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Career options in commerce
September, 14th 2009

Career planning is one of the most crucial decisions in your life, which needs no emphasis. In your career, whether you opt for a job or prefer to be on your own, you must understand that there would be immense competition around you. Also, in view of new developments triggered off by information technology (IT) and globalisation of the economy, there are now more options than ever before. You will have to look at all these options before finally choosing the 'correct' one.

Till the 1990s, there was a clear distinction between the professional courses that were open to science students, arts students and commerce students. When a student opted to pursue arts or commerce, it was assumed that the number of career options available for the (hapless) candidate would be very limited.

Now, the changing face of the corporate sector along with the burgeoning Indian economy has led to an increasing demand for professionals from the field of commerce.

Career opportunities are immense in terms of becoming a CA, CS, Cost and Works Accountant, Management, Banking or Financial Management professional, Economist etc. Let us have an in-depth look at some of these HOT career options.

Chartered Accountant
Chartered Accountancy (CA) is one of the most lucrative career options for students today. The professional course for becoming one is conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Factors such as improved technology, constantly changing laws and the entry of multi-national players in the Indian market are ensuring that chartered accountants remain high in demand.

Chartered accountants are responsible for financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accountancy, corporate finance and insolvency. They play a strategic role by providing professional advice, aiming to maximize profitability on behalf of their client or employer.

They work in many different settings, including public practice firms, industry, commerce and the public sector.

In public practice firms, chartered accountants provide professional services to fee paying clients, from private individuals to large commercial and public sector organisations. In commerce, industry and the public sector, they may work in fund management and procurement, as well as in financial management and reporting roles. Starting salaries vary considerably, depending on the location and size of the firm and the sector. Starting salaries for trainees range between Rs. 400,000 and Rs. 1,200,000 (as being stated by ICAI). To become a Chartered Accountant, one has to clear the CPT (Common Proficiency Test) first, followed by the IPCC (Integrated Professional Competence Course) and then the Final. The total course duration - if one manages to clear all the examinations in the first attempt itself - is 4 years.

Company Secretary
'Behind ever successful company is a dedicated company secretary'. This aptly describes the all-encompassing role played by a company secretary from behind the curtains to make the show a success. A company secretary is the one who corresponds with the public and hence is also termed as the 'spokesperson' of the company. A company secretary is a person who ensures compliance of all laws, which relate to the working of a company. This knowledge of corporate laws and the rules related to it are mandatory to formalize business deals. Apart from being responsible to the shareholders and directors of the company, a company secretary also communicates with the outside world on behalf of the company.

Cost and Works Accountant
The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India is a premier, dynamic, vibrant professional institution actively associating itself in the industrial and economic development of the nation. The profession places itself at the service of the nation, government, industry, and the society to realize the objectives of a welfare state resulting in the prosperity and the well being of its people - a fact increasingly realized with the opening up of the country's economy and change in the economic scenario of the world.

In today's world, the profession of conventional accounting and auditing has taken a back seat and accountants increasingly contribute towards the management of scarce resources like funds, land and apply strategic decisions.This has opened up newer opportunities for Cost and Works Accountants to shoulder responsibility as Cost and Management Accountants in accordance with new dimensions and vision here in India and abroad.

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