Before we begin discussing the Salary of a CA, you need to have a few things clear in your mind:
- A person always earns based on the skills that he possesses. Hence, two people with the same education can earn highly different incomes based on any extra skills one of them may have.
- Our industry differentiates between students or candidates based on their ranks, the number of attempts for an exam, and other factors that can be individual to the employer.
Options after Clearing your CA
After you’ve cleared your CA, you have 4 options to choose from
- Practice or start a CA firm
- Join the Big 4 consulting firms
- Take up a job in small or mid-CA firms
- Job in the industry
Let’s see how the earnings of candidates taking up a job can work out. Below are a few Flowcharts which show the salaries for CA freshers.
Establishment or Beginning Phase – Experience ranging from 3 to 10 years.
Once you’ve established yourself as a valuable employee to a consulting firm that you’re working with, you can expect to earn around 10-20 lakhs. Also, your salaries could see 10% annual increments on average if you stay in the same role.
In the industry, you can expect to earn around the same amount annually but the promotions will be slower here. But that is nothing to worry about as when the promotions do happen, they offer very good pay raises.
Middle Phase of your Career – Experience ranging from 10 to 20 years.
In a consulting firm, if you stay put in the company for long enough, you can expect to earn 18 to 20 lakhs by now. But that’s not going to be all for you. If you consider the bonuses that you receive at this stage, the packages can be much higher.
But a CA working in the industry can expect to earn a lot more than those at consulting firms. Also if you’ve stayed in the same company for a longer time period, you’d be looking at much higher ranking positions within the corporate hierarchy.
Those in practice would either have a great client base by now or would be in a state of saturation. You’d have to now start looking at opportunities to diversify your skill set. This can be achieved either by hiring new specialists or diversifying your own skill set.
The Late Phase of your career – Experience ranging from 20 to 30 years
If you continue in a consulting firm, you’d be up there on the corporate ladder being a firm partner. In the industry, you would be in the senior executive positions which could also be a CFO (Cheif Financial Officer) role depending on the size of the company.
By this stage, your earning would be extremely varied. It will totally depend on what type of career decisions you made in the previous years. There would be people earning in crores, while there could be some who have lost their careers altogether. But on average, you can expect 25 to 30 lakhs in income if all went well.
The End or the Declining Phase of your career – Experience above 30 years
This is the phase close to your retirement age. Being a partner can have you earning 50 lakhs or even more in regular income. Your client base and your name would be known widely amongst some big companies.
If you’re practicing and have been able to sustain for this long, most of your work would be done by juniors while you or your firm enjoys the reputation of having stayed in business through the ups and downs. The amount of money you earn here is going to depend on how you have worked through the times.
Important factors to consider:
- In-house CAs
Consulting firms or CA firms including the big 4, prefer to pay more to those candidates who’ve completed their internships or articleships from the same firm. In such cases, you might be able to skip the lower level in the hierarchy. Others will have to wait to get promoted.
- Company’s growth rate
Some companies grow really fast while some have stabilized and have a slow growth rate. This would be a deciding factor for how much money you’d earn in terms of annual appraisals and bonuses. When joining a firm, find one that is still in the growing stages and has good potential for growth in the future.
- Interview Approach
Did you get placed through campus interviews or had to go for a walk-in interview? This will decide your package too. Companies pay more to candidates selected in campus interviews because those are the universities which the companies want students from.
In walk-ins, you go in for the job and the firms have a lot of people who’re ready to work for lower pay. In this scenario, getting paid high is unlikely because an equally eligible candidate is willing to work for a lower salary. If you couldn’t get placed through campus interviews, make sure you have additional qualifications that would make the firm want you to be with them.
- Salary Breakdown Summary
So, after going through the text above, I’m sure you’d know that being a chartered accountant is a really rewarding career. Here’s the breakdown of salaries by experience and by the field for referencing in the future.
|Fresher (<1 year)||05 – 10 Lakhs|
|Establishment Phase (1 – 10 years)||10 – 15 Lakhs|
|Mid-phase (10 – 20 years)||18 – 20 Lakhs|
|Late Phase (20 – 30 years)||25 – 30 Lakhs (can be in crores if you find the right job position)|
|End Phase (30+ years)||50+ Lakhs|
The below table summarizes the salaries of freshers in a field. Refer to the table above and the text where we mention the average expected hikes and salaries as your experience grows.
|Practice||03 – 07 Lakhs|
|Consulting||08 – 14 Lakhs|
|CA Firm||04 – 10 Lakhs|
|Industry (incl. MNCs, startups and others)||Upto 25 lakhs based on the role|
Consider all the factors above because that would help your career start and grow faster.
Remember, payments will continue to be different for people based on multiple factors and you have no need to be disheartened for any reason. Keep upgrading your skills as Chartered accountancy is a great career choice and that you can very well earn a living. Once cleared, it is for certain, a step towards a bright financial future.