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Guide to historical resources

The collection of the ICAEW Library & Information Service includes many resources that can be used by researchers to trace the history of the profession, the evolution of accounting practice and the lives of accountants.

In this guide we highlight some of the material within the collection and the tools available to help you make best use of our resources.

The ICAEW Library & Information Service also holds an archive of over 600 historic accountancy journals (UK and International titles) covering the late nineteenth century to the present day.

Further valuable material for researchers can be found within the ICAEW archive at the London Metropolitan Archives and the collection of Accounting Standards Committee/Auditing Practice Committee papers at John Rylands University Library.

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

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.

Accounting Standards Committee Archives
Guide to the special collection of ASC and ASSC papers (1952-1990) held by John Rylands University Library.

Auditing Practices Committee Archives
Guide to the special collection of APC papers (1971-1991) held by John Rylands University Library.

Liverpool Record Office
The Liverpool Record Office holds the collection of the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants, including the original records of the Incorporated Accountants District Society of Liverpool and Liverpool Chartered Accountants Library.

Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives
Manchester Central Library holds the records of the Manchester Institute of Chartered Accountants.

National Register of Archives
Search the National Register of Archives to locate the archives of firms of Chartered Accountants.

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.

Historical Accounting Literature

The ICAEW collection of historical accounting literature currently comprises over 4,000 volumes and includes works published from the 15th century to the early 20th century. The collection includes books and journals in a variety of languages.

Can't find what you're looking for?

The ICAEW Library can give you the right information from trustworthy, professional sources that aren't freely available online. Contact us for expert help with your enquiries and research.