Why is Articleship important?
Are you planning on pursuing Chartered Accountancy from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India)?
Did you know that pursuing a CA articleship is mandatory for you?
CA Articleship is a 3-year practical training required by ICAI to become a Chartered Accountant. ICAI has made it compulsory for every CA student to complete the first 2 years of Articleship under a practicing Chartered Accountant.
In the last year of the articles, you can either continue serving under a Chartered Accountant in practice or opt for Industrial Training.
To give the CA intermediate exam (Second level CA exam), you must complete 9 months of articleship under a qualified CA. You would go to an office/firm of your choice to gain practical knowledge in taxation, audit, finance, etc. while studying for CA finals.
Even in the case of the Direct Entry Route, you would have to pursue articleship. This route permits students to attend the Chartered Accountancy program without taking the entrance test (CA Foundation).
How Should You Choose a CA Firm for articleship?
Choosing the right firm where you are going to work and learn for the next three years, is an important decision.
Many students get confused as to whether to choose one of the Big 4 firms (Deloitte, E&Y, PricewaterhouseCoopers – PwC, and KPMG) or a small/mid-sized firm.
Well, that’s a subjective decision really and has to be taken after considering many factors.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Will you be able to face the pressure of the Big 4?
- Would you relocate to a tier 1 city where the Big 4 are mostly situated?
The next factor to consider is whether both groups of your CA Intermediate are cleared or not. The Big 4 generally prefer candidates who have passed both groups.
You also need to consider your future career goals; do you want to join the industry? Work in one of the Big 4s? Or start your practice or business?
After carefully pondering over these questions you should make the move.
How to approach a CA firm for articleship
You can directly apply to them by visiting the company’s website and going to the “Careers” section.
Secondly, you can check for vacancies on ICAI’s notice board.
You can connect with people on LinkedIn who work in these corporates and ask politely whether they can refer you to their organization.
Check out these job portals as well.
What you will learn during CA Articleship
While serving your articleship in a CA firm, you’ll get exposure to areas like auditing, taxation, finance, accounting, etc.
If you want to focus on one of these specific fields then make sure to ask your firm beforehand whether they have that particular area or not.
However, it is suggested that you do not limit yourself to one particular area and try to explore every type of work.
In a conversation with The Finance Story, Lakshya Gera shared that for his articleship he joined TR Chadha & Co LLP in their statutory audit department.
After gaining all the experience that he wanted in this field, he shifted to a much smaller firm to learn something new. “Here I got to experience a variety of areas such as tax, accounting, etc,” Lakshya said.
Minimum stipend for CA Articleship as per ICAI
There are rules made by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) with regard to stipends. Every CA firm has to pay their articles at least that minimum amount of stipend.
As per ICAI’s regulations with respect to the payment of stipends,
- For the cities/towns having a population of 20 lakhs and above, the stipend per month during the first year, second year, and during the remaining period of training shall be Rs. 2000, Rs. 2500, and Rs. 3000 respectively.
- For cities/towns having a population of 4 lakhs and above but less than 20 lakhs, the stipend per month during the first year, second year, and the remaining period of training shall be Rs. 1500, Rs. 2000, and Rs. 2500 respectively.
- For cities/towns having a population of fewer than 4 lakhs, the stipend per month during the first year, second year, and the remaining period of training shall be Rs. 1000, Rs. 1500, and Rs. 2000 respectively.
These are the minimum stipend rates set by the ICAI, and firms are free to decide on the maximum rates.
Big 10 firms usually pay between INR 8K – INR 15K per month.
Abhishek Garg who did his articles at Grant Thornton and later at BDO shared his journey with The Finance Story.
He says that an articled assistant gets paid well in BDO, but that would also mean working late hours, doing monotonous activities for months, etc.
“The icing on the cake is the fancy off-sites, the various infrastructure facilities, the grooming, and learning that one experiences at such a young age,” says Abhishek.
ICAI new rules for articleship
Here’s some good news for CA students. ICAI proposed a scheme to reduce the articleship period from three years to two years (yet to become effective).
Not only this, but ICAI has decided to increase the stipend rate for CA articles. ICAI has decided to double the stipend rate from what is fixed currently.
Here are the details of the proposed stipend rates:
- For cities/towns with a population of 20 lakhs and above, the stipend per month during the first year, second year, and the remaining training period would be Rs. 4000, Rs. 5000, and Rs. 6000 respectively.
- For cities/towns with a population of 4 lakhs and above but less than 20 lakhs, the stipend per month during the first year, second year, and the remaining training period would be Rs. 3000, Rs. 4000, and Rs. 5000 respectively.
- For cities/towns with a population of fewer than 4 lakhs, the stipend per month during the first year, second year, and the remaining training period would be Rs. 2000, Rs. 3000, and Rs. 4000 respectively.
How to Manage CA Final Studies with Articleship?
Rakhi Aggarwal chose Deloitte for her articleship.
She was clear from the first year of her CA course, that the journey was not going to be easy. Rakhi made herself mentally strong to manage her studies with work. When asked about her experience so far at Deloitte, she said, “Of course, the work pressure is tremendous.”
But at the same time, she has a great team and all the other articles show her support. They even help her often by sharing notes and solving her doubts about CA finals.
She further added that it’s definitely a little bit tough to manage the studies while working at the Big 4.
“You have to make it your goal that you will complete your all classes along with articleship. Then in that six months study leave you can just revise your whole syllabus 3-4 times,” concluded Rakhi.
If you are disciplined enough, you’ll be able to sail through.
Yashgopal Vaishnav who did his articles at a Big 4 firm says, “Generally, an article at EY will get around 5 months of leave, i.e. from the month of December, if the attempt is due in May next year.
There will be hardly any issues that an article will face with respect to study leaves.”
You can also watch Arihant’s video where he shares his advice on how to study for CA exams along with an articleship/job.
Q. What are the eligibility criteria for CA Articleship?
Once you pass any one of the two groups of CA intermediate, you would be eligible to register yourself as a CA article.
Q. Can I change my Articleship firm within 1 year?
The ICAI Guidelines mention that in terms of Regulation 56(1) of the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988, transfer /termination of articles is permitted without any restriction during the first year of articles.
If your principal refuses to give you a transfer to another firm, despite having a valid reason you can file Form 120 at The Institute Of Chartered Accountants of India