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Historical documents relating to the accountancy profession can be found in various archives across the UK. This page highlights some of the key archives and resources that can help you with your research.

The ICAEW conducted an archive survey of member firms in 1991-1992 and the information gathered was published in Chartered accountants in England and Wales- a guide to historical records in 1994. It is a useful starting point for research into accountancy firms, with an overview of the types of records that may have been retained.

We have produced this illustrated presentation (PDF 2.7mb/25 pages) which gives an overview of print and online resources available from the Library & Information Service for those researching the history of accounting and the accountancy profession.

Archival material held by the ICAEW Library & Information Service

If you find any historical material about the ICAEW or the accountancy profession in general and would like to discuss lodging it within the LIS Archive please contact us.

Archival material held at London Metropolitan Archives

A substantial collection of archival material from ICAEW has been deposited at London Metropolitan Archives, including material relating to the Institute of Accountants and Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors.

Archival material held by other institutions

Commissioning Research

Many firms and individual members have commissioned us to undertake research from the material held by the Library, for a range of projects that have included biographies, family histories, and centennial histories of the foundation of firms (although we are not able to conduct research into archival material held by other institutions). If you would like to speak to a member of the Library & Information Service enquiry team about commissioning research and the costs involved you can reach us by telephone, email, post or webchat.

Post: Library & Information Service
Institute of Chartered Accountants
11 Copthall Avenue
London EC2R 7EF

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7920 8620

Email: library@icaew.com

Examples of research projects completed

  • Research into the early careers of the founding members of a Far-Eastern accountancy firm for a celebration of the firm's history.
  • Research into early accounting journals to establish when an accountancy firm was founded.
  • Research into the development of an accountancy firm through membership/firm directories.
  • Research into the grandfather of a current member for a family history project, to locate details of the prizes he won.
  • A listing of the previous offices of a firm of Chartered Accountants in Manchester for their records.

Information on these projects are provided with the kind permission of our clients.