Financial Chartered Accountants
Chartered accountants were the first accountants to form a professional accounting body, initially established in Scotland in 1854. The Edinburgh Society of Accountants (formed 1854), the Glasgow Institute of Accountants and Actuaries (1854) and the Aberdeen Society of Accountants (1867) were each granted a royal charter almost from their inception. The title is an internationally recognised professional designation, and is generally equivalent to the American certified public accountant designation.
Chartered accountants work in all fields of business and finance, including audit, taxation, financial and general management. Some are engaged in public practice work, others work in the private sector and some are employed by government bodies.
Chartered accountants' institutes require members to undertake a minimum level of continuing professional development to stay professionally competitive. They facilitate special interest groups (for instance, entertainment and media, or insolvency and restructuring) which lead in their fields. They provide support to members by offering advisory services, technical helplines and technical libraries. They also offer opportunities for professional networking, career and business development.
Chartered accountants in Australia belong to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and use the designatory letters CA. Some senior members (at least 10 years' membership) of the Institute may be elected Fellows and use the letters FCA. Of equal legal status and recognition in Australia as Qualified Professional Accountants are Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and CPA Australia
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) is the national professional accounting body of Bangladesh. Established in 1973, it is the sole organization with the right to award the chartered accountant designation in Bangladesh. Senior members (at least 5 years' membership) of the Institute are called Fellow members and use the letters FCA.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bermuda works with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and is the sole organisation in Bermuda with the right to award the chartered accountant designation.
In Canada, chartered accountants belong to the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants ("CICA") by way of membership in at least one provincial/territorial institute (or order in Quebec). In order to become a member, a candidate requires an undergraduate degree plus experience and, depending on the province, additional education. Candidates in all provinces are required to pass the 3-day Uniform Evaluation ("UFE").
Since 2012, CICA has been in a process of unification with the other two accounting bodies in Canada. Canadian CAs, along with Certified General Accountants (CGA) and Certified Management Accountants (CMA), have now adopted the designation Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), making the term "Chartered Accountant" obsolete.
In the Czech Republic, chartered accountants are generally members of Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Czech Republic and use the designatory letters CA (chartered accountant) or CAE (chartered accountant expert). Chartered accountants may also be members of the Chamber of the Chartered Accountants.
Under the Mutual Recognition Directive, EEA and Swiss nationals holding a professional qualification can become members of the equivalent bodies in another member state. They must, however, pass an aptitude test in understanding local conditions (which for accountants will include local tax and company law variations).
The local title is, however, not available for use if the professional does not choose to join the local professional body. For example, a holder of the French 'expert compatible' qualification could practise as an accountant in England without taking a local test but could only describe him/herself as "expert comptable (France)" not "chartered accountant". Within the EEA, only the UK and Ireland have bodies that issue the chartered accountant title.
In India, chartered accountants are regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India which was established by the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. Prior to 1949, Restricted State Auditors were registered with the respective princely states and British provincial state governments. Associate members of the ICAI are entitled to add the prefix 'CA' to their names. Members who are in full-time practice, and have completed 5 years of practice, can add 'FCA' as a prefix to their names.
As of April 2014, ICAI had nearly 230, 000 registered members.
Entry to the profession can be by taking the CPT after completion of schooling (12th grade). Alternatively, graduates may take the Intermediate exam.
The intermediate examination is divided into 2 groups of subjects. On clearing the first group of the IPC level, the student has to get training as an articled assistant for three years in a Chartered firm. In the third year of training, before taking the final exam, trainees have the option to work in any industry. A comprehensive 100 hours Information Technology training and an orientation programme for soft skills development have to be completed before being articled.
For overall development, the student has to undergo two training courses in soft skills and communication, named GMCS I & GMCS II, which usually last for fifteen days each. GMCS-I has to be completed within 1 year of being articled, while GMCS-II and advanced Information Technology training have to be completed in the final year of articleship or can be undertaken after the exams.
In Ireland, chartered accountants are generally members of Chartered Accountants Ireland and use the designatory letters ACA or FCA. Chartered accountants may also be members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
After completion of three level of examination CAP I, CAP II, and CAP III with 3 years of Article ship Training under qualified CA, one can get the membership of ICAN and with the COP one can practice as professional body.
In New Zealand, chartered accountants belong to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and use the designatory letters CA. Some senior members may be elected Fellows and use the letters FCA.
There is also a mid-tier qualification called associate chartered accountant with the designatory letters ACA. Associate chartered accountants are not eligible to hold a Certificate of Public Practice and therefore cannot offer services to the public.