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London accountancy society celebrates 150th anniversary

Author: ICAEW

Published: 29 Apr 2021

One of the earliest known UK accountancy organisations has celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding.

The London Society of Chartered Accountants (LSCA), which traces its roots back to 1871, had its 150th anniversary on 18 April 2021. 

It marked the milestone with an online event on Tuesday 20 April, attended by 75 people including ICAEW President David Matthews and Chief Executive Michael Izza; LSCA committee members, past presidents and chairmen; ICAEW Council members for London; and presidents of other ICAEW District Societies. Speakers including LSCA’s current president Vicky Andrew, David Matthews and Dame Teresa Graham, who was the first female chairman of the LSCA in 1994-95, discussed the society’s past and shared a toast to its future.

The LSCA supports 36,000 members in Greater London, who come from accountancy practices of all sizes and who work in business, public sector and the third sector. The society promotes the accountancy profession, with educational events and training opportunities, and hosting committees to discuss how to respond to issues facing accountants in the capital.

Vicky Andrew, LSCA President, said:

“It’s an honour to be president of the London Society of Chartered Accountants as we celebrate this anniversary. It was enjoyable learning more about our history and talking to our esteemed past presidents to mark the occasion. 

“Three months before I took office, the country went into the first pandemic lockdown. At the time, I still hoped that we could have a real-life event for this anniversary. Although that hasn’t been possible, we’ve still had a celebration we all enjoyed.

“Occasions like this help us focus on how we can make things better and give us the opportunity to look to the future. As chartered accountants we now have the immediate challenge of helping businesses that have suffered during the coronavirus crisis. We will support our members to do this and be a force in the revival of the economy.”

Dame Teresa Graham, LSCA Chairman in 1994-95, said:

“I really enjoyed my year as chairman of the LSCA and hope l helped pave the way for women, who were scarce at senior levels within our profession, to recognise that they could do whatever they set their minds to. It was wonderful to reminisce during this anniversary event and see that the society is still going strong.”

The LSCA has its origins in The Institute of Accountants in London, which began as a meeting of nine accountants at 3 Moorgate Street in June 1870. This became a London institute in April 1871, with its purpose to elevate the attainments and status of professional accountants in London, to promote efficiency and usefulness and to give expression to their opinions upon all questions of their profession’.

In 1921, a London Members Committee was formed and in 1942 it adopted a new constitution to bring it in line with other district societies. Today, the LSCA has four area societies - North West, South West, South East, and West London, along with a North London branch. It is also affiliated with a Canary Wharf Members Group, and the Guernsey and Jersey societies. 

At around the same time the London institute was founded, the Society of Accountants in England was also formed, supported initially by a Sheffield society. In 1879, on the advice of the Duke of Richmond, the London institute, and the Society of Accountants in England, together with new Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield institutes, jointly petitioned for a Royal Charter of Incorporation. This charter was granted on 24 March 1880 and signed by Queen Victoria on 11 May 1880, resulting in the creation of a new body - the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

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