The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is the second largest cost and management accounting body in the world and the largest in Asia, having approximately 5,00,000 students and 75,000 members globally. The institute’s president CMA Amit Anand Apte spoke to BE about the organisation’s role in the career opportunities in cost accountancy.
Q. What comprises a CMA course and why should a student consider a career in cost accounting?
A. The cost accountancy course comprises of three stages, i.e., foundation, intermediate, and final. A graduate is exempted from foundation examination but he has to undergo a mandatory training for three years in an organisation. CMA curriculum is based on four knowledge pillars – management, strategy, regulatory function and financial reporting. Students may be admitted for foundation course after 10+ or equivalent whereas for intermediate course, students need to pass senior secondary school examination (12+) and the foundation course of the institute. Nowadays, the profession of conventional accounting and auditing has taken a back seat, and CMAs are increasingly contributing towards efficient utilisation of resources. This has opened up huge employment opportunities for cost accountants in India and abroad.
Q. What are the career options for students completing the cost accounting programme?
A. CMAs can work in the domains of cost and management accounting, financial/ business analysis, internal audit, direct and indirect taxation, valuation, process analysis, systems analysis, ERP system implementation and strategy. CMAs have employment opportunities in public and private sectors, regulatory bodies, educational institutes, and independent professional practice.
Q. In what ways has the GST widened scope for CMA professionals?
A. CMA with his academic knowledge and professional expertise can play a crucial role as a consultant and a catalyst for due compliances of law relating to Goods and Services Tax to the general business community and spread tax-literacy and GST awareness. A CMA is well equipped to assist the business entities in providing assistance towards GST registration, claiming tax credits, ensuring all the necessary legal compliances, procedural formalities and other administrative follow ups. We, the CMAs, are recognised to make representations before the Appellate Tribunals under the Indirect Taxation statutes in India.
Q. How was the last placement session? Have you seen any shift in placements or the nature of companies which are registering for campus placements now?
A. The institute has recently organised its campus placement drives. Overall 85 companies visited the campus which included ONGC, MECON, NLC, BEML, L&T, TATA Motors, TATA Projects, Vedanta and many others. The highest salary package offered nationally is Rs. 18 lakhs per annum and the average CTC offered is around Rs. 7.5 lakhs per annum. Out of the placed candidates, more than 15% of the candidates were selected in the top salary bracket of Rs. 10 lakhs or more per annum. We are very pleased with the kind of response we have been receiving from corporate houses across India. There has been a steady rise in interest from PSUs and other companies.
Q. What is the role of cost audit and how is it beneficial? How does your institute help towards policy making?
A. Cost audit helps the government to fix price of the contract and of selling prices of essential commodities in order to check undue profiteering. It helps to focus attention on inefficient units and decide in favour of giving protection to certain industries and to facilitate settlement of trade disputes brought to the government. Cost audit enhances the operational efficiency of industries by focusing on wastages, losses, inefficiencies and idleness in capacity utilisation. Cost audit also helps to plan and control stocks, evaluate production processes and enterprise performance and help to increase the competitiveness of an industry. Cost audit is introduced for the purpose of fixation of price. The price so fixed, are based on the correct costing data and so, the consumers are saved from exploitation and price increase by the industry is not allowed without proper justification.
Our institute has been involved in providing inputs on cost and management accounting to the government in various sectors such as health care, airports, infrastructure and education. The government is concentrating on education and health, agriculture and food processing and infrastructure sectors in order to boost the economy and investments. We are well prepared to play a due role in all these sectors by providing vital inputs to the government in their efforts.
Q. What are the major initiatives taken by your institute regarding skill development and entrepreneurship?
A. A path-breaking MOU had been signed in 2015 by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India with National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) to enable the offering of various collaborative activities to promote and encourage skill and entrepreneurship development in India. The institute is also associated with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI), Gujarat, for promoting entrepreneurship and skill development through education, teaching, training, research, publications, knowledge generation, conducting workshops, seminars, and by managing various MSME development projects.