Sonali Arora | June 15, 2007
If you're just out of class X and headed for college, it's time to take that all-important decision -- will it be science, commerce or arts?
It is a major decision, one that will have an impact on your future, so make sure you do your research before making a choice. Consult family and friends for their advice and recommendations, but don't neglect your interests and aptitude either.
If you're thinking about choosing commerce, here are some considerations you need to keep in mind before making your decision:
Interests and aptitude
Students who have an interest in working with numbers, and enjoy reading and analysing numerical data and who aspire to make a career in the financial and business world are ideally suited for commerce.
While technically even a 50 per cent result in the Class X examinations would enable you to qualify for admission into commerce, to get into a top-notch college, you'll need to secure a first-class.
If you think you're cut out for the commerce stream, here's what you can look forward to in college. Most commerce colleges offer the following subjects:
- Business economics: This would cover concepts like the laws of demand and supply, law of returns, elasticity, theory of pricing under different market forms etc.
- Financial accounting: This subject would deal with the preparation of profit and loss statements, balance sheets and final accounts of a company, knowledge of Indian and international accounting standards, calculation of depreciation and valuation of shares and goodwill of a company.
- Cost accounting: This would include process, job and contract costing, costing of overheads, standard and variance costing and budgetary control.
- Income tax: This would encompass the nature and basis of charge of income tax, tax planning, tax deduction, incomes not taxable etc.
- Auditing: This would deal with vouching, valuation and verification of transactions, assets and liabilities. It will also include studying the auditing of different organisations like clubs, hospitals and charitable concerns.
- Business finance: This would include in its scope financial analysis as a diagnostic tool, the management of working capital and its components as well as capital structure leverages.
- Business law: This subject would discuss the different laws in India relating to, among others, the Companies Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
- Marketing: This subject would deal with products, pricing methods, promotion, channels of distribution, logistics etc.
- Business communication: This subject focuses on the art of business correspondence --business letter writing, memo writing, notices etc.
While submitting the college application form, you will have to make a choice of four subjects from the ones offered. English (most commonly referred to as 'Communication Skills') and an additional language (Hindi or French, some colleges may offer Marathi or Gujarati) are mandatory for all. There will be a total of six subjects.
There are a number of career streams that open up for students once they opt for commerce. Here are some of the most popular choices:
~ MBA: Students interested in learning how to manage a business professionally can opt for a degree in management. An MBA course can vary in duration with a regular MBA being a 2-year course, while an Executive MBA taking 1 year to complete. Doing an MBA through correspondence is also an option.
~ Chartered accountancy: A chartered accountant is responsible for auditing companies, stock brokers and income tax assesses. A student can join a CA course either after the 10+2 board examination by registering for the Professional Education (PE) I course (a 10-month course) or after graduating (with the specified percentage) by registering for the PE II course (also 10-months long).
~ Cost accountant: The option of pursuing cost accountancy is open to any student of 17 years of age who has passed the Senior Secondary Examination (under the 10+2 scheme) of a recognised board.
~ Company secretary: A person who is responsible for ensuring that the company meets its statutory obligations is called a company secretary. Any student who has passed the Senior Secondary (10+2) examination is eligible to apply for a company secretary course.
~ Chartered financial analyst: A chartered financial analyst can operate in the areas of financial accounting, management accounting, financial management, investment management, security evaluation, project planning, venture capital management and credit rating. The course is a 3-year post graduation degree.
Apart from the careers mentioned above, a person taking up commerce can also get into streams like advertising, marketing, banking, law and business consulting among many others. It's just a matter of knowing your interests and applying yourself.