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Accounting qualifications at a glance

In Ireland, the professional accountancy qualification landscape is dominated by four main accountancy bodies; Chartered Accountants Ireland, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA). These bodies cover 97% of all members and 99.7% of all students of professional accountancy bodies in Ireland.

Some of the headlines about each of the accountancy bodies (in alphabetical order) are:




  • Recognised accountancy body by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) for statutory auditor recognition purposes;
  • Typically associated with training in industry;
  • Significant global presence with over 183,000 members worldwide (IAASA, 2015); and
  • Education isn’t centralised, it’s provided through a network of approved learning partners.



Chartered Accountants Ireland

  • Ireland’s largest accountancy body, based on the number of members;
  • Typically associated with training in practice – Big 4/10 dominated by chartered accountants;
  • Now offering a more flexible training route via the Chartered Business Route and distance learning;
  • Recognised accountancy body by IAASA for statutory auditor recognition purposes; and
  • Education is centralised and provided by Chartered Accountants Ireland itself.




  • Recognised accountancy body by IAASA for statutory auditor recognition purposes;
  • The CPA designation is the most commonly-used designation worldwide for professional accountants; and
  • Education isn’t centralised. It’s provided through a network of CPA-approved educators.




  • The world’s largest professional body of management accountants;
  • An industry-focused qualification – currently no students in practice (IAASA, 2015);
  • Not a recognised accountancy body by IAASA and thus, members cannot become statutory auditors. This will be an issue if you wish to open your own practice in future;
  • Members can use the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation – a collaboration between CIMA and AICPA;
  • Education isn’t centralised; it’s provided through a network of tuition providers under the CIMA global learning scheme.


Now that you’re up to speed on the main qualifications out there, your team at Cruncher have lots more information and insights under the qualifications section to help you decide which qualification might be right for you.








Ed Heffernan

Ed's experience spans over 15 years with local and global names. A subject matter expert in, and advocate of, accounting careers.

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