Growth and prosperity of any entity be it the country as a whole or any business organization depends on the way the resources a its disposal are managed and utilized. This prosperity and growth in the business context has got tremendous importance in the backdrop of the globalized and competitive economy.
In the quest for growth, the managerial strategies have occupied the pivotal place. All managerial policies nd strategies deliver fruitful results only when these are backed up by a sound information system with the relevant and quality information. In this perspective the profession of the Cost and Management Accounting commands its place of pride. With its origin at the time of World War-II with the purpose of monitoring the cost-plus profit contracts of defence establishments, the occupation has acquired the place of an organized profession providing an yeoman’ service to business houses in particular and the society in general. This write-up intends to give some light to the prospective students beginning to venture into the field of Cost and Management Accounting profession.
What is cost and management accounting
Cost and management accounting is a tool which is used for the dual purpose of assisting the management in arriving at optimal decisions on the one hand and evaluating its performance in meeting the desired objectives on the other hand. The professionlas in this field use the secondary date generated by the accounting systems and makes analysis of these with the aid of advanced management accounting tools to present information of specific importance to the senior management of different levels. Determination of the cost of products and services of a business organization is the basic professional work of a cost and management accountant (CMA). The CMA advises the organization as to how to react to changes of prices of products and services in the face of stiff competition. In times of business slowdowns the skills of the CMAs are put to test. only the organization having sound cost and management accounting system are likely to service in this fiercely competitive market. The management of companies depends a lot on CMAs for advisory services on various diagnostic studies in capacity utilization, capital restructuring decisions, project appraisal, analysis of possible alternative course of action with financial implications and many more.
Entry requirements in the profession
The profession of the Cost & Management Accountants is regulated by the Costs & Works Accountants Act, 1959 and the Rules and Regulations framed there under. To regulate and facilitate the development of the profession in India the Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India was set up by the government of India as a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The management of the Institute is vested in the Central Council consisted of duly elected Members of the Institute. Four Regional Councils have been in operation at the Eastern, Southern, Northern and Southern India to make a contact point between the Institute and the Students & embers The Institute conducts the Cost Accountancy course for the potential candidates to enter into the profession. This is the only recognized qualification in India to practice as a Cost & Management Accountant.
The course is modeled to have three steps : Foundation Course, Intermediate Course and lastly the Final Course. There is appropriate blend of theory in different fields of corporate finances & corporate laws and case studies in the whole curriculum. The practical aspects of the course have been provided by way of internship under a senior practicing Member or an industrial concern. The brief description of three steps is as follows:
This is the entry level course and the minimum qualification is pass in 10+2 level exam. This course is meant to orient the students into the basic of this profession. The curriculum includes the following papers:
- Organization & Management Fundamentals;
- Economics & Business Fundamentals;
- Business Mathematics & Statistics Fundamentals;
The course is meant to introduce the fundamentals which a Cost and Management Accountant has to deal in his professional capacity. The whole panorama is placed to the students to incite a curiosity to know more and the increasing quest for the knowledge will be satisfied on step by another in the coming steps.
The course is designed into definite structures. For a student it is obligatory to register either for Postal Coaching or Oral Coaching. Oral Coaching facility is available only in the Regional Councils located in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi and also the selected Chapters. The Postal Coaching is preferred by most of the students. In this mode assignments are attached to each course materials. After completely studying the course materials the assignments are to be completed and sent to the Regional Council for evaluation. Once all the assignments are evaluated and passed as per the norms evolved by the Institute, the student is granted the Coaching Completion Certificate (CCC). On the strength of the CCC, student can appear in the examination conducted twice in the month of June and December. Passing of the examination will render him/her eligible to register for the Intermediate Course.
After clearing the Foundation Examination, the student can register for the Cost Accountancy Course. Graduates from recognized Universities can directly register for Intermediate Course without undergoing the Foundation Course Registration is done only once and on registration, the student has to enroll for either postal coaching or oral coaching for the intermediate. At the Intermediate core subjects related to the profession are taught. The syllabus is very rigorous to turn out professionals who can venture into the most respected profession. The subjects are arranged into two groups as below:
Group – I
- Financial Accounting;
- Commercial & Industrial Laws and Auditing;
- Applied Direct Taxation
Group – II
- Cost & Management Accounting;
- Operation management & information System;
- Applied Indirect Taxes
Costing and management accounting is the ‘bread and butter’ of the Cost & Management Account. Rigorous coursework has been provided in these two subjects. Any accounting system is incomplete unless information system is not applied into it. Modern topics on information system are included in the syllabus.
Application of the managerial tools in the decision making in the taxation matters is give the students a completive edge. Corporate sector has to continuously plan for reducing the tax liabilities through effective tax planning. The case study method is adopted as a method of teaching. This will be of immense utility at the time when the students will be entrusted with decision making tasks in their professional capacity.
Along with the theoretical study, a student has to undergo practical training of three years under either a senior practicing cost accountant or an industrial house. A deed of training agreement has to be executed and registered with teh Institute. The training is meant to supplement the theoretical knowledge gained by the student in the practical set-up.
Like Foundation Course, the student has to complete the coaching, either Oral or Postal. On getting clearance, he/she can appear in the Intermediate Examination and on passing both the Groups progress to the next step begins.
After completing the formalities, the student is at the last step, the Final Course. The step where the professional subjects are taught and detailed efforts are made to improve the creative abilities of the students. Mostly the Final Course is the application of the concepts learnt during the last steps with advanced treatment. More emphasis is placed on the legal aspect which is all pervasive in the corporate sector and also its compliance aspects.
The total course is divided into two groups as below:
Group – III
- Capital Market Analysis & Corporate Laws;
- Financial Management and International Finance;
- Management Accounting Strategy Management;
- Indirect & Direct – Tax Management;
Group – IV
- Management Accounting Enterprise Performance Management;
- Advanced Financial Accounting & Reporting;
- Cost audit & Operational Audit and Ethics;
- Business Valuation Management.
The object of this course is to turnout expertise in the primary fields where the Cost & Management Accountants will be deployed. It is already stated that the Cost & Management Accountants are assisting as well as evaluating the performance of the management. the Final Course is intended to gain the acumen to deal with he complicated cases of capital projects, evaluation of alternatives, and also the consequences of choosing one alternative in terms of its tax implication, valuation of the firm and lastly the cost of pursuing the alternative vis-à-vis other ones. Also imparted are the topics which the professionals perform as a statutory duty in respect of the cost audit and other valued services.
Detailed case-study method is extensively used. Corporate events of international importance of the recent past are analyzed from different standpoints to make the students understand the nitty-gritty of the issue. In this matter, they gain the expertise to apply the theory in the organization they will be deployed in their professional capacity.
The method of teaching is same as the applicable to Intermediate Course. The student has to obtain Coaching Clearance certificate and then appear in the Examination.
After passing the Final Examination, the student has to undergo the practical training and assistantships. After gaining three years of experience, one can apply for the Associate Membership of the Institute.
Career Opportunities in Employment
Because of the highly analytical skill and the rigours training, the Cost & Management Accountants are hired by many big industrial houses. Initially they are inducted as Management / Account Trainees and after training they are placed at senior levels. It is not surprising to find many Members of the Institute occupying key positions like Chief Accounts Officer, Chief Financial Controller, Chief Internal Auditor; etc of reputed industrial and business houses.
Keeping in view the importance of the services of Cost & Management Accountants, Government of India constituted the Indian Cost Accounts Service (Central Group A Service) in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The incumbents are selected through the union Public Service Commission (UPSC) through open competition. Needless to say that the Membership of ICWAI is the only qualification for applying to these posts.
The academically oriented Members can pursue PhD in Commerce or Business laws and get appointments in the position of Faculty Members in Universities. a lot of Universities recognize the Associate ship of ICWAI as a qualification for registration of PhD and also for appearing for the post of Lecturers. AICTE recognize the Fellow Membership as a qualification for appointment as Faculty in Management.
Members can pursue courses from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, London. Members get exemptions from a number of papers in the Chartered Management Accountancy Course, This is one of the most respected qualifications globally. Again, the Members interested in internal auditing can pursue the course from the Institute of Internal Auditors, Florida. A lot of exemptions are provided to the Members of ICWAI. Globally respected professional bodies are now extending the concession on a reciprocal basis. The future is very bright for those cost accountants who want to expand their base to a global level and want to excel in their endeavour to become a global player.
Career in Practice
As a practitioner, the sky is the limit for Cost & Management Accountants. The main areas of practice are detailed below:
1. Career Cost Audit : Cost Audit is a statutory work under Section 2333-B of the Companies Act, 1956. Government of India has framed Cost Accounting (Records) Rules for companies engaged in a host of industrial activities. The list of such industries is growing year after year. By notification, the ambit of statutory cost audit is being increased. Again, many progressive companies are voluntarily hiring Cost Accountants for cost audit because of the immense benefit from it. The time is ripe for the cost accountants to catch hold of this opportunities.
2. Stock Audit : This is a verification service for the commercial banks. Commercial banks provide working capital loans to business house on the pledge of its stock-in-trade. In order to secure the interest of the bank, cost auditors are empane-led to carry out stock audit on a quarterly basis. In almost all the commercial banks, panels are maintained and as per work in hand, assignments are given.
3. Audit of Cenvat Credit and Special Audit : This is a statutory service under Sections 14A and 14AA of the Central Excise Act, 1944. Chief Commissioner of Cost Accountants for assignment of audit of Cenvat credit availed by assesses and special audit for excise purpose. These two types for audit are ordered under Sections 14A and 14AA of the Central Excise Act, 1944 when the Assessing Officer is not satisfied with the return filed by the assesses and when there is complicacy in the accounts which requires detailed examination by expert. More recently, the Central Excise Department is hiring the services of Cost Accountants for desk audit on a retainer basis.
4. Specific Recognitions : Recognition has been conferred upon the Cost Accountant in Practice to represent the case before the quasi-judicial authorities like the Company Law Board; Income Tax Appellate tribunal; Central Excise, Customs & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT etc. After specialization on a particular field of law, cost accountants can provide value added services to the clients.
5. State Sales Tax Laws : Value Added Tax laws of most of the States recognize the Cost Accountant for the purpose of audit of records of the assesses. They also recognize the professional for appearing on behalf of the assesses before the Commissioner (Appeal) or the Appellate Board / Tribunal. because of the rigorous training and the analytical capabilities of cost accountants, they are in a position to serve the clients in a cost effective fashion.
6. Miscellaneous Assignments : The cost accountants are in a position to offer diverse range of services like preparation of feasibility reports for a project, documentation for loan under different schemes of Financial Institutions, management consultancy in respect of specific managerial decision making, preparation of effective cost accounting system, implementation of the compliance set-ups, etc. In fact, the scope is increasing. For an aspirant, the sky is the limit.
For details about the course and the profession, prospective students can get in touch with the Regional Councils / Headquarters of the Institute as given below :
Head Quarters :
The Institute of Costs & Works Accountants of India,
12, Sadder Street, Kolkata – 750016,
Ph- (033) 2252-1031 to 35
Website : www.myicwai.com
East Indian Regional Council :
The Institute of Costs & Works Accountants of India
84, Harish Mukherjee Road
Kolkata – 700025
Ph – (022) 2455-3418 / 2455-5957
West Indian Regional Council
The Institute of Costs & Works Accountants of India
“Rohit Chambers”, 4th Floor Janmabhoomi Marg, Fort
Mumbai – 400001
Ph – (00) 2287-2010/2284-1138
North India Regional Council
The Institute of Costs & Works Accountants of India
3, Institutional Area, Lodi Road
new Delhi – 110003
Ph – (011) 2462-2156/2461-8645
Southern India Regional Council
The Institute of Costs & Works Accountants of India
4, Montith Lane, Egmore,
Chennai – 600008
Ph – (044) 2855 – 4443/2855-4326