Posted by: The Ellis Team

A history of Chartered Accounting

In the business world, we can often overlook the rich history behind many of the functions that are part and parcel of a successful enterprise, including accounting.

The art of accounting can be traced back thousands of years to Mesopotamia, finding development alongside the written word and the exchange of money. Following this, we know that both the early Egyptians and Babylonians created their own auditing systems, the Romans kept detailed financial information and the first accountants can be traced back to Iran around 300 BC where bookkeeping scripts have been found.

The rise of modern accounting practices

While not the inventor of accounting, the first instance of what we may consider to be modern accounting was created by Italian, Luca Pacioli in 1494, who was the first person to utilise a system of debits and credits within journals and ledgers; this is, as we all know, the foundation of modern day accounting.

Accountants in Scotland have also played a huge part in the evolution of modern accounting, with the Institute of Accountants petitioning Queen Victoria in the mid-1800s for a Royal Charter which would allow accountants to set themselves apart from solicitors, where they would have previously been acknowledged as simply an additional service for a legal firm. This petition was successful and in 1854, the term ‘Chartered Accountant’ was widely adopted.

Of course, the Industrial Revolution saw the rise of more complex company structures, and therefore the requirements for accounting systems grew tremendously and demand grew rapidly for the skills of an accountant. Ultimately this led to accountancy becoming a recognised profession in the UK and subsequently in the US.

Present day accounting

In the near 200 years since, Chartered Accountancy has come a long way; from the rise of professional accountancy bodies to huge developments in technology, Chartered Accountancy is key to a business’ success and growth.

Want to delve deeper into the history of Chartered Accounting? The ICAEW has provided an in-depth timeline from 4000 BC to the present day, take a look here.

Are you looking for the support of a Chartered Accountant? Speak to the Ellis & Co team today by calling 01244 343 504 or emailing



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