CA vs CFA: Which one is Better? Eligibility, Difficulty, Salary

ca vs cfa

As a commerce student, by now you’d obviously have asked yourself – What do I choose between CA and CFA? 

With both fields being equally appealing, promising, and in demand, there’s a lot to consider before you choose either.

By 2023, on average, more than 1 Lac students appear for the Chartered Accountancy (or CA) exam by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). It’s considered one of the best careers in India because of its demand and growth.

On the other hand, becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) opens you up to unique and global opportunities. 

So what do you choose? 

Let’s take a closer look at both CA and CFA in this post.

CA vs CFA - An Overview

CA is one of the most popular charters in India. The course of learning demands a lot of training, education, and hard work. 

CAs are expected to be involved in:

  • Accounting and auditing
  • Taxation
  • Financial Planning
  • Consultancy

Indian businesses rely a lot on CAs which explains why this field is so sought upon by candidates.

CFA, on the other side, has a higher learning curve as it requires candidates to put in a lot of hard work to complete all 3 levels. 

CFA is a professional designation that includes:

  • Financial Analysis
  • Securities Valuation
  • Investment analysis
  • Portfolio management
  • M&A and Consulting

Both CA and CFA hold a lot of value and regard in the Indian finance industry. Seeking a career in both these domains will provide a lot of career opportunities for you.

Now to help you choose the right domain for your career, here’s a detailed analysis of both these fields.

PerimeterCA CFA
AreasAccounting, Taxation, Financial Planning, and ConsultancyFinancial Analysis, Equity Credit, M&A, Portfolio Management, Consulting
OrganizerInstitute of Chartered Accountants of IndiaCFA Institute (USA)
Duration3 to 5 years (Avg)2-4 years (Avg)
Subjects20 subjects in 3 groups in totalA total of 10 subjects repeated over 3 levels
Exam PatternSubjectiveObjective and Essay (L3)
Average pass percentage in IndiaMore than 11% in 2023Level 1: 37% Level 2: 40% Level 3: 48% in 2023
Difficulty levelWith an average pass rate of 20%, it can roughly take 4 yearsOver 36% pass rate for Level 1 CFA
Career OptionsAuditing, Taxation, Bookkeeping, Accounting & Finance, etc.Financial Analysis, Equity and Credit,  Portfolio Management, Private Wealth Management
Hiring firmsAll firms across all industriesMNCs, Banks, Investment companies, Research & Consulting firms

CA vs CFA - Eligibility Criteria

As both fields have their respective parameters, there are also different eligibility criteria for each. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Undergraduate students need to have cleared their 10+2 exams.


  • At least 50% aggregate in class 12 exams.


  • Commerce graduates need a minimum of 50% aggregate.


  • Non-commerce graduates need a minimum of 60% aggregate.


  • Candidates should take the mandatory exams for the course such as CPT.
  • The CFA program has no upper age limit.


  • Candidates need to have a minimum of 4000 hours of work experience.

CA vs CFA - Responsibilities and Salary

  • Provide accounting services to clients.
  • Prepare and file tax returns for clients or businesses.
  • Conduct auditing for companies.
  • Manage financial records and statements for clients.
  • Assist businesses and clients to obtain and manage funds.
  • Keep clients up to date with tax laws and accounting standards.
  • Conduct research and analysis of financial data.
  • Provide investment recommendations to clients.
  • Manage investment portfolios for clients and companies.
  • Help companies and clients understand their financial objectives and other factors like risk tolerance.


Since Chartered Accountants branch into different domains, the approximate salaries across these domains also vary.

  • Accountant – 6 to 8 LPA
  • Consultant – 6 to 9 LPA
  • Tax Auditor – 6 to 9 LPA
  • Investment Banker – 5 to 9 LPA
  • Management Accountant – 9 LPA

Much like CA, Chartered Financial Analysts also have multiple career directions with different salary ranges. Here’s an approximate breakdown of CFA salaries:

  • Research Analysts – 7 to 15 LPA
  • Finance Analyst – 6 to 12 LPA
  • Credit Analyst – 6 to 12 LPA
  • Portfolio Manager – 7 to 15 LPA
  • Equity Research Associate – 5 LPA

CA vs CFA - Training and Certifications

Both CA and CFA can open multiple career options for you in the future. 

However, both require rigorous hard work, practice, and necessary training.

In fact, when it comes to training for both domains, there are certain similar ways to give yourself a headstart:

  • Start preparing early
  • Create a personalized learning roadmap
  • Keep on practicing mock exams and interviews
  • Consult professionals and join learning groups
  • Build your skills with certifications and training programs

To build your skills in both of these career options, you need to work on building your skills and knowledge as part of your preparation.

A good understanding of your preferred field can give you a lot of advantages when it comes to landing a job or applying to different companies. 

At CFI, we have curated a comprehensive CFA Level 1 Certification for you to get a deeper understanding of CFA and understand what it takes to clear the CFA Level 1 Exam.


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