What Is A Chartered Accountant and How To Become One

Managing finances, assets, taxes, and other financial obligations is a crucial task. Its scope of work is broad; that a single brain is not enough to monitor, manage, and arrange everything related to finances. Many companies, organisations, and individuals hire accountants to do the work for them.

Accountants depending on their focus, have expertise in every area of finances, from taxes to investments. That is why accountancy remains one of the most in-demand careers today. The need for accountants never wavers, especially with a robust economy.

That is why many people seek a chartered accountant course in Singapore to gain an advantage in the industry. In Singapore, an aspiring Chartered Accountant needs to meet the primary qualificationbefore getting the designation.

If you are looking for answers on how to become a Chartered Accountant in Singapore, this article is for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chartered Accountants


What Is Accountancy?

Accountancy is the comprehensive practice of managing, classifying, recording, interpreting, and reporting business transactions of a company, organisations, and individuals.

People who practise accounting are called accountants. The transaction and financial reports prepared by accountants are used to evaluate the financial status and capacity of the client and provide monetary forecasts.

The primary tasks of accountants can be divided into three categories: recordation, classification, and reporting.

Recordation is the process where accountants keep tabs on all business transactions, such as the issuance of invoices, recording receipts, payrolls, and other billings.

Meanwhile, classification is the process where accountants handle and manage the general ledger. The general ledger is the master compilation of all accounts with their summarised business transaction. The general ledger contains more crucial account information, including sales, expenses, debts, assets, liabilities and so on.

On the other hand, reporting is the process where accountants present financial reports and statements.

Financial accounting focuses on the records containing information such as financial status and cash flows. These reports are relevant to outsiders like investors and creditors.

Management accounting focuses on the records containing information such as revenues, expenses, and assets. These reports are relevant for internal use, like business operation analysis.

Singapore companies hire a Chartered Accountant bearing primary qualificationto perform these tasks.

What Is A Chartered Accountant?

A chartered accountant is a professional accountant who received the CA (Chartered Accountant) designation. CA is an international accounting designation given to accountants who have met theSingapore Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification.

The major step onhow to become a chartered accountant in Singaporeis earning the ICAEW qualification. What is the ICAEW qualification? ICAEW or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales offer ACA qualification programmes for aspiring chartered accountants.

Within the programme, accountants undergo in-depth training and meticulous examinations in different areas of accounting and auditing for three to five years. Accountants who have finished the ACA qualification programme are granted the internationally recognised CA, FCA, and ACA designation.

What Is The Difference Between Chartered Accountants and Regular Accountants?

The title CA, FCA, or ACA bears a gravity to the accountant. Accountants who took and successfully completed the Chartered Accountant course in Singapore can provide more specific accounting services, including corporate finance, financial management, personal financial advice, and forensic accounting.

CAs are bound by the ethical codes of the governing body they are a member of, for example, the ICAEW.

Many companies, organisations, and individuals see accountants who have completed the ICAEW modules and programmes in Singapore as more fitted and adequate for the job than regular accountants who finished an accounting degree.

CAs may have a more competitive salary than regular accountants and can practise accounting in different countries that recognise the designation.

What Are The Differences Between Chartered Accountants and Certified Public Accountants?


Chartered Accountants (CA) are accountants who have met, completed, and passed the chartered accountant course and exams in Singapore provided by the ICAEW or Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. There are other accounting bodies that grant this international designation as well.

On the other hand, Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are accountants who have met, completed, and passed the certified accountant course and exams in Singapore provided by several accounting bodies.

CA and CPA are both internationally recognised designation granted to qualified accountants. Having one of either designation gives the accountant a career advantage and opportunities. Both qualifications allow accountants to work with bigger brands, businesses, and organisations as well as overseas.

The differences that make these designations distinct from each other are the governing bodies that grant the designation, educational, exam and experiential requirements.

●      Regulatory Bodies

Firstly, CPA is granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). AICAP administers the CPA exams.

On the flip side, CA is granted by several governing bodies or regulatory boards, depending on the country. In Singapore, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) offers the ACA programmes and administers the CA exams.

●      Education and Examination Requirements

Secondly, the educational qualification for CPA, depending on the regulatory board, is a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, or finance. Experiential qualification for CPA is two or more years of professional experience in accounting. The accountant must pass the CPA exam to be eligible for the designation.

On the other hand, the educational qualification for CA is a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, or finance. The accountant must complete theICAEW six exam modules in Singaporeto receive a qualification certificate. Once the accountant possesses the qualification certificate, they can now proceed to study thechartered accountant course in Singaporeor the ACA programme and be eligible for the ACA exams. Chartered accountant aspirants may also need accounting experience.

●      Time of Completion

It takes a person to complete a certified public accountant course a year or less. A one-year professional accounting experience is needed to gain a CPA licence.

Meanwhile, it takes a person at least two to five years to complete a chartered accountant course in Singapore. A three-year accounting experience is also needed to gain a CA licence.

●      Career Path

Lastly, when it comes to the responsibilities and career path, CAs focus more on complex areas of accounting, such as taxation, auditing, corporate finance, and corporate laws.

On the flip side, CPAs focus on internal and external auditing, forensic accounting, consulting services, and taxation and financial planning.

Benefits Of Having ACA Certification


Many accounting students and accountants choose to take the CA course and examination despite the time, effort, and money the process demands to complete theSingapore Chartered Accountant qualificationand gain the certification. The benefits and significance of this designation to the career outweigh the sacrifices and hardships of aspiring chartered accountants.

Career Development

Before proceeding to the 15ICAEW exam modules in Singapore to gain the certification, the accountant has to undergo in-depth training and lessons to test the skills, gain experience, and refine the ability of the aspiring chartered accountant.

From the Chartered Accountant course in Singaporealone, the accountant gains a lot of relevant experience and advanced education. The ACA programme covers broad, complicated accounting fields. During the programme, the accountant obtains ideas of which area to specialise or focus on after achieving the ACA certification.

Demand and Opportunities

ACA certification is an internationally recognised designation, meaning chartered accountants can work with ease overseas. The CA certification is like your key to the international doors of opportunities.

If you are askingwhat is the other advantage of the ICAEW qualification, adding to the list is the trusted brands.

Many companies and renowned global and local brands prefer hiring accountants with ACA certification. Chartered accountants are more likely to be hired by companies than regular accountants because of their skills, experience, and expertise, making them more qualified for the job.

At the same time, regulatory boards such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants In England and Wales (ICAEW) is a trusted name by the leading global brands in the industry. Being a member alone gives a heavy bearing on the resume.

Flexibility and Agility

Since the scope of theChartered Accountant course in Singaporecovers many areas of accounting, it is only natural for chartered accountants to gain a firm grasp and mastery of these significant accounting fields.

The in-depth technical knowledge chartered accountants achieve through the programme makes them more flexible to any tasks they are given and agile to the challenges they may face. Chartered accountants are expected to work efficiently in any discipline and accounting field they are assigned to.

Salary and Rewards

The prime advantage of a chartered accountant over a regular accountant is the salary. The average salary package for a chartered accountant is significantly higher than an ordinary accountant. The average rates continue to skyrocket over the years as well. The experience, expertise of the accountant, plus the international stature the certification possesses, drives the salary rates of the chartered accountants.

What is the effect of ICAEW qualificationon job rewards? Apart from stable or increasing average rate salaries, leading global brands are more likely to retain and promote accountants possessing the certification than those without the designation.

Professional Independence

Because of their expertise, in-depth training, relevant experience, and technical knowledge, there are chartered accountants who choose to build their own businesses and companies. Some opt to start their accounting firms and provide numerous accounting services.

Professional independence is another route to take for accountants with Singapore Chartered Accountant qualification. The certification builds the credentials for starting a company and proves the ability and capability of the accountant to business leadership.

Now that you know what a chartered accountant is and the benefits ACA certification gives to the accountant, the only remaining question is; do you have what it takes to be a chartered accountant in Singapore?

How To Become A Chartered Accountant in Singapore


Believe it or not, becoming a chartered accountant in Singapore starts at the university. If you are keen on your accounting career path in the future, you should prepare for it as early as high school. Here is yourhow to become a chartered accountant in Singaporeguide.

Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

The first step in becoming a chartered accountant is to finish an accounting degree in Singapore. There are many accounting bachelor’s programmes in Singapore. These bachelor degrees are in accountancy, accounting and finance, and business administration. Many colleges and universities offer these programmes.

Gain Apprenticeship

Before obtaining a bachelor’s accounting degree, one thing you must do is to gain experience. Before you become eligible for aSingapore Chartered Accountant qualification, an accountant must have more than a year of accounting experience. Much better to work in a company that has CA who will supervise and mentor you.

Choose A Career Path

There are many paths to take after achieving your accountancy degree, yet the crucial tasks are only handed to chartered accountants or accountants with significant experience and skills. Fortunately, there are companies that encourage and support their regular accountants to take the ACA programme or thechartered accountant course in Singapore.


The ICAEW CFABis the stepping stone to ACA qualification. There are accounting students who choose to complete the ICAEW Certificate in Accounting, Finance, and Business (CFAB) while taking their undergrad degrees. Others take the ICAEW CFAB after graduating.

Take and Pass The ACA Programme

Only those who have completed the ICAEW CFAB programme can take the ACA programme. If the accountant passed all ACA exams and met all the requirements, they are now qualified to become chartered accountants.

The path to becoming a chartered accountant is not easy. It requires time, money, discipline and effort. However, the benefits of achieving this internationally recognised designation are highly rewarding career-wise compared to the hardships the programme demands during the process. It opens many career opportunities in Singapore and abroad. It also builds your credentials and proves you are capable of professional independence.

Unleash your potential and be an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. ICAEW Chartered Accountants are highly recognised around the world.  Get the best opportunities in the industry with ICAEW. Visit ICAEW today.