CA vs CS

The Commerce stream offers two popular courses, Chartered Accountancy (CA) and Company Secretary (CS). These courses are often chosen by students after completing their 12th in the Commerce stream. Although CA vs CS may seem similar, they are distinct courses with different focuses within an organization. Both CA vs CS are considered to be among the toughest examinations in India. In this article, we will explore the differences between CA vs CS, helping you understand their unique aspects. Discover the contrasting features of CA vs CS to make an informed decision about your career path.

Difference between Company Secretary and Chartered Accountant

The Chartered Accountancy (CA) and Company Secretary (CS) programs have notable differences in their course structure, duration, study levels, and work options. Here’s a comparison table highlighting the primary distinctions between CA vs CS:

Difference Between CA vs CS

Points of Distinction CA CS
Course Structure Focused on Accounting and Finance Focused on Corporate Laws
Duration 4.5 to 5 years (including articleship) 3 years (Foundation, Executive, Professional)
Exam Conducting Body Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)
Professional Designation Chartered Accountant (CA) Company Secretary (CS)
Core Areas of Expertise Audit, Taxation, Financial Reporting Corporate Laws, Governance, Compliance
Work Opportunities Auditing Firms, Corporations, Financial Institutions Corporations, Government Organizations, Legal Firms
Scope of Practice Financial Management, Taxation, Accounting Corporate Governance, Legal Compliance, Secretarial Work
Specializations Available Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Executive Programme, Professional Programme, Foundation Programme
Career Progression Can become CFO, Financial Advisor, Consultant Can become Company Secretary, Legal Advisor, Compliance Officer

Understanding these distinctions will help you make an informed decision about which field aligns better with your interests and career goals.

How to Become a CA?

To embark on a career as a Chartered Accountant (CA), follow these steps:

  1. Enroll in the CA course offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
  2. Clear the CA foundation exam and pursue a degree in Commerce or a related field.
  3. Qualify for the CA intermediate level by successfully completing the required exams.
  4. Gain practical experience and training by undertaking articleship under the guidance of an experienced CA for a minimum period of three years.
  5. Pass the CA Final exams, which are the culmination of your CA journey.

The CA Foundation exam can be taken immediately after completing 12th grade. However, to appear for the CA intermediate level, you need to have completed your graduation.


How to Become a CS?

To embark on a career as a Company Secretary (CS) and excel in handling company profiles and decision-making, strong critical thinking skills are essential. Here are the steps to pursue a career in CS:

  1. Enroll in the CS course offered by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.
  2. Clear the CS Executive Entrance Test (CSEET), which serves as the entry point for the CS programme.
  3. Enroll and qualify in the CS executive programme to acquire additional qualifications and knowledge.
  4. Further specialize by enrolling and qualifying in the CS Professional programme, which deepens your expertise in company secretarial practices.
  5. Successfully clear all the exams to become a certified and successful Company Secretary.

For those pursuing CS after graduation:

  1. Complete a three-year graduation course in Commerce or a related field.
  2. Enroll in the CS Executive programme to continue your CS journey.
  3. Progress to the CS Professional programme to enhance your skills and knowledge in company secretarial practices.

By following these steps and successfully completing the required exams, you can build a rewarding career as a Company Secretary.


Career Pathways for CA vs CS

Both the fields, CA vs CS, initially start with a foundation in Commerce, but they diverge into distinct directions as one progresses. To pursue a career in CA, it is important to have strong mathematical skills to effectively handle complex accounting and budgeting tasks.

Career Options as a CA

Students interested in pursuing a career as a CA have a wide range of options available to them, both in the public and private sectors. They can explore opportunities in government agencies, private companies, banks, law firms, businesses, and even civil services. The diverse career prospects in the field of CA offer students the flexibility to choose the sector and industry that aligns with their interests and goals.

Career Options as a CS

Candidates interested in a career in CS have a plethora of options in large corporations globally. They can work in various areas such as governance, administration, stakeholder meetings, and board of directors. Additionally, students can explore the possibility of working as Company Secretaries for multiple businesses independently. The field of CS offers diverse opportunities for individuals to contribute to the smooth functioning and compliance of organizations, making it a promising career choice.

Distinction Between CA vs CS

Course Duration

Another important factor to consider when deciding between CA vs CS is the duration of the program. While both CA vs CS courses have three levels, the duration of each field varies. CS is a shorter program that can be completed in two to three years, providing a quicker pathway to a professional qualification. On the other hand, CA takes around five years to complete, as it involves rigorous training, practical experience, and clearing multiple exams. The difference in program duration allows individuals to choose a course that aligns with their career goals and timeline for professional development.


When comparing Company Secretary (CS) and Chartered Accountant (CA) in terms of average salary, there is a difference in the compensation. On average, a Chartered Accountant tends to earn a higher salary compared to a Company Secretary. In India, the average annual income for a Company Secretary is around Rs. 6 lakhs, while a Chartered Accountant earns approximately Rs. 8 lakhs per year. However, it is important to note that these figures represent average salaries and can vary depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, industry, and location.

CA vs CS – Conclusion

Choosing between a career as a Chartered Accountant (CA) or a Company Secretary (CS) can indeed be a challenging decision. To make an informed choice, consider the various aspects discussed above, such as the duration of the courses, the procedure involved, the scope of each profession, and the level of difficulty. If your interest lies in finance, accounting, and auditing, pursuing a career as a CA would be a suitable option. On the other hand, if you aspire to hold higher-level managerial positions or work in legal management, opting for a career as a CS would be more appropriate. Assess your qualifications, career goals, and personal preferences to determine which path aligns best with your professional profile.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Ques 1. Which one is a better profession CA or CS?
AnsThe choice between CA and CS as a profession depends on your personal preferences, skills, and career goals. Both professions have their own unique advantages and opportunities. It is important to consider your interests and aptitude before making a decision.
Ques 2. Who makes more money a CA or CS?
AnsThe average salary for a Chartered Accountant (CA) is higher than that of a Company Secretary (CS). In India, a CA earns an average salary of around Rs. 8 lakhs per annum, while a CS earns around Rs. 6 lakhs per annum on average.
Ques 3. Is CS more simple than CA?
AnsThe difficulty level of CA and CS courses can vary depending on the individual’s background and aptitude. Generally, CA is considered to be more challenging due to its mathematical and analytical focus, while CS is perceived to be comparatively easier as it is more theory-based.
Ques 4. Is it possible for a CS to rise to the position of CEO?
AnsYes, it is possible for a Company Secretary (CS) to rise to the position of CEO. CS professionals possess a strong understanding of corporate governance, legal compliance, and management. With their expertise and experience, they can progress to senior executive positions, including CEO, in organizations.