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1914 - 1938

A timeline of the development of the Accountancy Profession in the United Kingdom. This page covers developments between 1914 and 1938, including the admission of the first women to the profession, the extension of Chartered Accountants' Hall and the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company fraud trial.

1914 - 1918 World War One brings an increase in accountancy work and accountants gain expertise in managing companies and banks, particularly those of enemy states. Accountants assist in the control of costs in relation to the production of ammunitions: management accounting is born. Wartime taxes increase the amount of taxation work available to accountants.
1914 The Prince of Wales National Relief Fund is formed. A Board of Audit Control is appointed to supervise income and control distribution. Local committees throughout the UK are formed and Institute members operate it for no remuneration.
1914 The Local Legislative Committee creates an 'audit clause' by stating that where professional audit is used the standards of the ICAEW and the of Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors alone should apply. This prevents new bodies of accountants from undertaking this range of work. However, each successive Bill to be presented has to repeat the claim. The new bodies challenge this each time but lose.
1914 The Postponement of Payments Act confirms a moratorium on the payment of certain negotiable instruments.
1915 The National Registration Act creates compulsory registration of all persons between 15 and 65.
1915 Conscription is introduced. The work of Chartered Accountants is recognised as being of national importance.
1918 Passing of the Income Tax Act repeals the working of the Revenue Act 1903 by stating 'An accountant means a person who has been admitted as a member of an incorporated society of accountants'.
1918 The Representation of the People Act gives women over 30 and men over 21 the vote. Women can also stand as MPs if they own property or are married to a property owner.
1918 (17 Oct) Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors holds a Special Meeting to discuss the admission of women.
1918 (11 Nov) Armistice day.
1918 (12 Nov) The Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors changes their rules to allow the admission of women.
1919 Mary Harris Smith, a public accountant with a London Practice who was refused admission to the ICAEW because she was a woman in 1891, applies to join the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors. The Society makes her an Honorary Fellow as they had previously given up Council powers to elect members in special cases without examination.
1919 The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act is passed making it illegal for the ICAEW to bar women from membership. Mary Harris Smith renews her application.
1919 Institute of Cost and Works Accountants is formed to support the new area of cost control work arising from the First World War.
1920 (May) Mary Harris Smith is admitted as a fellow of ICAEW and becomes the first woman Chartered Accountant in the world.
1920 Five women register as articled clerks.
1920 Miss H. M. Claridge, the daughter of the President of the ICAEW that year, is the first woman to be admitted to the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors by examination.
1922 Institute of Cost and Works Accountants applies for a Royal Charter but is unsuccessful.
1923 Institute of Poor Law Accountants is formed.
1923 British Association of Accountants and Auditors is formed.
1924 Miss Ethel Watts becomes the first woman Chartered Accountant to be admitted to the ICAEW by examination.
1927 Society of Statisticians and Accountants is formed.
1928 The Equal Franchise Act gives the vote to all adults over 21.
1928 Faculty of Auditors is formed.
1929 Sir Thomas Robinson, Chairman of the House of Commons Committee, calls for the accounting professionals to set up a register of properly qualified persons to prevent unqualified persons from practising under the definition of the Revenue Act 1903 and the Income Tax Act 1918.
1929 Institute of Company Accountants is formed.
1930 (7 Feb) Viscount Goschen chairs a Board of Trade Committee hearing on the question of registration. Seventeen different bodies of accountants give their views.
1930 (31 Jul) Board of Trade Committee decides against registration.
1930 50th Anniversary of the ICAEW. William Plender of Sundridge, ICAEW President 1929-1930, becomes the first Chartered Accountant to receive a peerage.
1930 The first extension to Chartered Accountants' Hall is built by J.J. Joass, a partner of the original architect.
1930 London Association of Accountants Ltd challenges the audit clause 1914 and successfully adds its name to the list of recognised bodies able to conduct audit work.
1931 Association of International Accountants is formed.
1931 The Chairman of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, Lord Kylsant, and its auditor, Chartered Accountant H. J. Morland, are tried for fraud. The case concerns concealment of transfers from secret reserves into the profit account when in fact the company had made heavy losses. Morland was found not guilty but the Chairman was imprisoned for a year. Accountancy bodies recognise the importance of stating true profit and loss accounts but this does not become a legal requirement until 1967.
1931 Association of International Accountants is formed.
1933 London Association of Accountants is renamed the London Association of Certified Accountants. The Municipal Corporations (Audit) Act is passed recognising the Association as a body of qualified accountants.
1933 Central Association of Accountants is absorbed by association into the Institution of Certified Public Accountants.
1935 Members of the Institute of Poor Law Accountants are admitted to the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants.
1936 Incorporated Association of Cost and Industrial Accountants is formed.
1938 Corporation of Accountants Ltd joins the London Association to become the Association of Certified and Corporate Accountants.
1938 Society of Accountants and Statisticians goes into liquidation. To date it is the only accountancy body to be unsuccessful.
Next section: 1939 - 1967