Direct Entry or CA Foundation Route. Which is Better?

Direct Entry or CA Foundation Route. Which is Better?

Direct Entry or Foundation Route?

Choose the right option for you.


In our earlier blogs we’ve discussed the eligibility criteria for all the CA courses and how to register for each.

In this blog, we’ll be discussing your options and how to choose the one that suits you best. Admission into the CA course can be done in two ways:

  • Through Direct Entry into the CA Intermediate course
  • By doing the CA Foundation course first

Let’s understand the two in detail so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s go!

What is the Direct Entry Route?

Direct Entry route is an admission option for students who have already finished their graduation and are now looking to get into CA. By choosing this option, they can skip the first level of the CA course i.e. the Foundation course and seek admission directly into the CA Intermediate.

In order to opt for Direct Entry into the CA course, you must first fulfil at least one the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Commerce graduate/post-graduate (minimum 55% marks)
  2. Graduates in other subjects (minimum 60%)
  3. Passed the CS Executive exam
  4. Passed the CMA Intermediate exam

CA Inter Direct Entry

What is the CA Foundation route?

The CA Foundation course is the first step towards getting admission into the CA course at ICAI. Students who have recently completed their Secondary School Examination i.e. 10+2 or its central government equivalent, are eligible to take this exam.

You can also apply for the CA course – Foundation or Intermediate, while you are still awaiting your final exam results to get a head start.

Direct Entry Vs CA Foundation Route. Which is better?

There are many ways in which you can benefit from by enrolling directly into the CA Intermediate course as well as going through CA Foundation course first, provided you fulfil the eligibility criteria. Let’s look at some pros and cons of the two so that the choice becomes a little easier for you.

  1. If you are a commerce graduate, the Direct Entry option might be right for you because you are already well-versed in the basics of the subject and can make a smooth transition into the Intermediate course without much hassle. On the contrary, if you are not a commerce graduate and decide to skip the CA Foundation course, then you might have a difficult time adjusting to new concepts and methodologies.
  2. You won’t have to spend on the examination fee or the course fee for CA Foundation which could save you money.
  3. If you decide to seek direct admission into the CA Intermediate course, you have to go through a mandatory articleship for 9 months, prior to which you will need to go through a 4 week course known as ICITSS (Orientation Course and Information Technology) which could be quite a challenge and extra work. It would be easier to just seek admission into the CA Foundation course to begin with.
  4. If you’ve cleared the CA Foundation, CS Executive or CMA Intermediate courses, you will still need to go through an 8 month study period before you can appear for the exam.
  5. If you are graduate or post-graduate in any subject – commerce or non-commerce, you may still have some weak points that may need fixing. The CA Foundation course sets a strong base for your fundamentals and if you have that in place, the next steps become fairly easier.
  6. Doing your graduation first definitely gives you an edge over others. You can still go on to pursue the Intermediate course but apply yourself more with all your previous insight and experience. It won’t look bad on your CV either!
  7. If you decide to take the direct entry route, the compulsory Articleship might not be at the best place or at the place of your choice. Instead, if you join the Foundation course, then your option for better Articleships also increase. On the plus side, you will have had practical experience early in your career if you do the compulsory 9 month Articleship.
  8. This is a worse-case scenario but if you’ve graduated from college and for any reason fail to clear the CA exam or lose interest over the course of time, you will always have something to fall back on.
  9. If you have cleared CS Executive/CMA Intermediate, direct entry is the best choice for you because you would have already learned about the concepts taught in the CA Foundation course

So, have you decided on your options yet?

If you have, you can read about how to register for the CA Foundation exam or how to register for the CA Intermediate exam.

There you have it. There is no easy way or best way to pursue this course. There is only a right way and what’s right for you might not be right for other people. It’s all a matter of perspective. Whether you decide to take the Direct Entry route or the Foundation route, you will need an immense amount of motivation and require a great deal of hard work and dedication if you wish to excel.

Concluding Thoughts

In closing, we’d like to say that it’s always good to seek advice from someone who has already gone through this entire process – maybe your seniors or even your peers. You will gain a better understanding of what to expect from each option.

If you are a commerce graduate then we’d recommend the Direct Entry course but you’ve been warned. There is going to be a lot of extra work that you’ll need to put in, but it reaps rewards for sure.  It’s completely up to you to go that extra mile.

If you come from a non-commerce background, we highly recommend you do the CA Foundation course because it’s going to prepare you for what’s to come and help you understand the very core of Chartered Accountancy, and once you have that covered, it increases your mental ability to understand the broader concepts and more complex subjects.

Take a bit of time to weigh the pros and cons because once you’ve made the decision, there is no option of turning back. We hope we’ve helped in some way in making your choice.

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