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An overview of ICAEW

ICAEW is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 147,000 chartered accountants worldwide. We provide qualifications and professional development, share our knowledge, insight and technical expertise, and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession.

As leaders in accountancy, finance and business our members have the knowledge, skills and commitment to maintain the highest professional standards and integrity. Together we contribute to the success of individuals, organisations, communities and economies around the world.

Because of us, people can do business with confidence.


Committees at ICAEW are one of the ways that members can become involved in their institute. Committees are used to develop policy, to seek views on current issues, to draw on members’ technical expertise and to handle disciplinary matters.

There are also three committees that support the running of ICAEW and which report directly to council – the audit committee, the nominating committee and the senior staff appointments committee.

All of the committees’ responsibilities and terms of reference are set out in a formal scheme of delegations.


The Council is ICAEW’s supreme governing body, responsible for oversight of its activities. Council agrees ICAEW’s strategy and budget, delegating day to day operation to committees and staff.

The majority of Council is elected by ICAEW members, supplemented by co-opted and ex officio members. This is to ensure that Council represents the main sectors and interests of the whole membership.

ICAEW’s Board has overall responsibility for ICAEW’s planning and budgeting process and the development of policy.

It is supported by five boards that oversee the main areas of ICAEW activity - Professional Standards Board, Learning and Professional Development, Member Services, Technical Strategy and Commercial.

The Executive Leadership Team is responsible for the delivery of ICAEW’s operational plan. It also has an important role in helping to shape ICAEW strategy. It is supported by the management team which includes Departmental Directors. 


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.
  • 1919 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

Job vacancies

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

Key facts about ICAEW

Name: ICAEW (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)
Founded: 1880
Headquarters: Chartered Accountants' Hall, London
Offices: UK, Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore
Members: Over 147,000 chartered accountants around the world

Vision, mission and values

Our vision is for ICAEW to be acknowledged as leading the global accountancy and finance profession, so people can do business with confidence.

We will achieve this by fulfilling the objectives set out in our Royal Charter. These are to:-

  • Advance the theory and practice of accountancy, finance, business and commerce.
  • Recruit, educate and train a body of members skilled in accountancy and finance.
  • Preserve at all times the professional independence of accountants.
  • Maintain high standards of practice and professional conduct by all members.
  • Advance the profession of accountancy.

We believe in acting responsibly, in the best interests of our members and the general public. We act with integrity, creating effective partnerships with organisations and communities worldwide to ensure the highest technical, professional and ethical standards.