Difference Between CA and CPA


CA and CPA are common designations of accountants. People having these certifications belong to the same category of professionals, having the expertise to look after books in a business and to prepare financial statements. A small business can avail the services of a person having knowledge of accounts without having any certification, and he still is referred to as an accountant. This article attempts to highlight the differences between these two certifications of the same professional called an accountant.

CA and CPA are professional degrees that people desirous in making a career for themselves in the field of accounts aim for, and while CA is a certification more popular in UK and other commonwealth countries, CPA is a certification with US influence. Australia is an exception where there is equal demand for both these certifications. Both certifications are a passport to a lucrative career in the field of accounts; CA or a CPA can hope to get job offers from both government as well as private businesses. These professionals can even choose to work as a private practitioner. One can select either of the two certifications if he is desirous of working as an accounts professional. However, if the individual decides to work oversees, it is better to know beforehand which of the two certifications is more valued in the country where he wishes to settle down.

There is no doubt that CA is the degree that was valued much more than CPA 30 years or so. However, of late, CPA seems to have caught up with CA in all respects. This is reflected in the harsh requirements for a person to be CA being made simple like those of CPA. There was a requirement of 6 month work experience after clearing the exams to be a certified CA. However, this has been shelved now. Pass percentage has also been lowered signifying the growing clout of CPA certification.

Those looking for differences between CA (Chartered Accountants) and CPA (Certified Public Accountant) may be surprised to know that there is a third accrediting body called ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Those who get accredited by this association are not only certified, but also chartered accountants.

It is, therefore, better to say that CPA is US equivalent to CA in UK and the rest of the world. Both can conduct audits and prepare financial statements of companies.

What is the difference between CA and CPA?

• CA and CPA are two most prominent degrees accountants can hope for in the world at present.

• While CA is a certification provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants having chapters in all member countries, CPA is a certification obtained after clearing the Uniform Certified Public Accounting exam.

• CPA is considered as US equivalent of CA, which has more of UK influence.