Differences between the two professional programs the first one is Chartered Accountancy(CA) and the second one is Chartered Financial Analyst(CFA). So the first one is the level of difficulty of CA vs CFA exam and over the years I have heard this question very frequently in fact every CA student comes to us would typically ask how difficult is CFA compare to CA. So we will discuss about that then we would understand the differences in terms of what costs or what investment you would you have to incur in a CFA Program and CA. We would talk about if a CA students want to start CFA what would be the appropriate time to do it what are the work experience requirement in CFA.
The average space there-fore CFA is as against the Chartered Accountant(CA) and we would also talk about what kind of career opportunities exist for CA and CFA combination. The first question is the level of difficulty now let’s have a look at the exam format of CFA so that things would be more clear. The Level I and the Level II the 3 exams of CFA Level I, II and III the first two are purely a multiple choice question based exams meaning of which is there would be three options A, B, C and you’d be require to choose appropriate one In Level III in the morning you have to write constructed response are also called as essays which are different from what we are use to write short clips or short answer to certain cases and then again in the afternoon you have to write sixty multiple choice question exams now the exam format creates a lot of difference in the two exam in terms of how do you prepare for CA and how do you prepare for CFA.
That matter even the enter exams one was the require to remember a lot of things for example in your law or in your taxation indirect taxation what ever might be subject you would be required to remember a lot of things and reproduce them on the exam so to a point where I felt that CFA was more often dependent on CA was more on dependent on your ability to remember and reproduce on the day of exam as against this with the exam format of CFA. This question exam paper is purely analytical so what do I mean by this is so what I mean by this is that with CFA you need to have that analytical bent of mind only mugging up and reproducing on exam does not work with CFA exam so what you need to know is that if I know a concept how do I apply that concept in different scenarios and can I use it in a realistic scenario and come to a solution to a problem so if you feel that you are someone who’s analytical bent of mind and how do you decide that if you have like costing your CA syllabus or if you like FM in CA syllabus or accounting then probably would enjoy studying for CFA more because a subject is somewhat similar to financial management in IPCC SFM in CA final so this was the one so personally for me CFA exams and CFA studies much more enjoyable than CA studies.
I also felt them more easier than the level of difficulty primarily because I was not required to remember a lot of things but just to understand and move on so this is your first part now we would look at the costing part CA and CFA. Now CFA assuming a average exchange rate and assuming that someone passes all the exams in the first go would cost of somewhere in the range of 1.5 lacs per annum where as what I feel is CA is substantially cheaper program in terms of the fees that would be giving to the institute probably all your levels would be somewhere around 20 or 30 thousand cumulative for all the three exams first likely higher than that now the only difference what I feel is that the CA is a five year program or 4.5 year program. Where as CFA can be finished in one and half to 2 years. So there is no there is no article-ship component directly off course CFA also requires certain work experience but there is no article ship the big difference is that in CA you’d be doing article ship of 3 years now what happens is that in India this article is not paid very heavily.
So let us say that you are being paid on an average 5k/month so what it means for those 3 years your loosing a significant opportunity cost so even if you’ll consider an average pay of 15k/month that turns out to be lesser ten thousand a month and that over the period of 3 years. So those CA directly will not have a substantial cost attached in terms of what you would give to the institute but yes they would be a lot of significant opportunity cost involved here where as CFA with their work experience requirement do not ask you do any article-ship what they say is they want a 4 year relevant work experience and what it would be mean is that when you pass your Level I you can take up a job this would be full placed job not an a article ship. Which means they will pay you and they will also respect you because of which you would not loose that opportunity cost here therefore CFA relatively becomes a big cheaper because you recover that cost very quickly the second benefit is it’s a four-and-a-half year program and the recognition comes when your CA final qualified that means you pass all the 3 exams where as CFA that recognition comes in smaller parts so even if you pass Level I there is a ready-made job market available or you can put that on your CV and look for good quality jobs in the market so this was on the costing part now let us say that if you are CA student then what is the right time when you should start your studies.