Top 10 Professional Accounting Bodies You Should Know in 2020

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When it comes to the field of accountancy, professional accounting bodies are crucial to ensuring that the world’s accountants who are employed at top companies around the globe carry out their professions in line with international and domestic regulations and codes of ethics. Professional accounting bodies also support fresh accountants in the field, giving them professional qualifications that set them apart from their peers and ensuring that they can deliver their best to employees.

We’ve gathered the top 10 accounting bodies for you from all corners of the world that you should familiarise yourself, whether you’re about to begin your career in accountancy or are aspiring to become one (in no particular order):


What it stands for: Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales

Background: ICAEW is one of the world’s oldest and prestigious chartered accounting bodies. Established in 1880 by Royal Charter under Queen Victoria, ICAEW now promotes, develops, and supports over 181,500 members and students across 148 countries. While it is a leading professional membership organisation, ICAEW is unique as it also serves as a regulatory body, meaning that it has investigative powers and can hold both members and firms accountable to the law. ICAEW is respected by top firms around the world, as indicated by the fact that 83% of the UK’s top companies as ranked by the Financial Times Stock Exchange have an ICAEW chartered accountant sitting on the board.

Qualifications Offered: 

  • ICAEW Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA);
  • ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting, and Business (CFAB);
  • ICAEW Business & Finance Professional (BFP)

Find out more here



What it stands for: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Background: Established in 1854 by Royal Charter, ICAS is the oldest professional body of accountants out of all the accounting bodies in the world. ICAS has 23,000 members and acts as an industry regulator and thought leader, overseeing its members and firms across 100 countries, representing them on a range of issues in accountancy, finance and business, whilst always acting in the public interest.

Qualifications Offered: ICAS Chartered Accountant (CA)

Find out more here



What it stands for: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Background: Founded in 1887, the AICPA represents the CPA profession in the United States and establishes regulations and standards for the profession for private companies, while monitoring and enforcing compliance. In terms of membership, AICPA is the world’s largest professional accounting body, with over 429,000 members in 122 countries, representing areas of practice including business and industry, public practice, government, education, and consulting.

Qualifications Offered: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Find out more here. AICPA also awards additional designations and credentials to existing CPAs, which you can read about here.



What it stands for: The Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Background: MICPA is the only Malaysian-grown professional accounting body, formed in 1958. MICPA has played a key role in establishing accounting standards and technical advisory for Malaysia’s regulatory bodies and is also a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). MICPA has more than 3,200 members and over 500 registered candidates pursuing its programme. Members of the Institute are professionally qualified “certified public accountants” (CPA).

Qualifications Offered: MICPA-CAANZ Programme

Find out more here



What it stands for: Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants

Background: ISCA is the national accountancy body of Singapore, with over 32,000 ISCA members who work in businesses across various industries in Singapore and around the globe. Established in 1963, ISCA is leveraging its regional expertise, knowledge, and networks of stakeholders to contribute towards Singapore’s development into a centre of global accountancy.

Qualification Offered: Chartered Accountant of Singapore (CA Singapore)

Find out more here



What it stands for: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Background: With more than 219,000 members and 527,000 students worldwide, ACCA was originally formed in 1909 in London, initially known as the London Association of Accountants. Since then, ACCA has expanded its presence in 52 countries. ACCA is unique in that the term and designation “Chartered Certified Accountant” only applies to members of ACCA – none of the world’s accounting bodies have the same designation.

Qualification Offered: ACCA Qualification

Find out more here


7. Chartered Accountants Ireland

Background: The professional body was initially established as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland by Royal Charter in 1888. Today, Chartered Accountants Ireland – the largest accountancy body in Ireland – educates, represents, and supports 27,000 members throughout the globe throughout various sectors. The organisation is committed to restoring confidence at every level of the economy and works with governments and businesses to raise awareness of the importance of sound financial advice.

Qualification Offered: Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA)

Find out more here



What it stands for: The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Background: CIMA was founded in 1919 and is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants. With over 106,000 members and over 280,000 students and its headquarters based in London, CIMA helps individuals and businesses to succeed by helping them unlock the full potential of management accounting. This makes it one of the most unique accounting bodies in the world.

Qualification Offered: Chartered Management Accountant (CMA)

Find out more here


9. CPA Australia

What it stands for: Certified Practising Accountant Australia

Background: CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest accounting bodies with a global membership of more than 164,695 members  working in 150 countries and regions around the world. It is the largest professional accounting body in Australia in terms of membership. Its core services to members include education, training, technical support and advocacy.

Qualification Offered: Certified Practising Accountant (CPA)

Find out more here


10. Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Background: The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the only body in Hong Kong authorized by law to register and grant practising certificates to certified public accountants. First established in 1973 as the Hong Kong Society of Accountants, it now has more than 43,000 members and more than 18,000 registered students making it one of the smallest accounting bodies in the world.

Qualification Offered: Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Find out more here


Related: Successful Entrepreneur Shares Inspiring Decision to Switch From Medicine to Chartered Accountancy


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