Chartered Accountant could be better choice than being an Engineer

Yes, you heard it right. Being a Chartered Accountant would guarantee you a more secured financial life compared to being just one of the over million engineering graduates the country produces every year.

Let me explain it with some facts and figures that most of you may not be much aware of.

It is estimated that currently, close to 15 lakh (1.5 million) students pass out from engineering colleges every year in India. There are, however, sadly, not enough industries that can accommodate this deluge of fresh engineers graduating year after year.

The IT industry and the manufacturing sector who hire majority of these engineering graduates, are not enough to cover this ever increasing and continuous supply of engineers. In short, there is less demand and more supply of engineers in the job market .

What does the market economics point to in such a scenario

If we talk simple economics here, then whenever there is more supply and less demand, it creates a surplus, and price are bound to fall.

So, until and unless you are from atleast the top 100 engineering institutes of the country, your price is set to be compromised. In other words, majority of you would have to start with monthly income that are low and measly, than what you may have actually deserved.

Just like the situation we see every year when the seasonal mangoes arrive in the market. Initially when the supply is less, the prices are exorbitantly high, while within a few weeks when supply steadily increases, the price falls. Interestingly, though the rates of the commonly available mangoes fall rapidly, the prices for the premium variety of mangoes holds on. Even though it too witness a drop, but slightly. You can take this an example for demand for students from the premier institutes which are always higher.

Now, lets take Chartered Accountants and how do the market situation look for them.

A year back, at one of the Annual Conferences the Southern Regional President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Mr. P.R. Aruloli stated that currently India needs around 6 lakhs Chartered Accountants.

If you are unaware, then, at that point of time, there were only 2.5 lakhs Chartered Accountants in the country.

The economics, we discussed above, throws up a completely different picture here – when supply is less and there is more demand, the prices are bound to increase.

What does all this mean

When a company looks to fill a vacant engineering post, they have plenty of options at their hand and this gives them a chance to negotiate the price, and the result is a not-so-great package offer.

We have over 1500+ engineering colleges spread across the country. These colleges have different ranking, different teaching methods, varied facilities etc., that includes a few with world class faculties and infrastructure to the ones that have mediocre faculties and lacking at even basic infrastructure.

This is one of the major reason why top companies prefer to hire only from the best or high ranked colleges (having the best faculties and infrastructure) sidelining low ranked colleges. Students from these colleges have to settle working for low paying jobs in small firms. Some change their career to software, for a better compensation, while a few take up completely different occupation.

Contrast to this, there is one single premier institute for being a Chartered Accountant viz., ICAI – The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. It is a well known fact that only the best of the best becomes a CA. Hence, the demand for the students are always high.

Also, unlike 90% of engineering college student, who don’t have any real world experience, every chartered accountant has to compulsorily do their internship while studying.

Other important advantages of being a Chartered Accountant

An advantage of being a Chartered Accountant is also that, after few years of experience, you can start your own practice if you are confident enough, or, say, if you are not much satisfied with the corporate jobs that you have been doing.

An engineer on the other hand might think a thousand time before beginning a startup. Let’s not talk of the investment an engineer might need for her/his startup, while, a Chartered Accountant can simply operate from a small office.

Additionally, if one wishes to work abroad, they can look for working in countries that are members with the ICAI, like Australia, England, Canada etc.,

Who should pursue CA

  • every student who are logically sound in their mind and approach,
  • have an interest and are pretty confident with numbers and calculations
  • have decent to good grades in their 12th exams (students with average percentages in 12th have cleared CA too), and most of all
  • have the will and be ready to put in hard work

It is not an easy road to become a CA, as it has one of the toughest final exams with very low pass percentage.

Having said that, it is still way better than following the herd mentality and becoming yet “another” engineer from some random engineering college.

To conclude
Chartered Accountancy is one of the well respected and well paying profession in the country. Along with professional knowledge, it also keeps you updated on the current economic situation in the country, governance, law etc., All this helps you to not only make an informed decision professionally, but also to manage your own financials wisely for a secured and fulfilling future.

All the best !!

(The author is a Career Advisor in the field of Education, providing guidance and counselling to students, since the past 8 plus years)