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1881-1913

A timeline of the development of the Accountancy Profession in the United Kingdom. This page covers developments between 1881 to 1913, including the early organisation of ICAEW, the setting of standards for professional conduct, the construction of Chartered Accountants' Hall and the first application for ICAEW membership made by a woman.

1881 (Apr) A member is formally censured for advertising for work in liquidation cases under ICAEW's new disciplinary powers.
1883 A new Bankruptcy Act is passed establishing the position of Official Receiver. This removes insolvency, a main sources of revenue, from accountants. Thereafter, all monies held by trustees in bankruptcy had to be turned over to the Board of Trade's Bankruptcy Estates Account. The ICAEW Council is criticised for not protesting against it.
1883 Robert Harding ends his term as ICAEW's second president by taking up the post of Principle Official Receiver at a salary of £2000 a year.
1884 At the ICAEW Annual General meeting the Council decides to raise the standard of new entrants by making the entrance examinations more difficult.
1885 Society of Accountants and Auditors is formed by those unable to gain admittance to the ICAEW due to its tough entrance requirements.
1885 Corporate Treasurers' and Accountants Institute is formed.
1886 (24 Mar) Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association is established so successful accountants can contribute towards those in difficulty.
1888 The Financial Times begins publication.
1888 Chartered Accountants' Dining Club founded.
1888 Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) is formed.
1888 The ICAEW refuses admission to the first application for membership made by a woman, Mary Harris Smith.
1890 The architect John Belcher RA, wins an open competition to design a new headquarter building for the Institute to be called Chartered Accountants' Hall, in Moorgate Place in the City of London. Hamo Throncroft, R.A. is commissioned to create a sculptured frieze for the Hall's exterior.
1890 The foundation stone was laid in Moorgate Reception. Underneath is a copy of the Times, the Accountant, the Royal Charter, Institute's by-laws, a list of members and silver and copper coins of the day.
1891 Corporation of Accountants in Scotland is formed.
1893 Chartered Accountants' Hall is completed and opened by the President of the year, Edwin Waterhouse.
1893 The Society of Accountants and Auditors proposes strengthening the profession. Its recommendations become the Public Accountants Bill No. 1 calling for their members and those of the ICAEW alone to constitute the profession and bar all others from practising. A Public Accountants Bill No. 2 is drafted by the ICAEW calling for the registration their members to prevent all others from practising as public accountants. Both fail.
1894 Public Accountants of Liverpool is formed.
1895 The issue of admitting women to ICAEW is raised. The President of that year, Charles Fitch Kemp, comments that he would be so embarrassed by the admission of women that he would rather retire than consider it.
1896 Public Accountants of Liverpool is absorbed by association into the Society of Accountants and Auditors.
1897 A Chartered Accountants Bill is drafted by the Society of Accountants and Auditors and ICAEW calling for the amalgamation of the two bodies with the formation of an extended Institute.
1897 (13 Jan) Two Special General Meetings are held simultaneously by the Society of Accountants and Auditors and the Institute to discuss the proposal. Both reject the idea. The two bodies do not merge until 1957.
1899 Scottish Institute of Accountants is absorbed into the Society of Accountants and Auditors.
1900 A Companies Act is passed requiring that all limited companies must produce an audited balance sheet annually.
1901 Corporate Treasurers' and Accountants' is renamed the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants.
1901 Nottingham Society of Chartered Accountants is founded on 27 March 1901 (taken from the date of the meeting at which the rules and regulations were settled according to The Accountant, 11 May 1901). 
1903 Institution of Certified Public Accountants is formed.
1903 A Revenue Act is passed and defines the term 'accountant'. The act limits the right of audience before the Commissioner of Taxes to members of 'an incorporated body of accountants' only. This led to a proliferation of bodies in accountancy and was further defined by the Income Tax Act 1918.
1904 London Association of Accountants is formed.
1905 Central Association of Accountants is formed.
1908 Society of Accountants and Auditors is renamed the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors.
1909 The Companies (Consolidation) Act is passed requiring all companies to have properly audited accounts and making the auditor responsible for reporting to shareholders.
1909 President of the Board of Trade, Winston Churchill, requests the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors and the ICAEW admit women candidates.
1909 (13 May) London Association of Accountants admits the first woman accountant, Ethel Ayres Purdie.
1909 A draft Bill is prepared calling for a register of practising accountants in England and Wales to add status to the profession. It fails as there is no provision for Scotland and Ireland. It is reintroduced in March 1911 but opposed in the house.
Next section: 1914 - 1938