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Comparison of Accounting Qualifications

What are the options for higher studies after B.Com? A post-graduation in commerce, i.e. M.Com, may not be an ideal choice for those looking for lucrative professional opportunities. Unless you are so focused on professional academic careers, you will be faced with the same question even after M.Com. The question may just be rephrased into “What do I do after M.Com"?
It is a challenge to choose the best course when there are many available options. Let’s compare the features of some prestigious and highly rewarding courses available to those who have completed B.Com / M.Com. If you have the focus and willingness to work hard, you may pursue some of these courses along with your regular university studies.
Here’s a tabular comparison of prominent Indian courses with criteria relevant to choosing between them:
CA, CMA (earlier known as CWA), and CS are qualifications that enable you to be licensed practitioners in the field of Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, and Corporate Secretarial Practice respectively. These exams are conducted by institutes set up under relevant Acts of the Indian Government. Getting admission to these three courses is not difficult. However, pass percentages are very low and are highly reliant on effective private coaching in addition to systematic hard work. Although the difficulty levels are almost similar for these three courses, CA enjoys the highest potential for career success.
MBA is a very safe alternative as far as the pass percentages are concerned. However, career prospects are highly dependent on the quality of the institution offering an MBA. When MBAs from top-notch institutes rule the job market, MBAs from mediocre institutes find it difficult to find a suitable job. Further, the cost for a decent MBA course might be prohibitive for low / middle-income groups.
Now, let’s move on to a comparison of prominent foreign courses which can be pursued while in India along with criteria relevant to choosing between them:

ACCA, CMA, CPA, and CIMA are highly prestigious global qualifications in the accounting field. ACCA and CIMA are UK courses that consist of many exams spread across various modules conducted as per pre-set timetable. CPA and CMA are American courses that consist of only 2 exams for CMA and four exams for CPA. CMA and CPA consist of computer-based, objective type, on-demand exams which can be scheduled at Prometric testing centers as per the convenience of candidates. CMA and CPA exams can be completed in less than one year due to the reduced number of papers and the flexibility of their online scheduling whereas ACCA and CIMA exams take a minimum of three years for completion. Further, CMA certification is the least expensive among these courses.

Pass percentages are significantly higher for these foreign credentials compared to their Indian counterparts mainly owing to the better preparedness of candidates taking the examinations.

Having gone through the pros and cons of various courses, we suggest you to make your choice depending on your individual situation:

  • If you are looking for a course that can be completed in the least duration, the CMA and CPA are the best choices. These courses are ideal for candidates who have already spent time on unsuccessful attempts of other professional courses.
  • If you are looking for self-employment in India, then CA and CS are the best choices. Practice opportunities are very limited for Indian Cost Accountants (CMA) compared to CA and CS.
  • If you are looking for an accounting career in the government sector in India, then Indian qualifications may be necessary due to the statutory recognition and coverage of Indian regulations.
  • If you are looking for overseas employment or migration opportunities, US credentials command wider acceptance and brand value.
  • If you are looking for a course that can be pursued along with a job, then CMA and CPA are the best options. Other courses demand more full-time engagement. For example, Indian CA course requires three years of training under a Chartered Accountant.
  • If cost is your primary concern, Indian courses or CMA (US) may be more affordable. CMA (US) is arguably the least expensive credential, provided you prepare well to pass the exams without taking too many attempts.

 Hope this discussion helped you in making a more informed decision regarding the choice of highly rewarding courses after graduation.

If you are interested in pursuing CMA or CPA, you may please visit for more details. FM Academy provides best coaching for CPA and CMA (US). You can choose either live online or classroom-based coaching at FM Academy as per your preference.

Click here to listen to a video in Malayalam on accounting courses after graduation.