Top 10 Accounting Professional Bodies In The World In 2021

In the subject of accountancy, professional accounting bodies play a crucial role in making sure that the global accountants who work at top companies all over the world do their jobs in compliance with international and domestic regulations ethics and codes of conducts

Professional accounting bodies also support newly graduated accountants without experience, by offering them professional qualifications that distinguish them from their counterparts and ensuring that they  are able to give their best to their employees. To become an accountant, you have to earn a degree from a university or college, then enroll in a recognized professional accountancy body to become a chartered accountant. Although you can become a chartered accountant without a degree.

Earlier, we published the list of all the professional accountancy bodies in the world. But this time, we narrowed it to a list of the top 10 professional accounting bodies in the world and their qualifications. So if you don't see the one in your country, it means that they are not popular enough. 

Whether you just started your career in accountancy or you are an aspiring accountant, you should familiarise yourself with them. They are:

1. ICAEW

What it means: Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales

Background: ICAEW is one of the oldest and most prestigious chartered accounting bodies in the world. Established in 1880 by Royal Charter under Queen Victoria, ICAEW has trained and licensed over 181,500 professional members and students across 148 countries. While being a leading professional accounting institution, ICAEW also serves as a regulatory body for the profession, meaning that it has the powers to investigate and can hold both members and companys answerable to the law. It can also withdraw license of its members if found guilty of misconduct. ICAEW is globally respected by top firms, as shown based on the fact that 83% of the top companies in UK have an ICAEW certified chartered accountant as one of the board of directors, according to the Financial Times Stock Exchange.

Qualifications Offered: 
  1. ICAEW Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA);
  2. ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting, and Business (CFAB);
  3. ICAEW Business & Finance Professional (BFP)
You can get more information about ICAEW here


2. ICAS

What it means: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Background: The institute was established in 1854 by Royal Charter, ICAS and classified as one of the oldest professional accounting bodies in the world. ICAS has about 23,000 members as at when this article was written and functions as an industry regulator and thought leader, supervising the activities of its members and firms across over 100 countries, representing them on various issues in accountancy, business and finance, whilst always acting in interests of the public.

Qualifications Offered: ICAS Chartered Accountant (CA)

You can get more information ICAS here

3. AICPA

What it means: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Background: Established 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. 

AICPA is one of the largest professional accounting body in the world in terms of membership as it has over 429,000 members in 122 countries. Areas of practice for AICPA include business and industry, public practice, government, and education.

Qualifications Offered: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

You can get more information about AICPA here. AICPA also awards other designations and credentials to existing CPAs, you can get more info here.


4. MICPA

What it means: The Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Background: Founded in 1958, MICPA is the only Malaysian-grown professional accounting body. As a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), MICPA made a significant contribution in creating accounting standards and technical advisory for Malaysia’s regulatory bodies. MICPA has over 3,200 members and more than 500 registered students seeking to become chartered accountants. Members of the Institute are called “certified public accountants” (CPA).

Qualifications Offered: MICPA-CAANZ Programme

You can get more information about MICPA here

5. ISCA

What it means: Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants

Background: Established in 1963, 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. ISCA is taking advantage of 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)

You can get more information about ISCA here


6. ACCA

What it means: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Background: Formerly referred to as the London Association of Accountants, ACCA was originally established in London in 1909. Since then, ACCA has increasing presence in 52 countries with over 219,000 members and 527,000 students worldwide. ACCA is unique in a way that the term and designation “Chartered Certified Accountant” is used for only its members – none of the accounting bodies in the world have the same designation.

Qualification Offered: ACCA Qualification

You can get more information about ACCA here

7. CAI

What it means: Chartered Accountants Ireland

Background: Initially, the professional body was established by Royal Charter in 1988 as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Today, Chartered Accountants Ireland is the largest accountancy body in Ireland. They educates, represents, and supports their 27,000 members around the world across various sectors of the economy. The institute is committed to bringing back confidence at every level of the economy and collaborate with governments and businesses to sensitize the public on the need for smart financial advice.

Qualification Offered: Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA)

You can get more information about Chartered Accountants Ireland here


8. CIMA

What it means: The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Background: With its headquarters in London, UK, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) was founded in 1919 and is regarded as one of the leading and largest professional body of management accountants in the world with over 106,000 certified members and over 280,000 students. CIMA unlock the full potential of management accounting which helps individuals and businesses become successful. This is the reason it is regarded as one of the most unique accounting bodies in the world.

Qualification Offered: Chartered Management Accountant (CMA)

You can get more information about CIMA here


9. CPA Australia

What it means: 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)

You can get more information about CPA Australia here

10. Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Background: The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the only professional body in Hong Kong permitted by law to register and issue practising licenses to certified public accountants. The institute was first established in 1973 as the Hong Kong Society of Accountants, it now has more than 43,000 members and over 18,000 registered students which makes it one of the smallest accounting bodies in the world.

Qualification Offered: Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

You can get more information about Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants here

Conclusion

Every country in world has their own professional accounting bodies which regulates the profession in that country. But this is a list of the top accounting bodies among all of them, in terms of global acceptance, professional membership mode of training.