What a CA has that the regular accountant doesn't?

Written by Moaaz Iqbal

Nowadays, there is no proper criterion to recognize one as an accountant. In other words, a guy next street with simple Quickbooks and Excel knowledge can call himself an accountant. For me personally, the accountant should be able to keep up with how money is revolving around the business, and effectively track and record it. But even Wikipedia defines accountant as “a practitioner of accountancy or accounting”. Thus, with so many accountants in the game, what really makes a CA the game changer? I mean why should one even bother going through all the pain when you can simply enroll in any other University and get done with it? (No offense to anyone) 

Well, today might be your lucky day because I’ve got some answers if not all of them.

1: Grip on concepts

Accounting consists of concepts, some principle-based and others rule-based, which are combined to form a reliable process. Therefore, it is really necessary for a good “accountant” to be able to understand those concepts at least, if not put them into practice. I can’t really say about other accountants but a chartered accountant surely has that grip because of the rigorous examination system ICAP uses. How do you know the exams are so tough that they will hone your concepts straight? Well, it becomes obvious when you realize that nobody up there cares about the marks you obtain and only passing with 50 marks with do. It’s either pass or fail, the same for everyone.

2: Professional experience

We all know the way employers, especially in Pakistan, are making tough and inexplicable demands. For instance, the most common one is that “fresh graduate” should have the 1-year experience to be able to work for the organization. I mean what the… Anyhow, let’s call it hard luck for Wikipedia accountants because ICAP members don’t lack experience at all. In fact, articleship or training is considered one of the toughest professional trainings. Students sacrifice health and sleep among other things to achieve the desired results in the tenure of 3.5 years. On the bright side, it fulfills employers’ demands and grooms the members into very fine accountants and managers.

3: Authority through law

One of the greatest advantages of being a CA in Pakistan is the authority they get through laws or the legal system. Pakistan’s Law empowers ICAP members with some things that a regular accountant only dreams of getting. Some of them are listed below:

1: Signing the audit report and being able to be appointed as auditors

2: Approving tax depreciation rates

3: Approving the deduction of Zakat

4: Being appointed as accountant member in Appellate Tribunal

5: Being appointed as a member of FBR’s Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee

And the list may go on. To cut it short, ICAP members get far more privilege and respect than a regular accountant. Who doesn’t want that now?

4: Continuous Professional Development

Oh trust me, members hate it and students don’t care! But the truth is that this is what will keep us relevant in modern times. The road up ahead is all twists and turns! Things change very quickly and to be honest, accountants really are not the best in adapting. Therefore, Wikipedia accountants don’t get to ride the wave as CAs do. CAs complete necessary CPD hours which, usually, is in the form of some course, seminar or an event. This means that CAs always keep sharpening their edges and adopt new skills where necessary.

5: Competitiveness

Competitiveness is the theme of the CA qualification. It’s like a constant vibe students get from either each other or through the environment their studies create. The reason I’ll be calling a CA more competitive than your average accountant is because:

1: The course CA students cover is very comprehensive and lengthy than what the usual accounting students study at universities

2: The study is more of a professional study than academic study; a lot is directly taught of International standards directly

3: Selective study gets you nowhere due to the marks distribution criteria. 

4: Failing is a norm, not an embarrassment

No disrespect to any degree or qualification but CAs are cut above the rest.

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