As with any long-established and widely-respected field, there are many different official and semi-official bodies in the accountancy sector with large numbers of members that influence the industry. Below are the best known and most important of them.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers the world’s most widely-respected qualifications, recognised for their integrity and importance in accountancy, finance and management circles around the globe.
Founded in 1904, ACCA has been the driving force in accountancy for over 100 years; supporting 178,000 members and 455,000 students in 180 countries, it has an international network of 95 offices and centres. ACCA also works closely with other accountancy organisations, and has more than 80 global accountancy partnerships.
The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is the leading UK qualification and membership body for vocational accountants. It was founded in 1980 through the merger of the Institute of Accounting Staff and the Association of Technicians in Finance and Accounting. It now has 125,000 members across 90 countries.
The AAT, which is sponsored by CIMA, ICAEW and more, awards around 90 percent of all vocational accounting qualifications, and the AAT Accounting Qualification is internationally recognised. AAT supports its members by offering them training and support via its global network of branches and approved training providers.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), based in the UK, is the largest professional body of management accountants - accountants that monitor the finances of businesses - in the world. It has more than 227,000 members and students in 179 countries.
CIMA trains management accountants and provides them with ongoing support, with the aim of developing the profession. Its members are regulated by a code of practice, disciplinary committee and continuing education scheme.
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is the independent standard-setting arm of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation.
It plays a vital role in accountancy, engaging with stakeholders in the profession around the world. Regulators and other parties involved in setting accounting standards rely on the advice the IASB provides, as well as business leaders, investors, analysts and many others involved in accountancy on a global scale.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), which has more than 128,000 members, is one of the most respected voices in the UK accountancy sector.
Offering qualifications and professional development, the ICAEW aims to help its members share knowledge, insight and technical expertise. More than that, it also provides a guide to ethical and technical standards in order to maintain the integrity of the accountancy and finance professions.
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