The bias against the Commerce Stream
Generally speaking, the commerce stream suffers from a great bias. Many students and parents consider commerce stream only suited for ‘not-so-smart’ students. Also, when compared to other streams, science is generally reserved for students with a technical or scientific bend of mind, while arts or the humanities discipline is suited to students who are interested in theoretical study and performing arts. On this front, commerce stream is deemed to be ideal for students who are comfortable with ‘crunching numbers’ and want to become accountants in the future. This is why many students believe that the scope of study under the commerce stream is limited, as compared to the other streams.
But these are mere generalizations and do not necessary hold true for commerce or any stream. The scope of the commerce stream ranges much more beyond mere number crunching or accountancy domain. There are a wide array of subjects and specialization and study options available to the students who join the commerce stream. Let’s discuss the same in detail below:
Key Subjects / Sub-domains
Despite the bias against the commerce stream, the popularity of this discipline has been growing exponentially during the last decade. Attribute it to the growing economy, professional career opportunities or the high scoring nature of the stream; many students have the commerce stream for their high school education and even after that. While traditionally, commerce stream was limited a few accountancy and economics related subjects, today it covers an array of subjects. The key among them include:
As a commerce student, you will have to deal with several financial and economic concepts; this is where the knowledge of economics will come into the picture. During your Class 11 and Class 12, you will deal with basics of economics, Indian economic development, statistics, introduction to microeconomics and macroeconomics. The key to cracking economics during your high-school is to develop a conceptual understanding of the subject and practice problems and numerical.
Like every stream, even commerce stream will have a compulsory language subject i.e. English in most cases. However, the economics that you learn in the commerce stream would be quite different from the other streams and will primarily focus on the basics of language including grammar, syntax, and vocabulary development. In addition to this you will also learn business communication and other aspects
Accountancy is the central subject of the commerce stream and will play a pivotal role during your high-school education. The subject would focus on the basics of accountancy and its theoretical process and financial accountancy, accounting standards, GST, recording of business transactions and other similar concepts in your Class 11. For Class 12, you would be dealing with accountancy for non-profit organizations, partnership firms, companies as well as analysis of cash flow statement and financial statements. Computerized accounting will also be part of your high-school education.
· Business Studies/Organisation of Commerce
Business studies or the organization of commerce is another critical subject for the commerce stream students during their high-school education. In class 11, topics will range from the nature and purpose of business, forms or types of business organizations, emerging business models, types of enterprises, social responsibility and business ethics, sources of business finance, small business, internal trade and international business. During the Class 12 your study topics will include basics of management principles, business environment, planning, staffing, organization, controlling, financial markets, financial management, marketing management and consumer protection.
Mathematics is an optional subject for the commerce students but is important if you want to build a career in the core accountancy or similar domains. The mathematics subject for commerce students includes study of relation and functions, algebra, calculus, liner programming, probability, vectors and matrices.
· Information Practices
Information Practices is another optional or elective subject for the commerce students which is to be picked by them depending on their interest. The subject deals with basics of computing and database management. It covers topics like business computing theory, programming and relational database management system.
Scope of Further studies
Another question that often keeps students away from the commerce stream is the perception that the scope of further studies in this stream is quite limited. However, this is a mere speculation and might have been true in a distant past. Today, the commerce stream has emerged as a study stream that is at par with the other two i.e. Arts and Science.
Degree Level Programmes
Commerce students can pursue a host of degree level programmes after the completion of their Class 12 high school education. The same have been discussed below.
B.Com stands for Bachelor of Commerce. It is a degree level course that is pursued by students who opt for commerce stream in Class 12. B.Com is the most popular degree level (3 year) course among the commerce stream students. During this course, students are taught fundamentals of accounting and finance beyond the basics that were covered during the high school education. The key subjects that are part of this course include:
- Corporate Accounting
- Business Regulatory Framework
- Computer Applications and IT
- Income Tax
- Human Resource Management
- Banking and Insurance
- Company Laws
- Business Communications
- Management Accounting
- Business Environment
· BBA / BMS
If management or MBA is your calling then BBA or BMS will be right career path for your after completing 12th commerce. The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) / Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) are degree level courses that are designed to introduce the students to the world of management education. While many BBA colleges offer admission on the basis of Class 12 score / merit, there are a few which require students to go through entrance exams.
· BA + LLB
If you are interested in Law or the legal studies, an integrated five year programme i.e. BA + LLB would be perfect for you. The integrated programmes covers your graduation degree during the first three years in the subject or specialization that you choose and during the final two years, you will be undertaking legal studies or education. This is another interesting study option for commerce students who want to specialize in law and their associated fields such as corporate law, taxation law and allied domains.
· BBA + LLB
Similar to the BA + LLB course, the BBA + LLB course is also an integrated fove year programmes which covers graduate level management education as well as legal studies post that. Students who want to join corporate houses as legal consultants or want to start their own practice with corporate clients should take up this course.
Computers and technology have come to rule our day-to-day life and therefore taking up BCA or Bachelor of Computer Application can be the right start for you to build a bright career ahead. BCA course is a three year degree level programme that is undertaken by students who want to learn coding and computer application development. Commerce students who had mathematics as a subject during their high-school are eligible to take up BCA course.
Commerce students also have a variety of professional courses that can shape their academic and professional future. There are several professional courses that are available to the students after the completion of Class 12 commerce. The key among them are:
Offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Chartered Accountancy is the most popular professional course among the commerce students. Being a professional course, it opens up several career opportunities for the students, starting from self-employment or self-practice as an independent CA or employment in major Indian and multi-national companies, local and foreign banks and audit firms.
As far as the course structure is concerned, the Chartered Accountancy Course includes the following modules:
Module 1: CPT – Common Proficiency Test:
This test covers the basic knowledge of key subjects such as Accounts
Module 2: IPCT – Integrated Professional Competence Course
This course has two parts and covers a variety of subjects and topics
o Part 1 incudes:
.Costing & Financials Management
o Part 2 includes:
.Auditing & Assurance
Module 3: Articleship / Training
oIn this module, the students taking up CA course have to take up an internship under a practicing Chartered Accountant
oStudents can learn the practical aspects related to Chartered Accountancy as a profession during this training
Module 4: CA Final Exam
The fourth and the final module to become a certified professional Chartered Accountant involves clearing the final exam. The CA final exam covers 8 subjects that are divided into two groups. The detailed breakup of the subjects covered under both the groups are:
o CA Final Exam – Group I
.Strategic Financial Management
.Advanced Auditing & Professional Ethics
.Corporate Law & Allied Laws (includes two sections)
Section A: Company Law
Section B: Allied Laws
o CA Final Exam – Group II
.Advanced Management Accounting
.Information systems Control and Audit
.Direct Tax Laws
.Indirect Tax Laws (includes three sections)
Section A: Central Excise
Section B: Service Tax & VAT
Section C: Customs
Company Secretary is another popular course for commerce students after the completion of Class 12 exams. This professional course is offered by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) in three stage examination format.
·Stage 1: Foundation Programme
Eligibility: Class 12 / 10+2 or equivalent (except Fine Arts students)
- Business environment and law
- Business management, ethics & entrepreneurship
- Business economics
- Fundamentals of accounting and auditing
· Stage 2: Executive Programme
Eligibility: Graduation (except Fine Arts students)
- Jurisprudence, Interpretation & General Laws
- Company Law
- Setting Up Of Business Entities & Closure
- Tax Laws
. Stage 3: Professional Programme
Eligibility: Clearing Executive Programme
- Corporate & management accounting
- Securities laws & capital markets
- Economic, business and commercial laws
- Financial and strategic management
Cost & Management Accountant (CMA)
The Cost & Management Accountant is another professional course that can be pursued by the commerce stream students. The course is conducted by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India and is divided into three stages i.e.
After the completion of the programme, you will be a certified Cost Accountant. A certified Cost Accountant’s key responsibilities include:
- Maintaining cost account records
- Planning of cost accounts
- Cost Auditing
Many large companies, industries and corporations hire CMA’s to manage the cost of production or operational costs. CMAs ensure smooth functioning of the company by cutting cost in a managed manner without impacting the output or production.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
If personal finance and wealth management are the fields that interest you, becoming a certified financial planner should the right career choice for you. For many of the commerce students, the knowledge of taxation policies and the general awareness about investment basics is already covered during the foundational years. This puts them in a great place to be a financial planner.
In order to become a certified Financial Planner, students have to get a certificate from the Financial Planning Standards Board of India (FPSBI). The FPSBI offers a technical programme that trains commerce students in the art and science of financial planning, personal financial advisory practices, taxation, risk management and others.
The course is spread across 6 modules and exam for each module is held in the online format and the questions are asked in MCQ / multiple choice questions style. The modules include:
.Introduction to Financial Planning
.Risk Analysis & Insurance Planning
.Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits
.Tax Planning & Estate Planning
.Advance Financial Planning