History of ACCA

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The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
Type British chartered accountancy body
Founded Flag of the United Kingdom [England, UK] (1904)
Headquarters London, Flag of the United Kingdom [England, UK]
Industry Accountancy and Finance
Subsidiaries The Association of Authorised Public Accountants (AAPA)
Slogan ACCA - Accountancy's uncommon denominator
Website www.accaglobal.com

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a British chartered accountancy body with a global presence that offers the Chartered Certified Accountant (Designatory letters ACCA or FCCA) qualification worldwide. It is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing accountancy bodies with115,345 members and 296,000 affiliates and students in 170 countries. The Institute's headquarters are inLondon with the principal administrative office being based in Glasgow. In addition the ACCA has a network of nearly 80 staffed offices and other centres around the world.

The ACCA is a founding member body of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

The term 'Chartered' in ACCA qualification refers to the Royal Charter granted by Her Majesty the Queen in the United Kingdom.

Since Chartered Certified Accountant is a legally protected term, individuals who describe themselves as Chartered Certified Accountants must be members of ACCA and, if they carry out public practice engagements, must comply with additional regulations such as holding a practising certificate, being insured against any possible liability claims and submitting to inspections.

The Association of Authorised Public Accountants (AAPA), one of British professional body for public accountants becomes a subsidiary of ACCA since 1996.


ACCA can trace its history back to 1904 when eight people formed the London Association of Accountants. This was done in order to allow more open access to the profession than was available through the existing accounting bodies at the time, notably the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Walesand the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. As of 2006, the goal of ACCA is to become the world’s leading global professional body by reputation, influence and size.

A timeline of key dates in the history of ACCA and its predecessor bodies is:

  • 1930 : London Association of Accountants successfully campaigns for the right to audit companies
  • 1933 : London Association of Accountants renamed London Association of Certified Accountants
  • 1939 : Corporation of Accountants (Scottish body, founded 1891) merges with London Association of Certified Accountants to become the Association of Certified and Corporate Accountants
  • 1941 : Institution of Certified Public Accountants (founded 1903, and incorporating the Central Association of Accountants from 1933) merges with Association of Certified and Corporate Accountants
  • 1971 : Association of Certified and Corporate Accountants renamed Association of Certified Accountants
  • 1974 : Royal Charter received from Her Majesty the Queen.
  • 1974 : ACCA becomes one of the six founding members of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB).
  • 1977 : ACCA becomes a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
  • 1984 : Association of Certified Accountants renamed Chartered Association of Certified Accountants
  • 1996 : Chartered Association of Certified Accountants renamed Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Members become entitled to use the titleChartered Certified Accountant (Designatory letters ACCA or FCCA). TheAssociation of Authorised Public Accountants becomes a subsidiary of ACCA.
  • 1998 : ACCA's syllabus formed the basis of the United Nations' global accountancy curriculum titled Guideline on National Requirements for the Qualification of Professional Accountants published in 1999. ACCA was a participant in the consultative group, which devised this global Benchmark, and reference to ACCA's role is included throughout the publication.


The ACCA offers the following qualifications:

A. Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) - Professional Scheme

The Professional Scheme is the primary qualification of the ACCA and, following completion of up to 14 professional examinations and three years of supervised, relevant accountancy experience, enables an individual to become a Chartered Certified Accountant.

  • In accordance with ACCA's traditions, there is open access to its examinations.
  • As part of the Professional Scheme, a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Applied Accounting (after completing Part 2 of the Professional Scheme and submitting a Research project), is offered in association with Oxford Brookes University)
  • The current syllabus is made up of 14 examinations, although some exemptions are available. The papers are split into three parts. Within Part 3, there are four optional papers (of which two must be selected) and three core papers (which must be sat and passed together, subject to the referral rules).
  • Subjects examined include financial accountingmanagement accountingfinancial audittaxation , company lawfinancial managementmanagement information systemsand strategic management.
  • A new ACCA qualification will start from the December 2007 examination sitting. The new syllabus updates the qualification for recent developments in the accountancy profession and reorganises the papers within the qualification. It is ACCA policy to update the examination syllabus on a regular basis. Changes were made previously in 2001 and 1994.

The ACCA Professional examinations are offered worldwide twice yearly, in June and December.

B. Certified Accounting Technician (CAT)

This is an introductory accounting technician qualification. Although CAT can be obtained as a standalone qualification, it is often the case that individuals study for CAT as an introduction to accountancy prior to starting the Professional Scheme. It usually takes 1.5 years to complete the Certified Accounting Technician exams. However, there is no restriction on the number of papers that can be attempted in one attempt.

Alternatives to the CAT qualification include the Association of Accounting Technicians qualification. ACCA was a sponsor of the AAT before breaking its links in favour of the CAT qualification in the mid 1990s.

Currently, the Certified Accounting Technician qualification (CAT) has been placed on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) National Qualifications Framework and publicly funded educational institutions are now eligible for funding to train towards the qualification in United Kingdom.

C. Other qualifications

The ACCA offers other qualifications:

  • an MBA (for ACCA full members, offered in association with Oxford Brookes University)
  • Diploma in Financial Management (DipFM). Introduced in the mid-1980s as theCertified Diploma in Accounting and Finance this is a financial qualification designed for non-finance managers.
  • Diploma in International Financial Reporting (DipIFR)
  • Diploma in Corporate Governance
  • Certificate in International Auditing (CertIA)
  • Certificate in International Financial Reporting (CertIFR)



In the first instance, individuals register as student members to undertake the Professional Scheme qualification.

Upon completion of the examinations, student members are automatically transferred to Affiliate status. To become a Chartered Certified Accountant, or a full member of the Association, affiliates must have three years of supervised, relevant accountancy experience and must have documentary evidence of this in the form of the Student Training Records. In common with many United Kingdom professional bodies, full membership of ACCA is known as Associateship, which are entitled to describe themselves as Chartered Certified Accountant and carries the designatory letters ACCA.


Fellowship, or senior membership of ACCA, or being Chartered Certified Accountants above 3 years or 5 years(According to the new rules), is awarded on the following bases:

  • after 3 years continuous membership, upon application, with documented Continuing Professional Education; or
  • for members admitted to Associateship before 2002, automatically after five years continuous membership.

ACCA has decided that from 1 January 2008, Fellowship will be awarded based on 5 years continuous membership, with compliance with Continuing Professional Education requirements. Advancement to Fellowship will be automatic provided the member has not breached CPE requirements. Members admitted before 2005 may still apply for Fellowship under the 3 year rule before 1 January 2008.

Fellow members of ACCA use the designatory letters FCCA in place of ACCA.

As of 2006, there are 115,345 members and 296,000 affiliates and students in 170 countries. [1]

Continuing Professional Education

Before 2005, Continuing Professional Education (CPE) was mandatory only for holders of practising certificatesand insolvency licences. From 2005, ACCA is extending mandatory CPE to all members on a phased basis:

  • Phase 1: Effective 1 January 2005, for members admitted to Associateship on or after 1 January 2001 (plus all practising certificate and insolvency licence holders)
  • Phase 2: Effective 1 January 2006, for members admitted to Associateship 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2000
  • Phase 3: Effective 1 January 2007, for members admitted to Associateship on or before 31 December 1994.

It is permissible for a member to adopt CPE earlier than the deadline.

Legal & Mutual Recognition


(A.)United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

  • The ACCA or Chartered Certified Accountant qualification is fully recognised in theUnited Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.
    • Under the Royal Charter granted by Her Majesty the Queen, ACCA works in the public interest.
    • ACCA is a Designated Professional Body under the Financial Services and Markets Act, licensing firms of Chartered Certified Accountants to conduct a range of incidental investment business activities.
    • ACCA is a Recognised Professional Body under the Insolvency Act to issue permits to individual Chartered Certified Accountants to conduct insolvency appointments.
    • ACCA is also a Recognised Qualifying Body and Recognised Supervisory Body in relation to company auditing under the Companies Act 1989.
    • ACCA is a member of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies(CCAB). Members of these bodies are deemed to hold equivalent-level qualifications and advertisements for jobs often state that an organisation is looking for a CCAB-qualified individual.
    • Full members of CCAB organisations including ACCA can apply for ICAEWmembership subject to certain criteria. Details
    • Only ACCA, ICAEWICAI and ICAS are able to authorise members to conduct auditinsolvency and investment business work in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.
  • Outside these countries, legal recognition by government authorities, and mutual recognition by equivalent overseas institutes, varies from country to country. Even where full legal or mutual recognition is not available, ACCA members can sometimes obtain advanced standing in terms of sitting local accountancy examinations. Additionally, in many instances, ACCA's strong global reputation may obviate the need to acquire a local designation.
  • Similarly, many (although not all) universities and educational providers will recognise ACCA as equivalent to at least a bachelor degree in accountancy, for the purpose of obtaining credit to acquire a local bachelors degree or enter an advanced study program.

(B.)European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) & Switzerland


  • ACCA and TÜRMOB (The Union of Chambers of Certified Public Accountants of Turkey) at Turkey signed a partnership agreement in 2004 which enables TÜRMOB members resident in Turkey to follow the ACCA Professional Scheme qualification and achieve ACCA membership.


  • The ACCA currently is recognized by the national accounting institutes with the joint scheme relationships in:
    • Cyprus (Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus);
    • Malta (Malta Institute of Accountants);
    • Armenia (Association of Accountants and Auditors in Armenia);
    • Georgia (Georgian Federation of Professional Accountants and Auditors).

As of end of 2006, there are 64,574 members and 91,379 students/affiliates in Western Europe, UK and Ireland, as well as 3,279 members and 17,273 students/affiliates in Central/Eastern Europe respectively.

North America

(A.)United States (US)

  • A mutual recognition between ACCA and AICPA/NASBA does not exist, but is under negotiation as of December 2006. However, it has effectively been put on hold pending a decision by the UK regulatory body, the Professional Oversight Board of Accountancy (POBA). It should also be noted that even if ACCA gained statutory recognition, it would still be up to the individual states to grant reciprocity within their state. [9]
  • Currently ACCA membership is recognised by the Colorado State Board of Accountancy as meeting the educational requirements to sit for the US Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. The majority of ACCA members who pass the CPA exam may apply for licensing as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of ColoradoUSA after completing a qualifications evaluation.
  • As of 2002, World Education Services (WES) indicated that the evaluation awarded 9 U.S. semester credits for every subject passed in ACCA exams resulting in a total of 126 U.S. semester credits based on ACCA studies, so it allows ACCA associate members to sit for uniform CPA examination at the states with 120 U.S. semester credits requirements. [10]

As of end of 2005, there are 1,315 members in USA.


  • ACCA announced a Mutual Recognition Agreement with CGA Canada effective from 1 January 2007. [2]
  • ACCA is recognized by Canadian government as an eligible qualification to audit federal government institutions in Canada [3]
  • As of 2006, Canadian Institute of Chartered AccountantsWorld Education Services (WES) and the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor indicated that the evaluation recognized ACCA as having the Canadian equivalence of a Bachelor's Degree (four years) in Accounting. [4]
  • The Canadian branch of ACCA is pursuing recognition for statutory audit purposes in the province of Ontario under the province's Public Accounting Act of 2004

As of 2006, ACCA has 1,100 members and over 400 students residing in Canada, the largest concentration of which live in Ontario.



As of end of 2005, there are 1,451 members in Australia.

(B.)New Zealand

  • The ACCA qualification is statutory recognised in New Zealand legislation for registration to perform statutory audit work. ACCA is gazetted under the relevant act (Under Section 199 of the Companies Act 1993: Qualifications of Auditors) in New Zealand. An ACCA member can practice as long as they hold an ACCA public practice certificate (with audit qualification) in their country of origin.
  • A mutual recognition agreement existed between ACCA and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA). This was terminated by NZICA on 1 January 2003 and replaced with a new limited recognition of the ACCA qualification.Details (MS Word)

Caribbean, Central & South America


(A.)South Africa


  • ACCA Zimbabwe is one of the constituent bodies of the Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB). The PAAB is a statutory body established in 1996, to oversee the regulation of the profession and maintain a register of persons entitled to work or practise as public accountants or public auditors in Zimbabwe. Only members in good standing of ACCA and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe register as auditors.




1. Hong Kong SAR
  • A new Agreement of Recognition Arrangement (ARA) between ACCA andHKICPA (Local statutory accountancy body) was put in place on 22 August 2006, backdated to 1 July 2005. Details.

This replaced the old Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) that was terminated by HKICPA on 30 June 2005. It was a disaster for ACCA members when they had to go thought so called "8 unfair terms" e.g.holding a degree recognized by HKICPA (ACCA degree offered by OUB was failed in the test), worked under HKICPA authorized employers,attend workshop, passed Final Professional Examination (FPE) etc.

On the contrary, HKICPA members could join in ACCA without any further requirement.

  • However, ACCA qualification is highly recognized by the Hong Kong employment market due to international and historical influences. Most HKICPA members qualified through HKSA-ACCA joint scheme which was operated for more than 20 years. HKSA (Hong Kong Society of Accountants) was the old name of HKICPA.

As of end of 2005, there are 16,609 members in Hong Kong SAR

2. Macau SAR
  • The ACCA currently is legally recognized with the joint scheme relationships by Macau Society of Certified Practising Accountants (Local statutory accountancy body) in Macau.
3. Taiwan


  • ACCA and national accountancy body, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), have operated a Joint Scheme of Examinations since 1983. The Joint Scheme is based on ACCA's examinations and allows students to sit papers in Singapore law and tax. All students who successfully complete the Joint Scheme examinations satisfy the examination requirements of both ACCA and ICPAS and are eligible to apply for membership of both bodies. ACCA's student numbers inSingapore for the Joint Scheme have topped 11,000.
  • Singapore government recognizes ACCA qualification to meet her migration skills assessment to immigrate in Singapore.

As of end of 2005, there are 5,161 members in Singapore.


  • On the 13th August 2007 ACCA and the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA), providing a route for members of both accountancy bodies to join the other body and to enjoy the benefits which both respected designations have to offer.
  • ACCA is statutory recognised in Part II of the First Schedule of the Accountants Act, 1967.

As of end of 2005, there are 7,417 members in Malaysia


  • The ACCA qualification is legally recognised as Qualified Company Secretary inPakistan, and there is partial recognition between ACCA and the local statutory accounting body (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan). ACCA affiliates are exempted first four modules (A-D) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan qualification.
  • ACCA in Pakistan has seen tremendous growth during the last five years with thousands of students enrolling every year into ACCA programs. Various local colleges and universities are also now offering ACCA programs in all major cities of the country. Some of the prominent local colleges and universities offering ACCA courses are PAC [11] SKANS CAMS , Aureole Training , Al-Hamd and TSA


  • The ACCA currently is legally recognized by the national accounting institutes with the joint scheme relationships in:
    • Vietnam (The Ministry of Finance of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam);
    • Brunei (Brunei Institute of Certified Public Accountants);
    • Cambodia (The Ministry of Economy and Finance Kampuchea Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Auditors);
    • Laos (The Ministry of Finance of the Lao People's Democratic Republic).

Global Partnership

Professional Partners

University Links

  • Through a range of partnerships with several amounts of universities in this world, ACCA offers students and members access to graduate and postgraduate levelaccountancy education.
    • The relationship between ACCA and the UK's Oxford Brookes University, has offered ACCA students and members to the Oxford Brookes BSc(Honours) in Applied Accounting, and the online supported MBA.
    • According to the agreements between ACCA and Tsinghua University inBeijing (China), Tsinghua will recognise the Oxford Brookes UniversityBSc(Hons) Applied Accounting degree stated as the above, and will accept the graduates from this BSc(Hons) degree program to further study Tsinghua'smaster degree programs [12].
    • ACCA and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at theUniversity of London have signed a global partnership agreement to enable ACCA’s members and affliates worldwide to take the SOAS's Postgraduate Diploma in Public Financial Management [6].
    • ACCA has signed the agreement with the University of Cambridge ESOL examinations (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to result in the launch of the International Certificate in Financial English (Cambridge ICFE), a new financial English exam.
    • Together with the Said Business School, at the University of Oxford, ACCA offers the Diploma in Financial Strategy, a Masters-level course that provides the essential elements of an MBA for qualified accountants, and is designed to extend knowledge and develop senior management skills.
    • ACCA and Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University have signed a joint agreement to enable ACCA Part 3 students, affiliates and members to gain a fast track entry through free-of-charge credit transfer and exemption when they matriculate for the MSc in Financial Management by distance learning or face-to-face study at a global network of centres. [7] [8]
    • ACCA partners Exeter University to offer members postgraduate qualifications in leadership (MA degree in leadership). [13] [14]
    • Through a range of recognitions by many universities in this world includingUKHong Kong and Universitas 21 Global, there are the accelerated routes for ACCA members to their master degree programmes.[9]

Representation worldwide

  • ACCA is represented on many committees and bodies around the world.[10]
    • ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA)
    • Confederation of Asia Pacific Accountants (CAPA)
    • Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB)
    • Eastern, Central and Southern African Federation of Accountants (ECSAFA)
    • European Financial Reporting Advisory Group
    • Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (FEE)
    • Fédération des Experts Comptables Méditerranéens (FCM)
    • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
    • IFAC
    • Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC)
    • Inter-American Accounting Association (IAA)
    • South Eastern European Partnership on Accountancy Development (SEEPAD)
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