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1853-1880

A timeline of the development of the Accountancy Profession in the United Kingdom. This page covers developments between 1853 and 1880, including the establishment of ICAEW and the grant of a Royal Charter.

1853 Institute of Accountants in Edinburgh is formed.
1853 Institute of Accountants in Glasgow is formed.
1854 Institute of Accountants in Edinburgh is granted a Royal Charter and is renamed the Society of Accountants in Edinburgh.
1855 Institute of Accountants in Glasgow is renamed the Institute of Accountants and Actuaries in Glasgow.
1862 A Companies Act termed the 'accountants friend' is passed. Establishing the role of Official Liquidator, a person responsible for proceedings in the liquidation of public companies, the act creates a large source of revenue for accountants.
1867 A Companies Act is passed.
1867 Society of Accountants in Aberdeen is formed.
1869 A Bankruptcy Act is passed making accountants more involved in Insolvency processes.
1870 - 1877 Bodies of Accountants form in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. The ICAEW starts its early life as a voluntary association called the Institute of Accountants in London. At first it does not admit practitioners from the provinces. This was not done until 1872.
1870 (Jan) Incorporated Society of Liverpool Accountants is formed.
1870 (8 Jun) William Quilter, a senior partner of Quilter Ball & Co, meets with nine respected friends and colleagues at 3 Moorgate Street in London to discuss the advantages of banding together into a professional association of accountants by means of a Royal Charter.
1870 (Nov) A voluntary Association called the Institute of Accountants in London is formed by William Quilter and his friends and colleagues. The Privy Council had previously decided not to grant further Charters.
1870 (29 Nov) At a meeting at the City Terminus Hotel in Cannon Street, London, thirty seven accountants sign a draft copy of the rules and regulations for the new Institute of Accountants in London. A first Council is formed with twelve members.
1870 (13 Dec) The first official meeting of the Council of the Institute of Accountants in London takes place.
1871 (6 Feb) Manchester Institute of Accountants is formed.
1871 (8 Feb) The Council of the Institute of Accountants in London formally adopts the report of the sub-committee on rules and regulations. 300 copies are printed and distributed to members.
1871 The Council of the Institute of Accountants in London appoints a committee of examiners for new entrants. Candidates are examined viva voce (by oral interview).
1872 Society of Accountants in England is formed by those excluded from the Institute of Accountants in London. The Society admits accountants from the provinces.
1872 The first Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Accountants in London is held. A deputation from seven provincial accountants is given requesting the scope of membership of the Institute is extended to those practising outside London.
1872 (7 May) The Council of the Institute of Accountants in London meets. Letters are heard from the Manchester Institute and George William Spence of Newcastle firm Gillespie, Swithinbank & Co., requesting the formation of a national professional accountancy organisation.
1872 (21 May) A special meeting of the Council of the Institute of Accountants in London is chaired by William Turquand to discuss widening the scope of the Institute to include accountants from the provinces. Membership is accordingly widened to accountants throughout the UK. The name is changed from Institute of Accountants in London to Institute of Accountants.
1872 (Jul) A special General Meeting of the Institute of Accountants is held to approve recent changes to the rules.
1872 (Oct) A General Meeting of the Institute of Accountants confirms the changes.
1874 (10 Mar) The Council of the Institute of Accountants invites four leading provincial accountants, Harwood Walcot Banner of Liverpool, Henry Webster of Blackburn of Bradford, Edward Carter of Birmingham and George Edwin Swithinbank of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to join in an effort to increase nation-wide membership (check date).
1874 (Apr) Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Accountants confirms appointment of the four new members.
1874 (Oct) The Accountant begins publication.
1874 (Dec) The Accountant's Diary and Directory edited by Alfred Harper is published by Williams & Strahan.
1876 Frederick Whinney, who will later serve as President between 1884-1888, leads a motion to enlarge the Council of the Institute of Accountants by three additional members.
1876 (Apr) At the 5th Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Accountants there is a discussion of the plans to enlarge the Council.
1876 (Jun) T. A. Welton resigns office of Secretary of the Institute of Accountants but agrees to continue until a replacement can be found.
1877 A new Bankruptcy Bill is introduced and Government appoints a Select Committee of the House of Commons to investigate the Companies Acts of 1862 and 1867. Welton attends the Select Committee meetings and reports back to the profession. It is discovered that following bankruptcy cases liquidators were frequently holding on to assets instead of distributing them to creditors. Institute members are asked to reveal their undistributed assets and they are found to total £66,48718s 10d.
1877 (Feb) William Turquand is elected President of the Institute of Accountants following Quilter's retirement. Ball becomes Vice President. W. G. Howgrave succeeds T. A. Welton as Secretary.
1877 Turquand gives evidence on the conduct of liquidations to the Select Committee. Despite objections on behalf of the profession, the Committee resolves to remove insolvency work from accountants. This was later enforced with the passing of the Bankruptcy Act in 1883.
1877 (26 Apr) At the Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Accountants Frederick Whinney and two friends are elected to the Council.
1877 (14 Mar) Sheffield Institute of Accountants is formed.
1877 (Jun) The Institute of Accountants leases new offices in 3 Copthall Buildings. Howgrave begins to prepare an index of useful cases affecting the profession. Relevant reference, law books and reports are purchased and copies of the accounts of leading railway, banking, and other public companies are requested for the Institute's Library. A clerk's register is established and an examination system for the admission new Associate Members is inaugurated.
1878 (3 May) The Council of the Institute of Accountants resolves to improve its status by incorporation through an Act of Parliament.
1878 (Nov) The Council of the Institute of Accountants hears a draft of the proposed Bill seeking incorporation. The London Gazette publishes the Institute's intention. The Society of Accountants applies to the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London asking to be constituted as a 'sworn body of Accountants'.
1878 (31 Dec) The Society of Accountants sends a deputation to the Council of the Institute of Accountants suggesting an amalgamation of the two bodies.
1879 A Companies Act is passed requiring all banks to have properly audited accounts.
1879 (Jan) The Council of the Institute of Accountants formally considers merging with the Society of Accountants and concludes it is a good idea in principle if satisfactory terms can be arranged.
1879 (14 Jan) The Institute of Accountants receives deputations from by the Liverpool Society, the Manchester Institute, the Sheffield Institute and the Accountants' Incorporation Association requesting affiliation should they gain incorporation.
1879 (16 Jan) At a joint meeting the Council of the Institute of Accountants and the Society of Accountants in England discuss the question of admission to the Institute those also practising in business.
1879 (22 Jan) The Council of the Institute of Accountants meets to discuss the question of admitting accountants also practising in other businesses. They unanimously agree 'that the true interest of the profession requires that eligibility for membership should be limited to persons whose business is that of public accountant'.
1879 (4 Feb) At a Council meeting of the Institute of Accountants a Committee is constructed to complete the Bill, monitor its progress through Parliament, and report back.
1879 (Feb) The Society of Accountants in England meets to inform members that negotiations for the amalgamation of the Institute of Accountants and the Society of Accountants in England has ceased and that the Society is opposing the Bill.
1879 The Bill is handed to Lord Redesdale (House of Lords) and Sir John Lubbock (House of Commons) who consult the Duke of Richmond, Lord President of the Council. They advise the Institute of Accountants to drop the Bill and apply instead for a Royal Charter.
1879 (31 Jul) A draft petition for a Royal Charter is read to the Council of the Institute of Accountants. It is signed by the Presidents of the Institute of Accountants, the Society of Accountants in England, the Manchester and Sheffield Institutes, the Liverpool Society and by two practitioners on behalf of the Accountants' Incorporation Association. Along with a draft of the proposed Charter, it is given to the Privy Council.
1879 (Aug) The Institute of Accountants' Vice-President, John Ball, dies.
1880 (24 Mar) Royal Charter of Incorporation is granted. By its terms the signatory bodies to the petition are to merge and form a new body called the 'Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales' that all the members of the signatory bodies are eligible to join.
1880 (11 May) The Royal Charter Order in Council is signed by Queen Victoria creating the new professional body called The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW).
1880 (26 May) At the first meeting of the ICAEW, W.G. Howgrave, Secretary of the old Institute of Accountants, is appointed Secretary at a salary of £400 per year. A clerk is appointed to assist him at a salary of 18 shillings per week.
1880 The College of Heralds grants the ICAEW a Coat of Arms.
1880 Scottish Institute of Accountants is formed.
Next section: 1881 - 1913