Chartered Accountant is an internationally recognised professional designation, indicating that the holder has undertaken in-depth training and rigorous examinations in financial management, auditing, business strategy and taxation, and is committed to continuing professional development to keep their skills up to date.
Chartered Accountants & Chartered Management Accountants have invested significant time & effort in achieving these qualifications, whilst at the same time working (full time) to secure the necessary work experience also required as part of the coveted Chartered status.
The Chartered Bodies in the UK (e.g. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), etc.), admit members only after passing examinations and undergoing a period of relevant work experience.
Once admitted, members are expected to comply with their Institute's ethical guidelines and undergo continuing professional development.
Before a Chartered Accountant can set-up an accountancy practice (i.e. selling services to the public rather than acting as an employee), an accountant belonging to any of the Chartered bodies must gain a 'practising certificate' by meeting further requirements such as purchasing adequate insurance and undergoing regular reviews & inspections.
A Chartered Management Accountant is an accountant who can not only perform the "compliance" duties (e.g Annual Accounts, Personal & Business Taxation, Self Assessment, Corporation Tax, VAT, Payroll & Bookkeeping services etc.), but is also trained in and skilled at financial management, business planning & budgeting, as well as management reporting and associated performance management.
Members of CIMA offer a unique blend of management accounting, financial accounting and business financial management skills.
The earliest known organisation of accountants anywhere in Britain, was formed in Edinburgh in 1834 as "the Committee of Accountants Practising Before the Court of Session".
Scotland was also where the first permanent, professional body of accountants in the world was established. The Society of Accountants in Edinburgh (SAE), established with 54 members, received its Royal Charter in 1854 and was the first to adopt the designation 'chartered accountant'.