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Chartered Accounting vs. Certified Accounting Navigating the World of Accounting Designations and Hiring process

Chartered Accountant VS Certified Accountant

Octa Accountants

Reading Time

4 Min Read

Publish Date

Oct 7, 2023

Blog Category

Ecommerce Accountants

In the realm of accounting careers, two notable designations stand out: Chartered Accountants and Certified Public Accountants. While both titles involve the word “accountant,” they represent distinct professional paths with varying scopes and areas of recognition. A Chartered Accountant is a designation typically conferred by professional accounting bodies in various countries, whereas a Certified Public Accountant is recognized mainly within the UK. Despite their differing spheres of influence, both designations symbolise a high level of expertise in accounting and finance. Earning these designations requires meeting specific educational criteria and adhering to a strict code of ethics. Let’s dive into the comparison of Chartered Accountant VS Certified Accountant.

Chartered Accountant VS Certified Accountant

What are the responsibilities of a chartered accountant?

In addition to providing standard accounting services, chartered accountants are equipped to offer guidance on specific business and financial matters.These encompass:

Corporate finance, such as securing funding for mergers, acquisitions, and capital restructuring. Financial management within a company, including detailed cash flow projections and fund management. Offering personal financial counsel, catering to both individuals and businesses. Engaging in forensic accounting to support investigations into commercial fraud. Thanks to their extensive expertise, chartered accountants often possess the ability to provide insights beyond the scope of regular accountants. They frequently have specialised experience in particular domains, such as working with High Net Worth Individuals dealing with complex personal finances or estates, or serving as expert witnesses in criminal cases within the field of accountancy.

Chartered Accountant VS Certified Accountant: Key Differences

It’s essential to understand the significant distinctions between Chartered Accountants and Certified Public Accountants. This section will delve deeper into the key differences that set these designations apart within the UK context.

1. Recognition Within the UK:

Chartered Accountants, designated by professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), hold significant recognition within the UK. In contrast, CPAs, primarily recognized in the United States, may need to navigate additional certification requirements to practise as CPAs within the UK.

2. Educational Requirements:

Becoming a Chartered Accountant in the UK typically involves completing a comprehensive educational program, including academic coursework, rigorous professional exams, and practical training. CPAs, on the other hand, are not as commonly pursued within the UK due to the dominance of Chartered Accountants.

3. Professional Responsibilities:

Chartered Accountants in the UK often specialise in areas such as audit, taxation, and advisory services. They play a pivotal role in ensuring financial transparency and compliance with accounting standards. While CPAs have a global presence, they are not as prominently featured in the UK’s accounting landscape.

Factors to Consider When Hiring an CPA or Chartered Accountant

When deciding to hire an accountant, whether it’s a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a Chartered Accountant, there are essential factors to keep in mind:

1. Cost Implications:

The fees charged by both CPAs and Chartered Accountants can fluctuate based on specific criteria, including:

  • Your business’s annual turnover.
  • The size of your workforce.
  • The frequency of their services.
  • The complexity of financial matters.

Both designations often command higher fees compared to standard accountants. While typical accountants may charge an hourly rate ranging from £25 to £35 for fundamental accounting services, specialised services like tax planning or business advisory, provided by either a CPA or Chartered Accountant, may cost up to £150 per hour.

2. Qualifications and Professionalism:

When hiring an accountant, regardless of the designation, it’s crucial to assess their qualifications and professionalism:

For CPAs, ensure they possess a valid practising licence from recognized bodies such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

For Chartered Accountants, check for a valid practising certificate from respected organisations like the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

3. Industry Expertise:

Inquire about the accountant’s experience within your specific industry or related fields. Familiarity with your sector can significantly enhance their ability to address your financial needs effectively.

4. Past Work Assessment:

Request examples of their previous projects and client work. Evaluating case studies or prior client engagements, especially those relevant to your unique requirements, can provide valuable insights into their capabilities and suitability for your specific needs.


Understanding the distinctions between Chartered Accountants and Certified Public Accountants is crucial when pursuing an accounting career within the United Kingdom. Moreover, considering UK-specific factors can help you make an informed decision and choose the designation that best aligns with your career goals and aspirations within the UK’s accounting landscape.

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