A realist’s guide to whether BAF aids with CA
What is BAF?
BAF/B. Com (A&F) i.e. Bachelor of Accounting and Finance/ Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance is an undergraduate programme which was introduced by the University of Mumbai in the year 2003-04. It is a 3-year self-financing degree course spread across six semesters i.e. two semesters a year, focusing on the domains of Accounting and Finance. It also provides opportunities to gain a broader insight into the financial aspects of Business and Management.
The objective of introducing this course was to enable self-employment and provide skilled professionals in the field of Accounting & Finance to organizations. A blend of Interaction, Presentations, Projects, Industrial Visits and Practical Training is used to build the skillset of BAF students to enable them to produce innovative solutions to problems, apply research skills to business challenges and communicate effectively. BAF will aid you in the process of acquiring knowledge in the areas of Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Economics, Business Law, Business Communications and IT.
What is CA?
Chartered Accountant, commonly referred to as CA, is a title which is an internationally recognised professional designation; the certified public accountant designation is generally equivalent to it. Chartered accountants work in all fields of business and finance, including auditing, taxation, financial and general management. Some are engaged in public practice work, others work in the private sector and some are employed by government bodies.
CA exams in India are conducted by ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) and requires clearing the Foundation Course (formerly CPT, IPCC and Final CA. A BAF graduate, can directly appear for IPCC which has 2 groups. After clearing one of the groups, you will have to register for articleship under an experienced CA for a period of two and a half years. After clearing both the groups of IPCC and articleship, you can appear for Final CA, which also has 2 groups, on clearance of which you become a CA.
How long does it take to prep for the infamously hard-to-crack CA Exams?
Quite frankly this time varies from person to person. Some students have higher and faster retention while some don’t but that doesn’t mean that these students can’t clear the exams; it just means that they need to start prep earlier. For the first level (CPT), a 2-3 month long crash- course is often considered as an adequate amount of prep by most of the professors who train students to crack these competitive tests. With IPCC, a 6-month prep-time is what is recommended for both the IPCC levels. Both the CA Final groups usually require around 8 months of prep.
How similar are BAF and CA?
There are some striking similarities between the two. Obviously, the core subjects are the same with Accounting and Finance being key subjects in both, there are also some smaller similarities like Taxation, Auditing, Business Law, Business Communication. BAF is also very concise at hands-on learning with subjects like Information Technology in Accounting which is very helpful during the articleship period after clearing the IPCC examinations. BAF also gives a much more complete look at accounting and graduate is fit to become an accountant if not a Chartered Accountant, becoming one will just mean another feather in the cap, more icing on the cake.
We spoke to Rithik Shetty, an FYBAF student at Bunts Sangha’s College of Commerce, Science and Management Studies-one of Mumbai’s top colleges for BAF, who also aspires to become a CA. Here’s what he had to say, “For someone looking at a career as a Chartered Accountant whilst pursuing a graduate degree or after their graduation, BAF is a great choice. At least, that’s what I personally believe.”
He then let us into his psyche saying, “BAF’s theory subjects like Business Environment and FC (Foundation Course) are more or less of no good from the CA Entrance point-of-view but Accounting subjects are a huge plus point. Auditing and accounts are certainly very helpful for the IPCC exams. BAF has the ability to build a great base for your IPCC and CA Final examinations. BAF also buys me time, I can skip the Foundation Course and directly give the IPCC exams and this also keeps other options open for me in case I want to venture out into other streams. For someone who has cleared IPCC group 1 and 2 and is looking at doing an articleship, now has to juggle between both his/her college-which has a very stern and strict rule on attendance and his/her articleship, this lapse is a great disadvantage which could’ve been avoided if the student was enrolled in B. Com.B. Com is a lot more similar to what the Foundation Course Exam is. BAF is a very intense version of B. Com which is a massive disadvantage to someone who is trying to pursue both CA and BAF instead of B. Com. BAF is not a very widely recognized graduate degree which poses a lot of drawbacks for someone who is looking to get a job which is not in the conventional array of jobs that are usually associated with BAF.”
To answer the central question: Yes, you can do your CA with BAF. And yes, BAF will be a great way to kill two birds with one stone. And that’s also what being a CA is all about, getting the most out of the least.