The Chartered Accountant course is conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) whereas CPA is an exam conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
CPA course requires anywhere from 7 months to 1 year to complete. On the other hand, you need to spend at least 4 to 5 years to complete your Chartered Accountant course.
CA is a reputed qualification in India. It covers the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles prevalent in India, known as IND-AS. CA license holders have good career prospects in India.
Comparatively, CPA is a global qualification that covers International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the US (USGAAP). CPA provides accounting professionals with a wide range of career opportunities in the US and various other major countries of the world especially in multi-national companies that originate or operate from US soil.
To take the CPA exam, you need to have a BCom degree with 1st class or a BCom degree along with a postgraduate degree. You can also appear for the exam if you have a BCom degree and an Indian CA qualification. Further, you need to have at least one year’s experience of working in the Accounting and Finance industry to apply for a CPA license.
For pursuing a CA course, you need to take the Common Proficiency Test (CPT) after completing your senior secondary education, and there is no mandatory requirement of a degree. However, to apply for a CA license, one needs to have at least three years of article-ship experience in an accounting firm.
CPA is an online exam with 4 sections which are Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation. However, after you pass the first exam a time limit of 18 months applies to pass the other three exams.
The CA has a three-stage exam process with 21 subjects overall. The first stage is the Common Proficiency Test which has 6 exams. The second stage is known as the Integrated Professional Competence Course with 7 exams and the third stage is the Final examination which has 8 exams to clear.
To clear each CPA exam, you need to score above the 75th Percentile to pass the exam. On the other hand, you can clear a CA exam if you score 40% or more in it with a cumulative average of 50% or more during the IPCC or Final Exam stages. Despite this, the pass percentage of candidates appearing in a CA exam is about 5% whereas CPA sees a pass percentage of nearly 40%.