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An overview of ICAEW

Chartered accountants are talented, ethical and committed professionals. ICAEW represents more than 208,000 members and students around the world. 99 of the top 100 global brands employ ICAEW Chartered Accountants.*

Founded in 1880, ICAEW has a long history of serving the public interest and we continue to work with governments, regulators and business leaders globally. And, as a world-leading improvement regulator, we supervise and monitor around 11,500 firms, holding them, and all ICAEW members and students, to the highest standards of professional competency and conduct.

We promote inclusivity, diversity and fairness and we give talented professionals the skills and values they need to build resilient businesses, economies and societies, while ensuring our planet’s resources are managed sustainably.

ICAEW is the first major professional body to be carbon neutral, demonstrating our commitment to tackle climate change and supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal 13.

ICAEW is a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW), a global family that connects over 1.8m chartered accountants and students in more than 190 countries. Together, we support, develop and promote the role of chartered accountants as trusted business leaders, difference makers and advisers.

We believe that chartered accountancy can be a force for positive change. By sharing our insight, expertise and understanding we can help to create sustainable economies and a better future for all.

* includes parent companies. Source: ICAEW member data February 2024, Interbrand, Best Global Brands 2023

Key facts about ICAEW 

  • Name: The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), incorporated by Royal Charter RC000246 with registered office at Chartered Accountants’ Hall, Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA
  • Founded: 1880
  • Headquarters: Chartered Accountants’ Hall, Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA
  • Offices: UK, Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Singapore and Vietnam
  • 95% of ICAEW’s membership is located in 10 countries: the UK, Australia, Canada, mainland China (including Hong Kong SAR), Cyprus, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, UAE and the US.
  • 169,722 members and 38,490 students around the world
  • 49% of our international members work in business and 23% work in practice.
  • 12,225 new students began studying for the ACA last year.

Our Unifying Dividers

Economia embodies the values that have always been at the core of our organisation. She has appeared on our coat of arms since 1880 and features on the facade of our London home, Chartered Accountants’ Hall.

She has three symbolic tools. The rod signifies command, the rudder represents guidance. The red dividers represent her unique powers of measurement and assessment, as well as her ability to draw perceptive insights from the world around her.

It’s those unique insights which enable us to contribute meaningfully and dynamically to our profession and the wider industry.

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Creating a world of sustainable economies together

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Although accountancy is hundreds of years old, it wasn’t until after the middle of the 19th century that the professional accountant became recognised. ICAEW was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1880, giving our members the right to use the designation ‘chartered accountant’.

Many of the founding fathers of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms were early ICAEW presidents - names such as Arthur Cooper, Frederick Whinney, William Welch Deloitte and Sir William Peat.

  • 1880 On 11 May ICAEW was granted a Royal Charter recognising its 'pre-eminence, stability and permanence' as well as defining its public interest remit.
  • 1893 Chartered Accountants' Hall, in the City of London, was completed to the design of the eminent Victorian architect, Sir John Belcher RA.
  • 1920 Mary Harris Smith is admitted to ICAEW, becoming the first female chartered accountant in the world.
  • 1930 The first extension to Chartered Accountant's Hall is built by J.J. Joass.
  • 1970 The extended and new building at Chartered Accountants’ Hall is opened by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
  • 1999 Baronness Noakes is the first woman to become president of ICAEW.
  • 2006 ICAEW are appointed by the European Commission to study the implementation of IFRS throughout the European Union.

Learn more about

For more information contact library@icaew.com

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Headquartered in the UK, we also have offices in Brussels, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.