The Indian Chartered Accountancy test is to undergo some radical changes. K. Subramanian has the details.

What is the CA?

- Chartered Accountancy is a professional course in accounting introduced in India in 1949, with the enactment of the Chartered Accountants Act.

- The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) was formed the same year. It is both an examining and a licensing body.

- It is the responsibility of the institute to conduct the Chartered Accountancy (CA) course. The course combines theoretical education and practical training which run concurrently for three years and equips a student with knowledge, ability, skills and other qualities required of a professional accountant.

- The writer is the head of the Dubai branch of Career Launcher, one of the largest education corporates of India

What will the new structure mean?
- Raju Menon, CA, Morison Menon Chartered Accountants

?The decision to allow candidates to do articleship along with the Professional Competence Examination (PCE ? equivalent to Professional Exam-2 or PE?2 now) is a very positive step for students and CA firms. CA firms are facing an acute shortage of people to take up articleship and the students are also wasting a considerable amount of time by waiting to clear the PE-II to take up articleship, and subsequently clear their final examination.?

What are the proposals?

- A single qualifying exam

- Online test papers

- Negative marking

- A four-year study structure

- Students will also get unlimited attempts in all the exams ? the proposed Common Proficiency Test (CPT), the PCE and the final examination.

- At present, candidates have five attempts (this was recently relaxed to 10 until December 2007) in Professional Exam-1 or PE-1 and PE-2.


- Those keen on becoming CAs will have to clear class XII exams before registering themselves with ICAI.

- There are four papers in the professional exam-1 or PE-1 that students must attempt after class XII.

- Exam is subjective in nature.

- The articleship period is for three years. Students do their articleship with a chartered accountant?s firm after the professional exam-2 or PE-2.

- Students do 250 hours of computer training after PE-2. They can extend the time period till the final exam.      

- Students sit the final exam in the last phase of the three-year articleship.


- One qualifying test called the common proficiency test (CPT). Students to register with the ICAI after the class X exam.

- They will receive study material from ICAI. After their class XII exams they can sit for the CPT, which will be of 200 marks with four broad sections ? Accountancy, Mercantile Law, Quantitative Techniques and Aptitude.

-The CPT will be held every three months, unlike the present twice a year.

- The exam will be objective with negative marking for wrong answers.

- Articleship has been extended to three-and-a-half years. Candidates will enroll for it straight after the CPT.

- Students must complete 100 hours of IT training within the first 15 months of CPT. Once they clear the IT test they will be eligible for the Professional Competence Exam (PCE, currently known as PE-2) in the 19th month.

- Students attempt the CPT after class XII; it makes them eligible for a three-and-a-half year articleship and an exam at the end of it. Time period of the course becomes four years.


- Allowing students to register with the ICAI after class X will help them select the right combination of subjects in classes XI and XII.

- Results will come out faster and the frequency of the test could be increased.

- This will enable them to do graduation and articleship simultaneously.

- Audit systems beneficial to the CA profession will be taught.

- This new feature puts the course at par with other professional courses such as engineering and medicine.