Indeed, you can pursue multiple courses like CA, CS and CMA. All three at the same time even!
The question is, should you?
If you are doing just for the sake of having three prestigious degrees … well, it’s not worth it, and you’d probably flounder. But if you are passionate and want to gain insight into all facets of the profession, then it might be worth it. And the courses are closely related enough that you’d be able to make better, holistic decisions especially when acting as an adviser to companies. (You might want to look at our post that outlines some of the opportunities for each course.)
It’s also an excellent choice in terms of opportunities that would open up for you. You’ll stand out among your peers all other things being equal. This recognition may be very important – especially in the corporate sector.
However, it’s not easy pursuing a single course, let alone two or all three even! In the end, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether the amount of effort you’ll have to dedicate in pursuing multiple courses is worth it.
But if you do decide to take up the challenge, what’s the best way to tackle them? For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that you’ve just completed your 12th and attempting to pursue all three courses.
You can make some modifications to the illustrated path depending on your previous experience.
Our suggested route is as follows.
First, start with clearing the CA Foundation exam. Once you clear the exam, you’ll find that you’ve gained an exemption for CS Foundation. (Those who clear the CA Foundation exam need not pursue CS Foundation!).
So, in clearing CA Foundation and CA Intermediate, you are no longer required to take CS Foundation and CMA Foundation! 4 exams “cleared” for the “price” of two.
After finishing up with CA Intermediate, our advice is for you to clear CMA Intermediate. This is because there is a significant overlap in concepts between the two fields. Look at the CA Intermediate and CMA Intermediate syllabi for more details.
So that’s 3 exams cleared …
After this, you’ll need to look at how best to tackle practical training as all three courses have such requirements.
Now, here’s where you can modify your path depending on your interests. Our suggestion is for you to undergo CA Articleship training. This gives you the best scope and you can even gain an exemption from CMA practical training if you work in one of the relevant fields of practice! (Look at this post for information on exemptions for CMA Practical training).
If, however, you decide to focus on CS Articleship, you can do that too. In any case, the fastest route is for you to go for CA Articleship. We will assume that this is the choice you’ve chosen for our discussion below.
During your Articleship period, prepare for and complete the CS Executive exam. This will give you a broad scope of knowledge. You should also know that you should apply for permission from the ICAI Institute by filling up Form 112. This allows you to pursue other courses during your Articleship period. If you do not fill up this form, you will not be able to pursue and study for these other courses during your Articleship.
Once you have completed all the three final exams, find out if you are eligible for exemption from CS practical training. If not, you’ll have to undergo 1 year of training.
The flowchart below shows this suggested path: