What is a Chartered Accountant?

If you’re interested in becoming an accountant or even if you’re in the market for accounting services, you may have wondered about the term “chartered accountant.” Also referred to as CA, this type of professional is one that offers a number of significant benefits, but whose position is less in the spotlight than other forms of accounting professionals, according to ICAEW.

What Is a Chartered Accountant?

Chartered accountant designation is worldwide, and it refers to professional accountants who are qualified to take on a number of specific activities within the spectrum of accountancy. Such tasks include auditing financial statements, filing of corporate tax returns and financial advising. While the name is seen around the globe, in the United States, the equivalent position is known as a certified public accountant, or CPA. The professional body that governs this group of accounting workers goes back to 1854 where it was founded in Britain. There are now several associations that act as governing and accrediting bodies for these professionals, such as the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

What Chartered Accountants Do

There are four areas in which these accountancy professionals serve. They are taxation, financial accounting and reporting, applied finance and management accounting. The specialization an accountant chooses determines under which umbrella he or she works. Chartered accountants can wear a number of hats. It’s possible that they may oversee a corporation or business’s entire accountancy needs. They may have a more narrow function such as being in charge of just one aspect of a business like auditing or taxes. Many of these highly skilled workers will go out on their own as freelancers or consultants for hire.

How to Become a Chartered Accountant

How to become a chartered accountant depends upon the country where you want to work, as each has its own requirements for certification. Regardless of specifics, chartered accountants do meet more stringent academic and practical requirements than other levels of accountant. In most cases, there is a standard bachelor’s level degree consisting of coursework in business and accounting subjects, followed by a practicum or internship or some kind and then a specific program in chartered accounting principals. A person must be quite dedicated in order to achieve the rank of CA, but the position is a well-respected one that usually carries a higher salary than other types of accountant.

Reasons Chartered Accountants Are in Demand

There are a number of reasons why a business, corporation or individual would want to hire a chartered accountant. Many financial and accounting matters are quite sensitive and require someone incredibly knowledgable to undertake them. Business people want to feel assured that their monetary issues are being competently handled, without worry of legal ramifications or errors that could cost them money. They want to hire the best and most qualified accountants.

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As you can see, there are lots of reasons you might want to become a chartered accountant. A chartered accountant earns a great salary, is respected within the industry and can work under their own set conditions.