The global body for professional accountants

ACCA is the global body for professional accountants with 178,000 members and 455,000 students in 181 countries. We also have a network of 92 offices and centres across the world

In 1904 eight people formed the London Association of Accountants. Their aim was to provide more open access to the accountancy profession than the two existing accountancy organisations. ACCA went through a number of mergers and amalgamations over the years. In 1984 we became the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants to reflect the fact that we had been granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation. In 1996 we began to use our current name, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)..

On 30 November eight accountants found the London Association of Accountants, the forerunner of ACCA.

The Association has 312 members and introduces its first examinations. The Circular is launched, which becomes The Certified Accountants' Journal in 1909, Certified Accountant in 1981 and Accounting & Business in 1998.


The term 'certified accountant' is introduced. There are 13 members outside the UK including in Argentina, Burma (Myanmar), India, South Africa and Spain.

The first students' association is established.

Ethel Ayres Purdie becomes a member, the first woman to belong to a professional accountancy body.


A milestone is reached - the registration of 1,000 members.

The first branch outside the UK is opened in South Africa.

One quarter of our members enter the armed services in World War I.


Membership is formalised. Members now have to pass final examinations and complete five years' relevant experience.

There are 56 female members, more than the other UK accountancy bodies put together.

The London Association is renamed as the London Association of Certified Accountants.

The Malayan (Malaysia/Singapore) branch is set up.

Members are recognised in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

A merger is completed with the Scottish-based Corporation of Accountants, leading to a new name: the Association of Certified and Corporate Accountants.

With the help of the Red Cross, prisoners of war are able to sit ACCA exams.

A joint university scheme is introduced, allowing exemptions for graduates.

Members’ letters are formalised: FACCA (fellow) and AACCA (associate member).


Branches are set up in Hong Kong, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Trinidad and Tobago, British Guiana (Guyana), Nigeria and Nyasaland (Malawi).

Nearly 60 per cent of members now work in the corporate sector - a similar proportion to the present day.

ACCA celebrates its first 50 years.

Formal links are developed in Africa as accountancy bodies are established in Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, followed in the 1970s to 1990s by Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Students are given the option to prepare for final exams through full-time study.

A joint examination scheme is established in Jamaica, leading to partnerships with many bodies in the Caribbean. The Malaysian branch is formed after the separation of Singapore and Malaysia.

ACCA is renamed again, becoming the Association of Certified Accountants. The letters FCCA and ACCA are introduced.

ACCA is granted its Royal Charter.

A committee is set up in Australia, which subsequently expands to include New Zealand.

ACCA begins to explore opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe, helping to develop the profession in former Soviet states and in the Russian Federation. A branch is also set up in Canada.

Vera di Palma becomes the first female president of an international accountancy body.

A new name is announced, the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.

A members' branch is formally established in the US. In the UK, ACCA becomes recognised under the Financial Services Act.

A new logo is introduced, which is modified to become the now familiar mark in 2000. Market development starts in mainland China.

An environmental reporting awards scheme is introduced - the first of its kind.

Anthea Rose becomes chief executive: her vision helps to turn ACCA into a global body with students and members in 160 countries.

ACCA's website is launched, from which a comprehensive suite of e-business services are developed.

The final name change is approved: the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. ACCA has 50,000 members and nearly 130,000 students. A new syllabus is launched, based on international accounting standards: a first in the profession. Numbers begin to grow in Pakistan: there are under 100 students and members in 1996, growing to 12,000 by 2002.

The Certified Accounting Technician qualification (CAT) is introduced. Members become entitled to call themselves chartered certified accountants. ACCA's first International Assembly meeting is held.

The university and college registration scheme is introduced.

A BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting is launched in partnership with Oxford Brookes University. Examination results are released online for the first time. Market development commences in the Middle East.

An exclusive MBA programme is launched in partnership with Oxford Brookes University. ACCA also offers diplomas in International Financial Reporting (DipIFR) and Corporate Governance (DipCG). ACCA announces record numbers of student registrations.

ACCA Connect is opened, the first global contact centre to be set up by an accountancy body.

ACCA holds its centenary celebrations with events around the world.

The continuing professional development scheme is introduced, which requires members to keep their skills and experience up to date.

The revamped ACCA Qualification is launched, placing ethics and professionalism at its heart. US Vice President Al Gore gives a presentation about sustainability to 400 delegates at an ACCA event for business leaders in Hong Kong.

Helen Brand becomes chief executive of ACCA.
ACCA celebrates 20 years in China under the banner of “Partners in Progress”.

ACCA begins a major programme of transformation to ensure the organisation is fit for the future. ACCA opens an office in Brussels to represent more than 100,000 ACCA members and students living and working in the EU.


ACCA is a Gold Sponsor of the World Congress of Accountants in Malaysia. More than 6,000 delegates attended this global event.

ACCA launches Foundations in Accountancy, a new entry-level suite of qualifications...

Last updated: 30 Jun 2015