The role of a chartered accountant is to provide trustworthy information about financial records. A chartered accountant can usually help with: financial reporting, taxation, accounting systems, auditing, forensic accounting, accounting processes, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency.

A chartered accountants role is usually strategic, they’re aim is usually to maximize profitability for their clients. In-depth knowledge and experience is what sets Chartered Accountants apart from other accountants. Chartered Accountants are dedicated to completing their work to the highest standards. They have highly developed technical and communication skills. There is a high degree of ambition to achieve the best for their clients, along with a continuous commitment to self-improvement and development.

Chartered Accountants have can access work anywhere in the world in whatever industry they choose, they are members of the Global Accounting Alliance and the Chartered Accountant title is an internationally recognized professional designation.

What is the difference between a CA and CPA?

A Chartered Accountant most often works in public accountancy firms providing reporting and financial advice for external corporations or small business. CPA’s will normally work internally for corporations or small business providing expertise and resources within the business.

What Is A Chartered Accountant

To qualify to become a Chartered Accountant in the United States a person must have a tertiary degree with a major in Accountancy. This person must have worked for 26 weeks under a practicing Chartered Accountant and gain employment with a recognized Chartered Accountant organization. However, if Accountancy was not a major, then additional criteria must be met to qualify to become a CA. Qualifying to become a CPA is not as stringent as qualifying to become a chartered accountant. A person who is wanting to become a CPA must have a combination of work experience, tertiary education, completion of the CPA program, yearly personal development and they must follow the CPA code of conduct.

Opinions are varied but it is said that the CA program tends to be more strategic and that completing the CA program is more difficult. The CPA program is more practical and most complete the CPA program before attempting to qualify and gain membership into the CA program. Chartered Accountants have the edge in terms of international recognition. However, CPA is becoming better recognized in the world, with offices in 18 different countries.

The CPA program passing rate is remarkably high and is why most choose the Certified Public Accounting program. In the United States, the passing rate is above 90%, with a single online exam consisting of 4 pages of multiple choice questions. The Chartered Accountant program has three levels of exams and 16 papers that have objectives and descriptive questions are asked. The CA passing percentages are very low due to the stringent exams. The Chartered Accountant program will take longer to complete with a minimum of 4 years while CPA has a minimum completion time of 1 year in the United States.

Chartered Accountants in The UK

In the UK there are no licence requirements for individuals to describe or practise as an accountant, for helping their clients tax with matters they must register with HMRC. A Chartered Accountant must be a member of one of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) or Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Post supplied by Lyndon. Lyndon writes for Sochall Smith, a firm of Chartered Accountants based in Leeds.