CA in Job Vs CA in Practice: Who is better in the long run??



After passing CA final examinations, one question that gives sleepless nights to many is “WHETHER TO GO FOR PRACTICE OR JOB??” Your whole future depends upon making the right choice. In this article, I will try to provide you with few factors for comparison, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself after weighing all the pros and cons of both the options available for you.

1.       The Initial Struggle: For all those who are opting for job, your struggle is for very short period and ends with finding the right company to work for. Generally it takes 2 to 3 month time for a fresher CA to get a good job with handsome remuneration.  Even ICAI conducts campus for placement of newly qualified CAs. In these 2 to 3 months, sometimes companies reject you and sometimes you reject the company.  But once you finds the right company, your struggle ends and you start earning from the Day 1. Unemployed CA is still a myth and you have to be an idiot of highest level to remain unemployed after passing CA final exams.
             For all those who are opting for practice, initial period of struggle ranges from 2 Years to 5 Years only exception is joining an existing set up. If you are going solo in practice, first few months are nothing less than the nightmare, all you have to do is to roam around, meet the potential clients. There will be only expenditures and no income. Chances are that you may start feeling frustrated if you had not adequately planned the financial resources to sustain in the initial phase. After first few months and after developing good networks, things surely will change for good.
So during initial struggle phase CA in job is better than CA in practice.

2.       The Avenues:   There are so many avenues to work for both CA in job and CA in practice. Those who are going for job, can join Banks as Credit managers, Government Companies as well as Private companies as Manager Finance & Accounts, Finance consultancy firms as consultants, Big 4s as audit manager or taxation consultants etc. You should choose the job keeping your long term goals in mind.
           For all those who are going to practice, believe me sky is the limit and there is no dearth of opportunities. You can practice in the areas of taxation both direct and indirect. Auditing is   another area where you can excel. You can become Virtual CFO of many small and medium enterprises by helping them to manage their finances properly. Project finance is another area where you can try your hands. IFRS implementation consultancy is also a new area to practice. Implementation of GST will also open new doors of opportunity for members in Practice.  There are many other avenues such as helping setting up of businesses, helping industries with grants and subsidies. With increased number in start-ups, CA can help them in getting finance.
Opportunities wise both are at par.

3.       The Learning: If you are in job, your learning and knowledge will be limited with regard to the work you are doing. Training sessions will also be limited. If you are working with Big 4s, chances are that you might get regulars in house training sessions where as for others chances to get training about new topic and updating themselves  are very less.
            There  is a saying which is quite  popular for members in Practice, “ If you are not updating yourself every six months, you are of no use to your clients” It is true, in practice learning never stops, every day you have to learn something new and unlearn something which you already knew. As you have to serve variety of clients, you have to keep yourself updated with the new changes and amendments. Even ICAI mandates members in practice to attend Continuous Professional Education programs.
So learning wise CA in practice prevails over CA in Job.

4.       The Financial Aspect: The financial security and stability are must for both CA in job as well as for CA in practice. As I discussed in the “Initial Struggle” , CA in job gets financial security and stability form the Day 1 whereas CA in practice have to struggle a lot to achieve financial stability and security. But in the long run CA in Practice are well off financially as compared to CA in job, as salary increments will be very limited for CA in job unless you became a part of top management, whereas for CA in practice income will multiply by each passing year.
So financially CA in Practice will be better than CA in job in long run.

5.       The Work ethics and Environment:  For those who are in job, their work ethics and work environment depends upon the policies of the top management of the company they are working for. If the top management is ethical and honest, then your work ethics and environment will be good and vice versa.
           CA in practice themselves are responsible for creating their work ethics and environment. How they want to present themselves in the market generally determines their work ethics. Their behavior with staff and clients helps them in forming good or bad work atmosphere.
So here the work ethics of CA in practice depends upon them whereas for CA in job, it depends upon the company for which they are working.

6.       The Switch from job to Practice and the other way around:  Many people think that, they will switch from job to practice after few years. But it is easier said than done. If you want to go for practice, go for it now. Many says that they want to earn money initially so that they won’t face  any issue while setting up their practice, it is a good reason , but reality is that you won’t able to save much.
            I am yet to met a CA in practice who survived during the initial years and switched to job, so the percentage of people shifting from practice to job is very less.

One should keep all the above points in the mind before choosing one of the alternatives. The views expressed above are my personal views and readers should keep their personal goals in their mind before opting any one of the alternatives.

(The author is a practicing Chartered Accountant at Indore City and can also be reached at rohitjain3663@gmail.com)

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