Our journey: How our history supports your future

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Employers recognise the prestigious history behind ACCA qualifications, which embodies over 110 years of innovation and excellence. Take a look at a few key dates and it’s easy to see why.

Since our launch in 1904, we’ve worked hard to be first, from being the first accountancy body to talk about 'certified accountants' to becoming the number one student choice for accountancy qualifications in the world. Here’s how we did it. 

2010s

Our most recent achievements are some of our most impressive. We became the first professional body to sponsor a massive open online course (MOOC) from FutureLearn in partnership with the University of Exeter. That makes us the first global accountancy body to use a social learning platform to increase worldwide access to the profession for students. In 2011, we also launched Foundations in Accountancy, a new entry-level suite of qualifications. Our global network of offices expands to 91 as we become the first global accountancy body to open an office in Myanmar. We are also proud Gold Sponsors of the World Congress of Accountants in Malaysia in 2010, with more than 6,000 delegates in attendance.

2000s

Reaching 100,000 members in 2004, and with record numbers of students registering, ACCA launches an exclusive MBA programme alongside a Diploma in International Financial Reporting (DipIFR) and a Certificate in International Auditing (CertIA). ACCA Connect opens for business as the first 24-7 student contact centre to be set up by a global accountancy body. The continuing professional development scheme is launched, as is a revamped ACCA Qualification with greater focus on ethics and professionalism. ACCA also celebrates 20 years in China under the banner of “Partners in Progress”.

1990s

With 50,000 members and nearly 130,000 students, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is unveiled as our new name. This coincides with many educational developments, including introduction of a BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting, and the launch of a new university and college registration scheme.
The Certified Accounting Technician qualification (CAT) is also introduced. We also become the first global body to introduce computer-based exams.

1980s

As Vera di Palma becomes the first female president of an international accountancy body, the association establishes its first branches in the US and Canada. It also begins to explore opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet states and the Russian Federation, and commences market development in mainland China.

1970s

International focus turns to Australia with the establishment of a committee. This subsequently expands to include New Zealand.

1960s

Full-time study is introduced for the first time, alongside further expansion in Africa and the introduction of a joint examination scheme in Jamaica. This leads to partnerships with many bodies in the Caribbean. 

1950s

Global reach expands significantly as branches are established in Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Nigeria and Malawi. Nearly 60 per cent of members now work in the corporate sector.

1940s

A joint university scheme is introduced, and members’ letters are formalised as FACCA for fellow, and AACCA for associate member.

1930s

Membership increases significantly after merging with the Scottish-based Corporation of Accountants. The association now boasts 56 female members – more than all the other UK accountancy bodies combined. 

1910s

Membership is formalised, with applicants having to pass final examinations and complete five years' relevant experience. The first branch is established outside the UK in South Africa.

1900s

Eight pioneering accountants launch the forerunner of ACCA on 30 November 1904, called the London Association of Accountants. By the end of the decade it has 1,000 members, launches its first examinations and draws its first international members. The concept of 'certified accountants' is introduced almost immediately.

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