shahwar kibria catches up with Manas Thakur to weigh the pros and cons of pursuing a Certified Accounting Technician course

For those falling short of pursuing a Chartered or Certified Management Accountant course, the Certified Accounting Technician course might come across as a viable option. Manas Thakur, central council member of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, foresees this course as a pretty decent alternative if you’re keen on entering the world of accounting. Excerpts:

What is this course all about?
It is a short-term employment oriented course in accounting that has been designed keeping in mind the guidelines of the Union ministry of corporate affairs. Being a one-year course, it is divided into two levels — foundation and competency. Students who clear their higher secondary examinations are eligible to apply for this course. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India is authorised to conduct the course across India through their recognised oral coaching centres, including one in Kolkata. The fee is Rs 8,600.

How different is it from a chartered accountancy or company secretary course?
Cat is a basic entry-level course that edifies students who are unable to become certified management or chartered accountants. This course is directly designed for society.

Does a Cat certification keep you at par with a chartered accountant or company secretary? How return-oriented is it?
This certification may not be at par with a CA or CS, but its curriculum is designed to make students professionally employable and eligible to pursue higher studies. After this certification, a candidate can explore jobs in knowledge and business processing outlets, malls, health centres and panchayats.
Can it secure employment abroad? And what about placements?
After this course a student becomes professionally employable and well equipped to meet the demands of the industry. In order to get employment abroad it is important for students to pursue costing, CA or CS. The rate of placement is very high in smallscale and ancillary units, micro, small and medium enterprises, knowledge process outsourcing, business process outsourcing and more.

Who is eligible to pursue this course?
Students can get themselves registered for the course after clearing the Class X examinations. But they can only appear for the exams after clearing the +2 level. It is mandatory for all students to complete the foundation part in the course.

How and where can students prepare for this course? Does one need to enrol in tuition centres?
Students can enrol in any of the recognised oral coaching centres under the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, which has a tie-up with industries for facilitating student internships. It also links students aspiring for higher studies in accounting with the CMA course of the institute. However, it is difficult for students to prepare all by themselves.

Can students pursue this course simultaneously with other professional courses?
Yes, it can be pursued with other full-time courses. The course timings – after school and weekend classes — enable  students to pursue this in tandem with school and university studies.