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Definition: accountant from The Macquarie Dictionary

a person whose profession is analysing and communicating financial information and maintaining financial records for an organisation.

(plural accountants)

accountantship noun

(plural accountantships)


Summary Article: accountant from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Person responsible for drawing up accounts, usually for a business organization. Accountants have traditionally concentrated on recording what has happened financially in the past. However, in management accounting, accountants are increasingly involved in helping to formulate policy for business organizations, providing information for decision-makers and frameworks for making those decisions.

Chartered accountants In Britain the different facets of accountancy and the distinction between independent professionals and employed management specialists are reflected in the large number of professional associations of accountants. All the associations set very high standards for membership, which involves passing a series of examinations over three years or more. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland is the oldest, founded in 1854, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales was established in 1880. Members must have spent a training period of at least three years with a professional partnership. Inevitably chartered accountants tend to specialize in auditing and financial accountancy.

Certified accountants The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), with a worldwide membership, was founded in 1904 as the Association of Certified Accountants specifically for accountants who had trained while being employed in industry, commerce, or the public service rather than with a professional partnership (which at that time involved severe financial hardship unless the trainee had independent means). In 1984 it became the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and in 1996 it adopted its present title. Members of the association (who are known as ‘certified accountants’) are entitled to undertake audits of company accounts.

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