At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What are Chartered Accountants?

Victoria Blackburn
Victoria Blackburn

Chartered accountants are qualified accountants who have undergone further training and skills examination in addition to their accounting qualification. Becoming a chartered accountant qualifies the person for membership of their home institute. Home institute is a collective term for a group of accounting institutes spread across the English-speaking world in countries like Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and South Africa.

The term “chartered” originated when Queen Victoria granted royal charters to the profession over 150 years ago. A rigorous process of training is undergone for any accountant to gain the title of chartered accountant. Due to what is involved in attaining this title, the designation of the term chartered accountant has become a world standard for professional conduct and expertise in the accounting field.

A chartered accountant is a CPA in the United States.
A chartered accountant is a CPA in the United States.

All additional training to become a chartered accountant must be undertaken with a suitably registered training organization. While still working and studying, the candidate must also be under the mentorship of an experienced chartered accountant. This intensive training and study increases versatility in the roles that can be undertaken and exposes candidates to a wide range of industries and businesses.

Once admitted to the home institute, chartered accountants are required to maintain the highest standards of professional conduct and ethics in order to remain as members. They must keep up to date with global developments in commerce and finance, and particularly any legislative or taxation changes introduced by various governments. Their home institute will continue to supervise ongoing professional development to maintain levels of competence in all members.

With the continued expansion of global trade, the role of chartered accountants in international commerce has increased, and the range and scope of their professional activities includes all types of financial accounting, management and investing. As most businesses now operate globally to varying degrees, chartered accountants with international business experience are highly valued. Managers, investors, tax authorities, and others turn to chartered accountants for financial information that can confidently be used in decision making and strategizing.

Increased public pressure for organizations to be good corporate citizens has caused chartered accountants to be placed in positions of trust in senior management and board positions. They understand the desire of investors and stakeholders for more honesty and transparency in disclosure reporting, and have the skills and training to deliver that assurance. Chartered accountants are well-placed to understand the developing international corporate environment and as a result, to guide their organizations.

Discussion Comments


@Starjo - That is quite all right. When he began his career, he started at $40,000, because he had under the 3 years experience required for a higher salary. My dad looked into the salaries available in different states when he started.

The big states like New York and California offer more at an average of $75,000. Texas offers around $69,000.

Level of education makes a difference. After my dad got his master’s degree and CPA certificate, he became a Chief Financial Officer and now earns $120,000.


@Oceana - I don’t mean to pry, but I am curious as to how much a chartered accountant earns. I am studying accounting, and I seem to be very good at it. This might be something I could do.


My dad is a chartered accountant, and he is also a member of the Association of Chartered Accountants in the United States. This nonprofit organization represents more than 6,500 U.S.-based chartered accountants belonging to the home institutes worldwide.

ACAUS members must have international experience in both financial management of corporations and in public accounting. The association’s mission is to help members along in their continued success and promote respect and recognition of the position of Chartered Accountant. They provide information to educate the public about just what it means to be a chartered accountant.

I am grateful for ACAUS, because sometimes when people hear what my dad does, they think that his position isn’t as high ranked as a regular accountant. ACAUS tries to set people straight.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • A chartered accountant is a CPA in the United States.
      By: mim
      A chartered accountant is a CPA in the United States.