and CS are some of the most sought after professions in India and many candidates start applying for CA vs CS after finishing their 12th standard. Here is the detailed eligibility criteria you need to follow in order to qualify for the two programmes-

Chartered Accountant

  • Candidates who have qualified for their 12th exams with a minimum aggregate of 50% marks can register for the CA Foundation 2021 exam.
  • Candidates who have an aggregate of 55% marks in graduation or post-graduation degree in Commerce stream or its equivalent from any recognized university/open university are exempted from CA Foundation 2021.

Company Secretary

  • Students who have qualified for their 12th exam from any stream can take up the ICSI Foundation Course (8-month long course) It is essential to qualify for the course within three years of admission.
  • Candidates have to qualify for ICSI Intermediate and Final course, followed by short-term training and practical training.

Differences in Subjects

Next in our CA vs CS analysis, we will look at the syllabus of the two courses. Both the fields are related to the same domain but provide knowledge and skills that help cater to different sectors:

Fundamentals of Accounting Company Law
Auditing and Assurance Tax Law
Financial Management and Cost Accounting Economic Labour and Industrial Law
Direct Taxes General and Commercial Laws
Management Accounting Banking Laws
Financial Analysis Insurance – Laws and Practices

CA vs CS: Differences in Career Opportunities

Students who are pursuing a career in CS can explore a wide range of opportunities in big corporate firms globally. They can find job opportunities in various departments such as governance, administration, meeting with stakeholders and board of directors. Students can also consider the option of working independently as Company Secretary for various firms.

Students pursuing a career in CA have more career opportunities as compared to CS. They can explore both public and private sectors including government organisations, private firms, banks, law firms, business enterprises, civil services, etc.

CA vs CS: Salaries

Next in our analysis of CA vs CS is the average salary for the two professions. The average salary for CA is more than CS. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a CA and CS in India is as follows:

Avg. Salary
CA 8 Lakhs
CS 6 lakhs

Career Prospects

When it comes to job opportunities for CA vs CS, graduates can find lucrative options in both private and public sectors in India. Demand for qualified CAs and CSs is increasing and candidates can take up a wide range of profiles in the diverse field. Let’s look at some of the top companies for CA and CS professionals in India-

Ernst and Young
Grant Thornton International
BDO International
SS Kothari Mehta and Co
Luthra and Luthra
Aditya Birla Group
TATA Steel
Robert Bosch India
Bharat Forge
TATA Consultancy Services
IBS Software
IDFC Mutual Fund
Somaiya Group
Ernst and Young


Is CS easier than CA?

While difficulty level for the two courses differs based on the individual background. CS is considered easier in comparison to CA. CS is more theory based while CA is more maths-oriented.

What is better CA vs CS?

Both professions are some of the most sought-after programmes in India. Based on one’s preference, skills and competency you can decide between CA vs CS.

What is salary of CS?

The starting salary of Company Secretary is somewhere between 3 to 4 lakhs per annum while the average salary is 5 to 6 Lakhs in India.

Can a CS become CEO?

Yes, a CS can progress in the company and get the job of a CEO.

What is CA salary in India?

The average salary of CA is somewhere between 7 to 8 lakhs in India. Depending on their qualifications and experiences, a CA can earn more than the estimated salary.

We hope that this article on CA vs CS helped you understand both the fields. If you’re planning to pursue a career in CA or CS and need assistance, the experts at Leverage Edu can help you decide on a course that can add value to your career. 

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