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Media Information
MBA's losing out to CA's as decision-makers

Published & Updated as on - 2010-05-13

AHMEDABAD: Chartered accountants, the nuts-and-bolts professionals in the world of finance, are scoring brownie points over suave MBA finance graduates as India Inc gets increasingly risk-averse in a post-slowdown environment.

Companies are focusing more on risk-compliance than pursuing ambitious targets as they recover from an 18-month economic downturn, paving the way for recruitment of more CA's, perceived to have core competence in financial matters.

Thus, CA's are currently being accepted as business leaders who could take up roles beyond auditing and financial management. While MBA's are being hired for purely sales, marketing or international trade functions, CA's are increasingly being looked upon as decision-makers.

“They are superior (to MBAs). CAs are already groomed for three years during articleship (training with auditors) and can start working from day one,” says a finance official at a top Indian company who did not wish to be named.

Further, with Corporate India getting cautious with salaries, CA's are gaining a natural edge. “If a company is unable to afford an MBA from a top B-School, it would rather hire a top CA than look for a management graduate from lower-rung B-schools,” says a global headhunter. A chartered accountant’s average salary is at Rs 6 lakh a month, while for MBA's, the figure is the minimum, says Nagesh Pinge, chief internal auditor at Tata Motors, who sees a growing preference for CA's when companies need better financial control. Loyalty also tilts the balance in their favour. MBA's, due to peer pressure, appear to constantly pursue higher salaries. CA's, on the other hand, are seen as less aspirational and stick to the job longer.

Apart from the stability factor, competence in financial matters, changing taxation regime and risk-aversion are playing in favour of CA's. “These days, we are recruiting more CA's and fewer MBA's. For higher positions like senior managers, we prefer a CA,” says Abhishek Tiwari, senior manager (HR) at KPMG. The global consulting firm is looking at recruiting 100-150 CA's during the current year in India. Tiwari, however, adds: “We cannot say MBAs are losing their charm, but increasingly, they aren’t preferred for a financial job.”

Compared to a two-year MBA curriculum, CA's go through a rigorous three-year curriculum. Since they understand balance-sheets the best, CA's are being hired for work other than the traditional audit, he points out. Says Vardhan Dharker, CFO of KEC International, a Rs 3,000-crore capital goods company: “I think CA's are as good as anybody else in taking decisions. There has been a change in the thinking over the past five years.”

Source: ET 12/4/10

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