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An accountant is a practitioner of
accounting Accounting, also known as accountancy, is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entity, economic entities such as businesses and corporations. Accounting, which has been calle ...
or accountancy. Accountants who have demonstrated competency through their professional associations' certification exams are certified to use titles such as Chartered Accountant,
Chartered Certified Accountant Founded in 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA). It has 240,952 members and 541,930 future members worldwid ...
or
Certified Public Accountant Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. It is generally equivalent to the title of chartered accountant in other English-speaking countries. In the United Stat ...
, or Registered Public Accountant. Such professionals are granted certain responsibilities by statute, such as the ability to certify an organization's
financial statement Financial statements (or financial reports) are formal records of the financial activities and position of a business, person, or other entity. Relevant financial information is presented in a structured manner and in a form which is easy to un ...
s, and may be held liable for professional misconduct. Non-qualified accountants may be employed by a qualified accountant, or may work independently without statutory privileges and obligations. Cahan & Sun (2015) used archival study to find out that accountants’ personal characteristics may exert a very significant impact during the audit process and further influence audit fees and audit quality. Practitioners have been portrayed in popular culture by the stereotype of the humorless, introspective bean-counter. It has been suggested that the stereotype has an influence on those attracted to the profession with many new entrants underestimating the importance of communication skills and overestimating the importance of numeracy in the role. An accountant may either be hired for a firm that requires accounting services on a continuous basis, or may belong to an accounting firm that provides accounting consulting services to other firms. The Big Four auditors are the largest employers of accountants worldwide. However, most accountants are employed in commerce, industry, and the
public sector The public sector, also called the state sector, is the part of the economy composed of both public services and public enterprises. Public sectors include the public goods and governmental services such as the military, law enforcement, infra ...
.


Commonwealth of Nations

In the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
, which include the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
,
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands. It is the ...
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
pre-1997, and several other states, commonly recognised accounting qualifications are
Chartered Certified Accountant Founded in 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA). It has 240,952 members and 541,930 future members worldwid ...
( ACCA), Chartered Accountant (CA or ACA), Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) and International Accountant (AAIA). Other qualifications in particular countries include Certified Public Accountant (CPA – Ireland and CPA – Hong Kong),
Chartered Professional Accountant Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA; french: comptable professionnel agréé) is the professional designation which united the three Canadian accounting designations that previously existed: :* Chartered Accountant ( CA), :* Certified Gen ...
(CPA – Canada), Certified Management Accountant (CMA – Australia) ( CMA – Sri Lanka), Certified Practising Accountant (CPA – Australia) and members of the Institute of Public Accountants (Australia), and Certified Public Practising Accountant (CPPA – New Zealand). The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) received its
Royal Charter A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law ...
in 1854 and is the world's first
professional body A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further a particular profession A profession is a field of work that has been successfully '' professional ...
of accountants.


United Kingdom and Ireland

* A Chartered Accountant must be a member of one of the following: ** the
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is a professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports chartered accountants and students around the world. As of July 2022, it has over 198,000 members ...
(ICAEW) (designatory letters ACA or FCA) ** the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) is the world's first professional body of Chartered Accountants (CAs). It is a regulator, educator, influencer and thought leader. ICAS act as a thought leader and voice of the professional ...
(ICAS) (designatory letters CA) **
Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland was established by Royal Charter on 14 May 1888, and is Ireland's largest accountancy body. According to its website, it represents over 30,000 members globally. Chartered Accountants Ireland is part of the Con ...
(CAI) ** a recognised equivalent body from another Commonwealth country (designatory letters being CA (name of country) e.g. CA (Australia)) * A
Chartered Certified Accountant Founded in 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA). It has 240,952 members and 541,930 future members worldwid ...
must be a member of the
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Founded in 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA). It has 240,952 members and 541,930 future members worldwid ...
(designatory letters ACCA or FCCA). * A Chartered Management Accountant must be a member of the
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the global professional management accounting body based out of the UK. CIMA offers training and qualification in Management accounting, management accountancy and related subjects. It i ...
(designatory letters ACMA or FCMA). * A Chartered Public Finance Accountant must be a member of the
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) is a professional institute for accountant An accountant is a practitioner of accounting or accountancy. Accountants who have demonstrated competency through their professional ...
(designatory letters CPFA). * An International Accountant is a member of the
Association of International Accountants The Association of International Accountants (AIA) is a professional accountancy body. It was founded in the UK in 1928 and since that date has promoted the concept of ‘international accounting’ to create a global network of accountants in o ...
(designatory letters AAIA or FAIA). * An Incorporated Financial Accountant is a member of the Institute of Financial Accountants (designatory letters AFA or FFA). * A Certified Public Accountant may be a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (designatory letters AICPA) or its equivalent in another country, and is usually designated as such after passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. (designatory letters CPA) * A Public Accountant may be a member of the Institute of Public Accountants (designatory letters AIPA, MIPA or FIPA). *Registered Qualified Accountant may be a member of Accountants Institute (designatory letters RQA, and FQA for Fellow Members), based in Slovenia Excepting the Association of Certified Public Accountants, each of the above bodies admits members only after passing examinations and undergoing a period of relevant work experience. Once admitted, members are expected to comply with ethical guidelines and gain appropriate professional experience. Chartered, Chartered Certified, Chartered Public Finance, and International Accountants engaging in practice (i.e. selling services to the public rather than acting as an employee) must gain a "practising certificate" by meeting further requirements such as purchasing adequate insurance and undergoing inspections. The ICAEW, ICAS, ICAI, ACCA and AAPA are five Recognised Supervisory Bodies (RSB) in the UK. A member of one of them may also become a ''Statutory Auditor'' in accordance with the Companies Act, providing they can demonstrate the necessary professional ability in that area and submit to regular inspection. It is illegal for any individual or firm that is not a Statutory Auditor to perform a company audit. The ICAEW, ICAS, ICAI, ACCA, AIA and CIPFA are six recognised qualifying bodies statutory (RQB) in the UK. A member of one of them may also become a ''Statutory Auditor'' in accordance with the Companies Act, providing they are a member of one of the five Recognised Supervisory Bodies RSB mentioned above. All six RQBs are listed under EU mutual recognition directives to practise in 27 EU member states and individually entered into agreement with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA). Further restrictions apply to accountants who carry out insolvency work. In addition to the bodies above, technical qualifications are offered by the
Association of Accounting Technicians The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is the world’s leading professional body for Accounting Technicians, with over 150,000 members worldwide. AAT has 150,000 members according to official records from the Financial Reporting Counci ...
, ACCA and AIA, which are respectively called AAT Technician, CAT ( Certified Accounting Technician) and IAT (International Accounting Technician).


United States

In the United States, licensed accountants are
Certified Public Accountant Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. It is generally equivalent to the title of chartered accountant in other English-speaking countries. In the United Stat ...
s (CPAs), and in certain states, Public Accountants (PAs). Unlicensed accountants may be Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs) and
Certified Management Accountant Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification Professional certification, trade certification, or professional designation, often called simply ''certification'' or ''qualification'', is a designation earned by a person ...
s (CMAs). The difference between these certifications is primarily the legal status and the types of services provided, although individuals may earn more than one certification. Additionally, much accounting work is performed by uncertified individuals, who may be working under the supervision of a certified accountant. As noted above, the majority of accountants work in the private sector or may offer their services without the need for certification. The training time required for accountancy certification in the US requires specific guidelines: * Certificate: Several months to a year * Associate degree: 1–2 years * Bachelor's degree: 3–4 years * CPA: 5 years of education (150 semester college credits) plus 1–2 years of work experience (length of work experience requirement depends on which state is granting the license) * Master's degree: 1–2 years * Doctoral degree: 3–5 years A CPA is licensed by a state to provide auditing services to the public. Many CPA firms also offer accounting, tax, litigation support, and other financial advisory services. The requirements for receiving the CPA license vary from state to state, although the passage of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination is required by all states. This examination is designed and graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). A PA (sometimes referred to as LPA—Licensed Public Accountant) is licensed by the state to practice accountancy to the same extent as are CPAs, although in some states PAs are not permitted to perform audits or reviews (notably Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, & South Carolina). A PA's ability to practice out of state is very limited due to most states having phased out the PA designation. While most states no longer accept new PA license applicants, four states still accept PA applicants for practice privileges within the state. As with the CPA, the requirements for receiving the PA license vary from state to state. Most states require a passage of either two or three (out of four) sections of the CPA exam or passage of the Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation in Accounting which is administered and graded by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT). A certified internal auditor (CIA) is granted a certificate from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), provided that the candidate has passed a four-part examination. One of the four parts is waived if the candidate has already passed the CPA Exam. A CIA typically provides services directly to an employer rather than to the public. A person holding the Certificate in Management Accounting (CMA) is granted the certificate by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), provided that the candidate has passed an examination of two parts and has met the practical experience requirement of the IMA. A CMA provides services directly to employers rather than to the public. A CMA can also provide services to the public, but to an extent much lesser than that of a CPA. An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally authorized tax practitioner empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the
Internal Revenue Service The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue service for the Federal government of the United States, United States federal government, which is responsible for collecting Taxation in the United States, U.S. federal taxes and administerin ...
(IRS). Enrolled agent status is the highest credential awarded by the IRS, unlimited rights of representation. The EA credential is recognized across all 50 U.S. states. Candidates must pass a three-part exam (called the Special Enrollment Examination) covering the subjects of individual tax, business tax, and client representation, or must have worked at the IRS for five consecutive years in a position which regularly engaged in these areas. The
United States Department of Labor The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is one of the United States federal executive departments, executive departments of the federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government. It is responsible for the administration of fede ...
's
Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of ...
estimates that there are about one million persons employed as accountants and auditors in the U.S. U.S. tax laws grant CPAs and EAs a form of accountant–client privilege.


Non-certified accountants


Australia

In Australia, there are three legally recognised local professional accounting bodies which all enjoy the same recognition and can be considered as "qualified accountant": the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA),
CPA Australia CPA Australia ("Certified Practising Accountant") is a professional accounting Accounting, also known as accountancy, is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entity, econo ...
(CPA) and the
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) represents 131,673 members in Australia, New Zealand and overseas. CA ANZ focuses on the education and lifelong learning of members, and engage in advocacy and thought leadership in areas o ...
(CAANZ). Other international bodies such as ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is a professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports chartered accountants and students around the world. As of July 2022, it has over 198,000 members ...
(ICAEW) enjoy recognition for the purposes of supporting their members in their careers. For instance, ACCA has achieved recognition by the Tax Practitioner Board, as Tax and BAS agents, in 2010.


Brazil

In
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, ...
, a certified public accountant must be a member of the CFC (Federal Council of Accounting). The CFC is the sole professional accountancy organization in Brazil, responsible for guiding, regulating and controlling the accounting profession through its local chapters.


Canada

In Canada, a
Chartered Professional Accountant Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA; french: comptable professionnel agréé) is the professional designation which united the three Canadian accounting designations that previously existed: :* Chartered Accountant ( CA), :* Certified Gen ...
(CPA) must be a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (designatory letters CPA). Up to 2013, there were three nationally recognized accounting designations in Canada: Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), and Certified Management Accountants (CMA). The national CA and CGA bodies were created by Acts of Parliament in 1902 and 1913 respectively, The national CMA organization was established under the Canada Corporations Act in 1920. In January 2012, following eight months of member and stakeholder consultation, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) and Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada) issued ''A Framework for Uniting the Canadian Accounting Profession'' under a new Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (
CPA Canada Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) (french: Comptables professionnels agréés du Canada) is the national organization representing the Canadian accounting profession through the unification of the three largest accounting o ...
) was established by CICA and CMA Canada on January 1, 2013, under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, to support Canadian provincial accounting bodies that were unifying under the CPA banner. CGA-Canada integrated with CPA Canada on October 1, 2014, completing the unification of Canada's accounting profession at the national level. All recognized national and provincial accounting bodies in Canada have now unified under the CPA banner. The Canadian CPA designation is held by more than 200,000 members in Canada and around the world.


Japan

In Japan, a certified public accountant must be a member of the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA). It is the sole professional accountancy organization in Japan.


India

Chartered accountancy is offered in India by the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is India's largest professional accounting body under the administrative control of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. It was established on 1 July 1949 as a statutory bod ...
(ICAI), the second largest accounting body in the world. This Institute was established in 1949 under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 for the regulation of the profession of chartered accountants in India. The ICAI set up the Accountancy Museum of India in 2009, the third museum of accounting in the world. It is located at ICAI's office in
Noida Noida, short for New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, is a planned city located in Gautam Buddha Nagar district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Noida is a satellite city of Delhi and is a part of the National Capital Region (India) ...
.A Cost and Management Accountant is registered as a member under the Institute of Cost Accountants of India(ICMAI) previously known as (ICWAI) which is a statutory body constituted under the Cost and Works Accountants Act 1959 enacted by the Parliament of India, it is also the second largest Management Accountancy body in the world. The members of the Institute are widely recognized as Cost and Management Accountants (FCMA, ACMA).t4e5terrwet4rtreehejfhouwehruyt,tktikein45843t4045--tr0-tty[t;jtl[lrtr'herlrkrgj


Indonesia

Under Public Accountants Law ( UU 5/2011), the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Indonesia (IAPI) is the professional organization having the authority to issue CPA designation which is the statutory requirements for obtaining public accountant license from the government.


Pakistan

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) offers chartered accountant studies in Pakistan. ICAP was established under The Chartered Accountants Ordinance, 1961 as a self-regulatory body. The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) offers accountant studies in Pakistan. ICMAP was established under The Cost and Management Accountants Act, 1966. Pakistan Institute of Public Finance Accountants (PIPFA) is an autonomous body recognized mainly in the government sector and established under license from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan by the authority given under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984. The body is co-sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan and the Auditor General of Pakistan.PIPFA has more than 5,000 members and a number of them are members of ICAP and ICMAP. The institute was established to produce a second tier of accounting professionals in Pakistan


Bangladesh

Chartered accountancy is governed in Bangladesh by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB). And The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) offers management accountant studies in Bangladesh.


New Zealand

In New Zealand, there are two local accountancy bodies the
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) represents 131,673 members in Australia, New Zealand and overseas. CA ANZ focuses on the education and lifelong learning of members, and engage in advocacy and thought leadership in areas o ...
(CAANZ) and the New Zealand Association of Certified Public Accountants (NZACPA) the operating name of New Zealand Association of Accountants Inc (NZAA). To audit public companies an individual must be a member of either the CAANZ or an otherwise gazetted body. Chartered Certified Accountant (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or FCCA) qualification has also been gazetted under. An ACCA member can practice as long as they hold an ACCA public practice certificate (with audit qualification) in their country of origin.


Singapore

In
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country, island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Pen ...
, a public accountant must be a member of any professional accountancy body in Singapore. Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) is the sole local accountancy body, therefore the public accountant must be a member of the ISCA.


Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, a chartered accountant must be a member of the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (''CA Sri Lanka'') is a professional accountancy body in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ila ...
(designatory letters ACA or FCA). It is the sole local accountancy body, therefore to audit public companies an individual must be a member of the ICASL. A Certified management account also must be a member of the Institute of Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (designatory letters ACMA or FCMA).


Austria

In Austria, the accountancy profession is regulated by the Bilanzbuchhaltungsgesetz 2006 (BibuG – Management Accountancy Law).


Hong Kong

In
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
, the accountancy industry is regulated by
Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA, ) is the professional accounting body A professional accounting body is an organization or Voluntary association, association of accountants in a particular jurisdiction. Usual ...
(
HKICPA The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA, ) is the professional accounting body A professional accounting body is an organization or Voluntary association, association of accountants in a particular jurisdiction. Usual ...
) under the Professional Accountants Ordinance (Chapter 50, Laws of
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
). The auditing industry for limited companies is regulated under the Companies Ordinance (Chapter 32, Laws of
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
), and other ordinances such as the securities and futures ordinance, the listing rules, etc.
HKICPA The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA, ) is the professional accounting body A professional accounting body is an organization or Voluntary association, association of accountants in a particular jurisdiction. Usual ...
terminated all recognition of overshare bodies in 2005 for ''accreditation'' under professional accountants ordinance. In general, all British RQBs except for CIPFA were re-accredited. Please refer to
HKICPA The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA, ) is the professional accounting body A professional accounting body is an organization or Voluntary association, association of accountants in a particular jurisdiction. Usual ...
for latest recognition.


Portugal

In Portugal, there are two accountancy qualifications: the ''Contabilistas Certificados'' (CC), responsible for producing accounting and tax information, and the ''Revisor Oficial de Contas'' (ROC), more related to auditing practices. The CC certification is exclusively awarded by the professional organization '' Ordem dos Contabilistas Certificados'' (OCC), and the certification to become an auditor is awarded by another professional organization, the ''Ordem dos Revisores Oficiais de Contas'' (OROC). In general, accountants or auditors accredited by OTOC or OROC are individuals with
university A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several Discipline (academia), academic disciplines. Universities ty ...
graduation diplomas in business management, economics, mathematics or law who, after further studies, applied for an exam and received the certification to be a CC or ROC. That certification is only received after a one-year (CC) or three-year (ROC) internship. Any citizen having a polytechnic degree as a bookkeeper is also entitled to apply for the exam and certification at the OCC.OCC official site
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See also

* Bookkeeper * Credit manager * Journal entries


References

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