Manash Pratim Gohain, Times of India

From just 8% in 2000, share of women CAs now 30%

A recent report posted in the Times of India revealed a significant rise in female Chartered Accountancy qualifiers, now making up 48% of pass-outs, a record high. The overall representation of women CAs has also surged to 30%, up from a mere 8% in 2000. Among the 8.63 lakh students, 43% are females. The outsourcing of accounting and auditing to India has opened up new opportunities.

NEW DELHI: Not only topping different levels of Chartered Accountancy exams, female aspirants now comprise a record 48% of the qualifiers or pass-outs. In the overall pool, women CAs now have a 30% share, making a massive jump from just 8% in 2000. In the student base of 8.63 lakh too, 43% are females.

Outsourcing of accounting & auditing to India bringing in new opportunities and average annual salary of Rs 12.5 lakh for a fresher, as well as the flexibility of pursuing the course and affordable cost of study, are big attractions.

Significantly, now there are more women toppers — four of six in the final and intermediate exams in 2020 and all toppers in both old & new course exams in 2021. Women candidates repeated their 2021 feat in next two years too.

Notably, 75 women aspirants have topped CA exams at different levels in the last decade.

In 2023, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India introduced a new course in sync with the National Education Policy, 2020. ICAI president Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal told TOI, "Participation of women in this profession in accountancy, tax and finance is increasing phenomenally."

"Chartered accountancy and financial sectors are poised for better growth in India than in countries with an aging population. India has emerged as the hub with most countries outsourcing their accounting work to us. If a burger is sold in US or UK, accounting is done in Gurgaon or Kolkata. And the attractive salary package - the average package here is Rs 12.5 lakh the moment you pass. Our highest package in the last campus placement was Rs 28 lakh and international package was Rs 49 lakh," he added.

In 2019, of the 2.91 lakh CAs, 73,807 were women, which rose to 1.2 lakh (out of 3.9 lakh) in 2023. It was 70,047 in 2018 and 64,685 in 2017.

A bigger marker is that increasing number of women are taking one of the toughest professional programmes in India. In 2023, of the total 8.63 lakh aspirants 43% were females, against 30% in 2019.

"Growing opportunities in accounting and auditing and return on investment of a five-year course costing Rs 75,000 is seen as biggest draw," Agarwal said.

"Young population in India is technologically-empowered, and that's why you can see that 47% of global digital transactions are happening in India, providing ample professional growth opportunities here," he said.

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