The Journey from CA to CPA: Exploring the Transition Process

Are you a Chartered Accountant (CA) with a degree from India who intends to relocate to the United States or want to get better job opportunities in top MNCs? Are you unsure how CA and US CPA credentials would benefit you? We'll cover detailed information and analysis and the steps an Indian CA must take to become a US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the United States of America. After completing CA, there are certain steps to take to become a CPA professional.
Let's see the aspects of the transition from a CA to CPA.

Are the Indian CA and the US CPA equivalent?

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are qualified individuals in India who are licensed to practice taxation and accounting. They are qualified to give tax advice to customers, audit accounts, and provide truthful data on financial records since they are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
A US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional with a job description resembling a Chartered Accountant in the US. A US CPA also needs a license to work. Fundamentally, US Certified Public Accountants and Chartered Accountants (CAs) are qualified accountants; they simply go by different position names in different countries. However, their work profiles are just slightly different. While a CPA USA deals with accounting costs, a chartered accountant's duties include auditing and taxation.
Even though Chartered Accountants are highly sought-after, trained professionals, holding a CPA is an extra certification to their advantage. Because it improves their qualifications and offers them an advantage over their competitors, many candidates opt for CA to CPA.

How does one become a CPA?

For someone who already has their CA certification, the procedure of CA to CPA is simple. The only condition is to pass the dedicated CPA certification exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

General Steps That Should Be Taken for CA to CPA

Eligibility Criteria - Being a CPA is a little challenging if you only have a B.Com and a CA certification. The CPA recognizes the CA certification as 40 US education credits in several US states. You can combine the 3-year B.Com (equivalent to 90 credits) and a CA (formerly equivalent to 40 credits) to meet the 120 credits needed to take the exam in most states. Once they have earned the required 150 credits for a US CPA license, they might enroll in a couple of additional classes. However, some states demand that applicants complete a minimum of 150 college credits before sitting for the test; in that case, you're good to go for CA to CPA if you fit any of the following descriptions:
  • B.Com + MCom/MBA equalling 150 credits
  • B.Com + CA/CS/CWA equalling 150 credits
CPA License Requirement - To be granted a US CPA license, the applicant must pass the 4 Es:
  1. Education - In general, many states need 150 credits from a university or NASBA-accredited college in a set of required courses.
  2. Exam - The applicant must pass the CPA exam's single level 4 paper.
  3. Experience - Must be at least 18 years old, with 2,000 hours in taxation, auditing, accounting, and management consulting experience.
  4. Ethics - A candidate may additionally need to pass the state ethics test in several US states.
Send the Transcripts for the Admission Review - An established reviewing body must confirm your academic record before you sit for the CPA exam if you decide to go from CA to CPA. The state board will receive the evaluation findings from your evaluators and contact you to certify your eligibility after receiving them.
Application Procedure - You can submit an online application through CPA Central if you want to take the exam in a jurisdiction that is supported by NASBA's CPA Examination Services (CPAES). Follow the rules established by your board of accountancy for jurisdiction-specific requirements.
Pay Application & Examination Fee - Two different kinds of exam-related fees must be paid, either to your board of accountancy, the one it has designated, or to NASBA.
  • The application fee is set by your board of accountancy or its approved agent and must be paid to them.
  • You can pay the examination fee to NASBA, your board of accountancy, or one of those three.  
Get Your Notice to Schedule - When your application has been reviewed, you become qualified to take one or more parts of the Uniform CPA examination. When you have paid all applicable fees for the CPA USA exam, NASBA will issue you a Notice to Schedule (NTS). You will get one NTS, which will let you know which parts of the exam you've been approved for and let you get in touch with Prometric to start the scheduling procedure. In the states that offer online score viewing, you will need your NTSs examination section identification number to see your results. Until you learn the results, hold onto your NTS. After you take the exam, your NTS cannot be duplicated.
Schedule the Exam - The US CPA exams are given four times yearly. After completing all the steps mentioned above, a candidate must schedule their exam according to their preparation and convenience. The following are the quarter alternatives that are open to the candidates:
  • Quarter 1 January 1 to March 10
  • Quarter 2 April 1 to May 31
  • Quarter 3 July 1 to September 10
  • Quarter 4 October 1 to December 10
Your exam will be scheduled successfully by Prometric, and you will receive an email confirmation. You are responsible for ensuring the email confirmation details match the stated date, time, and location. Previously, CPA candidates had to pay additional fees for flights and hotels since US CPA exams could only be taken in the United States. 
However, now that NASBA, AICPA, and Prometric have opened test centers in India, students will be able to take these exams there. So, the transition from CA to CPA is easier now.

Why Should You Become a US CPA?

The journey of CA to CPA offers a powerful combination. The US CPA course is more in-depth, covers a larger range of topics than the CA course, broadens students' horizons, and enhances their employment possibilities. CPAs know IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). These are acknowledged as international reporting standards.
The advantages of going into CPA after CA are listed below: 
  • Recognition - The ability to be recognized worldwide rather than just in India is one of the reasons a CA should pursue CPA.  
  • Global Opportunities - Obtaining the CPA certification can assist you in comprehending global accounting concepts and getting various CPA career opportunities. Your knowledge of this will provide you access to a wide range of possibilities, both inside and outside of India.
  • Higher Salary - Since there is a significant demand for professionals with foreign knowledge and competence in many fields in India due to industrialization and other factors, one would actually receive a higher salary for being a CPA.
  • Requirements for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) - Continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, which assist you in keeping updated with the most recent accounting practices and regulations, are another prerequisite for pursuing a US CPA after CA.


Q1. Is CPA better than CA?
Ans. It might be challenging to decide between CA vs CPA because both certificates offer successful careers. Choosing a US CPA certification course is your best bet if you want to work abroad or for an internationally-recognized company. If you want to start up your own auditing business in India, you may also earn a CA.
Q2. Which one is better, CA or CPA USA?
Ans. You can become a US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a Chartered Accountant (CA) by completing the required coursework and passing an exam. There is no better certification among these two. Both degrees, US CPA After CA, merely differ and serve different purposes. Given that the location, employment position, business, and work experience are the same, you may anticipate earning around the same amount of money with both qualifications.
Q3. What is a CPA's top salary?
Ans. An Entry Level or Fresher CPA makes roughly 7 Lakhs per year. The average pay might reach as much as 14 lakhs per year in major cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and others. Additionally, salaries for qualified CPAs vary from business to firm; if you work for one of the Big 4 MNCs, your income might range from INR 13 to 23 lakhs per year.
Q4. What is the difference between CPA and CA?
Ans. The US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) program requires a maximum of 12 months to complete, whereas the Chartered Accountant (CA) program requires an average of 4 to 5 years to complete. CA is evaluated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), and US CPA is evaluated and administered by the AICPA.
Q5. What are the disadvantages of being a CA?
Ans. While working as a CA, a person may encounter a variety of professional challenges:
  • A chartered accountant is required to work above 70 hours per week during the fiscal year.
  • The education and jobs in this industry are extremely competitive and demanding.
  • Since this job continually requires ongoing professional growth, becoming trained in it is a continuous process.  


Pursuing the US CPA After CA qualification might be advantageous if you're interested in working in the accounting industry in a nation where the CPA USA distinction is highly appreciated and well-recognized. You may increase your reputation and marketability to future employers as well as your knowledge and abilities in the subject of accounting.
You may pursue your CPA after CA  by choosing Northstar Academy as your learning partner. NSA offers students specialized study materials, video lectures, live sessions, and package discounts to keep the overall cost of their optimized CPA USA certification course cost low. You will gain from taking the CPA USA certification course provided by NSA in every manner, including the invaluable guidance of knowledgeable mentors like M. Irfat Sir.
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