Accounting or accountancy is one of the most important fields of finance and is considered as the pedestal of all other fields in the finance sector. Accounting is the branch of commerce which deals with aspects such as summarizing, reporting and analyzing financial transactions to keep financial records. It is the study of how businesses track their income and assets over a period of time. Accountancy is related to dealing and maintaining records of all daily financial transactions happening in business to estimate the success or failure of a business.
Growing economic and commercial activities, has made accounting an integral part of our everyday lives. Any business requires an accountant who would be responsible for maintaining books of accounts. Hence, accounting career opportunities exist almost everywhere, and accountants are in high demand whether it is a new business, big or small, home-based business, corporations and government organisations. The services of accountants are required by all organisations as they must maintain systematic records of all transactions for the purpose of planning activities, managing and furnishing tax returns. Without this department, recording financial transactions, proper maintenance of staff salary and books of account, balance sheets preparation, calculation of various taxes etc is not possible in a firm. Most decisions related to present and future projects are based on the financial records of a concern. Accounting is an important field not only in business but also in every day life of common man. People use accounting skills while making decisions related to finance and investment options.
With IT boom, computer has occupied almost every field and in this scenario even accounting is not possible without computers. This has increased the importance of computerised accounting. Specially designed accounting software like Tally is used by firms to ensure speedy and accurate accounting.
Accountants assess the present and future economic activities of individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and governmental bodies. Accountants manage many tasks besides preparing financial statements and recording business transactions. Key areas of accountants work are audit, budget analysis, taxation, management accounting, financial accounting etc. Auditing, an important feature of each and every business, involves checking of books of accounts. Budget analysis is developing and managing the financial plans of an organisation. Taxation involves preparing tax statements for particular individual as well as business concern. Management accounting involves preparing an analysis of the assets. Financial accounting means analyzing and recording the transactions and financial statements.
Within the field of accounting, there is another option called Forensic accounting. Forensic accounting is the practice of utilizing accounting, auditing and investigative skills to assist in legal matters. Forensic accounting involves Investigative accounting i.e legal investigation and analysis of financial documents of any firm or client, who is involved in a legal dispute of a criminal nature such as insurance fraud, employee theft etc. and Litigation support which deals with the calculation of economic damages or loss resulting from a breach of contract.
Career areas like Chartered Accountancy, Company Secretary, Banking, Actuary, Cost and Works Accountants are related to accountancy. These are advanced fields in accounting which require specific qualifications. However to enter a career in accountancy which is an important field of finance, the basic qualification needed is only a bachelors degree in commerce
The growing number of cyber crimes, failure of regulators to track the security scams, successive busting of co-operative banks etc. lead to a rise in the need of Forensic accounting. Forensic accounting is the practice of utilizing accounting, auditing and investigative skills to assist in legal matters. Forensic accounting involves legal investigation and analysis of financial documents of any firm or client, who is involved in a legal dispute. It encompasses 3 main areas – litigation (law suit) support, investigation and dispute resolution. Litigation support represents the factual presentation of economic issues related to existing or pending litigation. In this capacity, the forensic accounting professional quantifies damages sustained by parties involved in legal disputes and can assist in resolving disputes, even before they reach the courtroom. If a dispute reaches the courtroom, the forensic accountant may testify as an expert witness. Investigation is the act of determining whether criminal matters such as employee theft, securities fraud (including falsification of financial statements), identity theft, and insurance fraud have occurred. Forensic accountant may recommend actions that can be taken to minimize future risk of loss. Investigation may also occur in civil matters. For example, the forensic accountant may search for hidden assets in divorce cases. This is a field wherein a professional estimates the damages and assists in settling various financial disputes before the cases step into the courtroom.
People who are professionals in this field are known as 'forensic accountants' or 'investigative accountants'. Forensic Accountant is a person who is one part accountant, one part detective and one part legal expert. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine whether an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials. A forensic accountant is an experienced auditor, who acts as a watch-dog of accounts of a company, in order to keep a check on the frauds. These experts are responsible for using technology and implementing investigative techniques to disclose fraudulence and illegal practices in the fields of accounting, banking, financial laundering, etc. They carry out elaborated audits, verify records, gather proof of financial malpractice, and question people related to the misconduct.
The base layer of forensic accounting is Accounting knowledge. Other layer of it is a dispersed knowledge of auditing, internal controls, risk assessment and fraud detection. It’s more than simple accounting, and more than basic detective work. Because of its unique elements, it is a combination that will be in demand for as long as human nature exists. Those in a forensic accounting career combine their accounting, auditing and investigative skills to analyze and interpret business and financial evidence, and can participate in trials as expert witnesses. Working on anything from bankruptcy and divorce cases to major fraud and capital crime cases it is the forensic accountant who is involved in all the squad.
With the rapid growth in economy, careers in finance and accounts have gained tremendous popularity and the most prestigious career option in this filed is that of Chartered Accountant. Chartered Accountancy is a dynamic, challenging and rewarding profession. All the countries have their own Accountancy Association which regulates the quality and quantity of the professionals in this field. Chartered Accountancy Course is a professional course in Accounting introduced in our country in 1949, with the enactment of the Chartered Accountants Act. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) was formed the same year . This Institute is both an examining and a licensing body. It is the responsibility of the institute to conduct the Chartered accountancy (CA) Course. The course involves a blend of theoretical education and practical training which run concurrently for a period of three years and equips a student with knowledge, ability, skills and other qualities required of a professional accountant.
A Chartered accountant is one who is specialised in accounting, auditing and taxation. He also serves as a management and corporate caretaker. In recent times, accountancy has become popular as a profession. The services of a CA is required in money matters even in a small business . Moreover according to the Company Act only CA's in professional practice are allowed to be appointed as auditors of companies in India. A chartered accountant is a person who is accepted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) after having passed the Final examination of the Chartered accountancy course conducted by the institute.
Many multinational companies have come forward in the Chartered Accountancy field. ICICI Prudential, Om Kotak Mahindra, Birla Sun-Life, Tata AIF Life, Reliance, HDFC Standard Life-Chartered Accountancy Co., Max New York Life, SBI Life Chartered Accountancy, ING Vysya Life etc. are the top companies in the private sector. In non-life Chartered Accountancy segment, major private players are ICICI Lombard, Royal Sundaram, Cholamandalam, IFFCO Tokyo, Tata AIG etc. All Chartered Accountancy companies come under the Chartered Accountancy Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) which is established to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of Life and General Chartered Accountancy industry in India.
CA programme is a professional course which has three sections namely, Common Proficiency Test (CPT); Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) and Final Course. The registration for CPT and IPCC is open throughout the year. A student may register at any time during the year. However, as the examinations will be held twice a year in May and November, it is necessary that a student must register at least ten months before the examinations. After passing the Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) candidates are eligible for registration as articled clerks/ audit clerks for practical training. Computer Training Programme, ie 100 hours Information Technology is compulsory for the candidates who wish to register themselves as auditor clerk. Students can undergo this programme while pursuing CPT or IPCC.
Articled clerk is a trainee attached to a practicing chartered accountant under a Deed of Articles for the duration three years. During this period the articled clerk will also need to continue studies for the CA exam. An audit clerk is a person who has served as a salaried employee for a minimum period of one year under a practicing chartered accountant. During the training period, candidates would be required to work in different areas learning the basics of auditing and taxation . This training enables them to learn the technical details of the job as well as to get an idea of the working environment of the profession.
The scope for this lucrative career is bright in an economically developing nation like ours and as such the career can be termed as challenging and rewarding for competent professionals in the field.
Company Secretary is a professional course administered by The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) under the Company Secretaries Act, 1980 to develop and regulate the profession of Company Secretaries in India. According to the Companies Act, companies with a paid up capital of Rs 50 lakh are required to appoint a Company Secretary. Company Secretary course gives you knowledge and understanding of the modern practice in corporate financial and legal affair. To become a Company Secretary, the candidate need to pass the Foundation Programme, Executive Programme, and Professional Programme that were earlier respectively known as Foundation Examination, Intermediate Examination and Final examination conducted by the institute and further, they need to undergo practical training to become eligible for the membership as a Company Secretary.
A Company Secretary's service is very much important for a company’s management. The work of a Company Secretary covers a wide variety of functions- he acts as a vital link between the Company, the Board of Directors, shareholders, governmental and regulatory agencies. He is a compliance officer of the company as well as Corporate Planner and Strategic Manager. Apart from carrying out these functions he also looks after finance, accounts, legal, personnel and administrative functions. Company Secretary is required to handle matters related to central/state sales tax, excise laws, labour laws and corporate law.
Company Secretaryship course is divided into three stages- Foundation Programme, Executive Programme and Professional Programme. This course is a mixture of postal tuition, optional coaching classes and regular examinations at specified centers. Candidates who have passed senior secondary (10+2) can apply for the Foundation Programme. Graduates, post-graduates (excluding Fine arts) and those who have passed final exam of ICWAI or ICAI or of any other accountancy Institution in India or abroad recognized by the Council of the Institute can directly enroll to the Executive Programme without doing the Foundation course. Candidates who have passed the Executive Programme can apply for the Final course. Registration for each examination should be done at least nine months before the month in which the examination is held. The examinations are usually held in June and December every year. Study material is provided to the students at the time of admission.
In recent times, the rapid corporatisation has increased the demand for Company Secretary's in corporate functions.
Banks - the reservoir of wealth, play an important role in our day-to-day life as they are the organisations that take care of the money of individuals and Corporates. These government authorized financial establishments are the best place to get the capital requirements or save money by different means like opening savings, current and fixed deposit accounts. Banks pay interest on the deposited money, provide loans to people for all their needs such as vehicle, home, business, education and offer services like foreign currency exchange, ATM's etc. The word bank was derived from the Italian word ' Banco' which means desk or bench, over which the transactions had happened during the earlier days.
In India, the banking system was introduced in 1786 with the establishment of General bank and the Bank of Hindustan, which are now out of date. In 1806, East India Company established Bank of Calcutta which later become Bank of Bengal, and Bank of Bombay and Bank of Madras in the respective years of 1840 and 1843. These three banks were merged in 1921 to form the Imperial Bank of India and after independence it was nationalized and became the State Bank of India (SBI) which is the oldest bank in India. The oldest Joint Stock bank in India, Allahabad Bank was started in 1865 and in 1894 the Punjab National Bank, the first complete Indian bank was established. There after, a number of banks came up such as the Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Indian Bank and Bank of Mysore between the years 1906 and 1913. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was set up in 1935 and as per the Central Banking Authority, the RBI has got the powers for the supervision of banking in India. The government has formed SBI as the major agent of RBI and it handle all the transactions of Union and State Governments of the country. Of the 88 Scheduled Commercial Banks in India, there are 27 Public sector banks, 31 Private banks and 38 Foreign/ Multinational banks and all these banks together have a combined network of over 53,000 branches and 17,000 ATMs.
Banking, the business of handling money has become one of the most challenging sectors in the country. This well-paid, secure job is a coveted career choice of all times. Banking is a profession not only meant for Commerce/ Economics students but is open for all graduates with any academic background. By the liberalization of banking system and mushrooming of private and foreign banks, banking has become a wonderful profession that offer numerous career options. The responsibilities of the banking professionals vary according to the position.
With the boom in the IT field, a new dimension has been added to the face of banking. Earlier people have to wait for hours to make transactions like depositing, withdrawal, collection of drafts etc. But now all the operations in the banks have been computerized to provide more efficient service to the customers. Facilities and services like net banking, phone banking, credit cards, Automated Teller Machines (ATM) services, online information on the internet, home banking etc offers the customers help to make their life easier and simpler. Emergence of these technologies and the entry of financial institutions into short-term lending business provide an ample scope in this field and has created the requirement of more professionals.
You must have seen, heard and read about companies which provide insurance cover to policy holders in case of any eventuality like accidents, hospitalization, household hazards, thefts or death and still others who look after investment schemes, employee benefits, retirement benefits and pension schemes. The policy holders are required to pay a fixed amount as installments at regular intervals and they get this money back in the event of any untoward incident or upon the maturity of the policy. Have you ever wondered who decides as to what amount of money a policy holder should pay as premium or what sum should be given as pension amount or returns by the company?.
Well, this exactly is what an actuary does. They calculate insurance risks and premiums. Technically speaking the job of an actuary is to assess the financial impact of an uncertain future event. Roughly speaking they look at the financial aspect of disasters, sarcastically speaking they are financial astrologers.
An actuary has to combine the skills of a statistician, economist and financier and employ techniques of probability, compound interest, law, marketing, management etc to predict the outcome of future contingencies and design solutions to lessen the financial severity of such events.
Actuarial profession was formally established in 1848, with the formation of Institute of Actuaries, London. In India, traditionally actuaries were found only in the life-insurance sector but now with the opening up of the economy they are wanted by non-life insurance companies, banks, stock exchanges, private and government agencies and this is one field where demand exceeds supply.
The Actuarial Society of India (ASI), the only professional body of Actuaries in India was formed in 1944 and was admitted as a member of the International Actuarial Association (IAA), an umbrella organization to all actuarial bodies across the world, in 1979. It was registered in 1982 under registration of Literacy, Scientific and Charitable Societies Act XIII of 1960. Its objectives include the advancement of Actuarial profession in India, providing opportunities for interaction among members of the profession, facilitating research, arranging lectures on relevant subjects and providing facilities and Guidance to those studying for the professional Actuarial Examination.
The Institute of Actuaries Of India (IAI or formally ASI) was initially started as a non-examining body when Actuaries used to get qualified from Institute of Actuaries or Faculty of Actuaries of UK. The Institute of Actuaries of India started conducting Entrance Examinations in India for students of Institute of Actuaries, UK, in 1975. In 1989, it started conducting examinations for its Indian qualification up to Associate ship level, and in 1992, it started conducting Fellowship level exams. The IAI has been following the UK pattern of examinations since November 2000 with an eye to be a part of global standards set by the International Actuarial Association (IAA).
To become an actuary one must be a Fellow of a recognised professional examining body like the Actuarial Society of India (ASI), Mumbai or the Institute of Actuaries, London. The work of an actuary involves a lot of number crunching and the nature of work is quite tedious, nevertheless it offers rewards in terms of intellectual challenge, status, job satisfaction and earnings. As their judgment is the basis of decision making for many business activities, their career paths often lead to upper management and executive positions.