Accountants And Their Origins

By: Daniel Owen

An accountant handles the disclosure, measurement or provision of assurance about financial information. This information is then used to help investors, managers, tax authority's maker resource allocation decisions. Accountants are practitioners of Accountancy.

A certified financial and accountancy expert in many countries is the designation accountant, or the more specific terms used such as professional account or qualified accountant. Different countries have their own examination and training systems to keep the quality of trained accountants in their jurisdiction. This is also true in other legally restricted professions like lawyers and doctors. There are a vast number of professional bodies all over the world for accountants.

Originally accountants only worked only in public practice for example: Selling advice and services to business and other individuals from professional accountancy firms. However today many accountants work within private corporations, government bodies and financial industries.

The word "Accountant" is derived from the French "Computer' which took its origin from the Latin "Computare." As a proof of its derivation the word was formerly written in English "Accomptant," but in process of time the word which was always pronounced by dropping the " p " became gradually changed both in pronunciation and in orthography to its present form.

An accountant was originally a person employed in connection with the keeping of accounts, and this term became also applicable to those who, being skilled in accounts, devoted their energies to making the examination and the stating of accounts their special occupation. From the word "Accountant" the term Accountancy, is derived.
New York University was the first to give accountancy an established place in the university curriculum by creating a "School of Commerce, Accounts, and Finance," which was the first school of accountancy in the world.

The requirements for entry in the profession of accounting vary from country to country.

Accountants may be licensed by a variety of organizations, and are recognized by titles such as Chartered Certified Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Certified General Accountant and Certified Practicing Accountant. Many countries recognize two or more accounting bodies. There is, however, no legal requirement for an accountant to be a paid-up member of one of the many Institutes and other bodies which are effectively a form of professional trade union. Unlike the Law Society, which can legally stop a solicitor from practicing, accountancy institutes do not have such authority. Generally, certain specialized areas of accountancy such as auditing and insolvency are tightly regulated. However, in Ireland it is a criminal offense for a person who is not a member of a recognised professional organisation to practice under the title "Accountant."

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation is unusual in the United States in that it does not have a statutory basis. However, it is accepted by industry and by its peer associations. In Canada the Canadian CMA designation is recognised under provincial/territorial legislation.

In the UK, there are no license requirements for an individual to describe himself/herself or practice as an accountant (except in the areas of audit or insolvency) but to use certain titles requires membership of one of the many appropriate professional bodies.

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About Author:
Daniel Owen writes about Accountants. To know more about Accountants visit at

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