Institute of Financial Accountants

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Institute of Financial Accountants
Established 1916 (1916)
Type Professional Association
Professional title
Incorporated Financial Accountant (FFA or AFA)
Headquarters The Podium, 1 Eversholt Street, Euston, London, England NW1 2DN
Region served
Services Accountancy
Key people
Eric Anstee (Chairman), Earl of Westmeath (Patron)
Subsidiaries Federation of Tax Advisers (FTA)
Slogan To be the lead international professional body for accountants primarily serving small and medium business enterprises

The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) is a professional body representing financial accountants in the United Kingdom as well as abroad.

The IFA represents members and students in more than eighty countries, and sets both technical and ethical standards for its members within the accounting profession.

The IFA is a full member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

The Institute's headquarters are located in Euston, London, England since 17 April 2015, it's previous address was in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. In addition, the IFA has representatives in offices around the world.


The IFA was established in 1916 and is the oldest non-chartered accountancy body in the world.

A timeline of key dates in the history of the IFA and its predecessor bodies is:[1]

  • 1916–c1966: Institute of Book-keepers
  • c1967–1974: Institute of Book-keepers and Related Data Processing
  • 1974–1982: Institute of Administrative Accounting and Data Processing
  • 1982–1987: Institute of Administrative Accountants
  • 1988 to present : Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA)

On 3 June 2009, the Federation of Tax Advisers (FTA) merged with the IFA to become part of the IFA Group.[2]

On 1 January 2015, IFA amalgamated with Australia’s Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and became part of the IPA Group.

IFA council[edit]

The IFA council is responsible for governance of the Institute. The current chairman of the council is Eric Anstee, who was elected chairman in 2007, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. James Tze Wing Kong is vice chairman of the council. The council is made up of thirteen members.

The Right Honourable Earl of Westmeath is the Patron of the IFA.

Admission to membership[edit]

To be admitted to membership of the IFA, applicants must generally complete a period of relevant work experience (training) and pass a series of examinations.[3][4][5] Applicants can also be admitted to membership by way of exemption or by accreditation of prior learning.


The IFA's primary qualification is the Incorporated Financial Accountant (FFA or AFA). The IFA is recognised by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). Ofqual regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland and grants formal recognition to bodies and organisations that deliver qualifications and assessments.[6]

Membership categories[edit]

The IFA has the following grades of membership:[7]

  • Fellow (FFA)
  • Associate (AFA)
  • Financial Accounting Executive (FAE/Dip FA) - Formerly Financial Accounting Technician (AFT)
  • Students studying towards an IFA accounting qualification can join the Institute's Student Register.

Both Fellow and Associate members of the Institute are entitled to describe themselves as Incorporated Financial Accountants. Fellowship (FFA) is the senior grade of membership.

Members of the IFA work in various sectors of accountancy, including public practice, industry, commerce, the public sector and education.

Individual members who describe themselves as Incorporated Financial Accountants must be members of the IFA, and if they carry out public practice engagements, must comply with additional regulations such as holding a practising certificate and adequate professional indemnity insurance.

Members are expected to improve and maintain their accounting knowledge and skills through lifelong learning by a structured Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.


IFA members are approved and recognised by Her Majesty’s Treasury (HM Treasury) as supervisors for the purpose of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation 2007.

In 2015, UK Cabinet Office to recognise full IFA listing of Charity Accounts. Full members of the IFA, Associate member (AFA) and Fellow Members (FFA), will be eligible to undertake independent examinations for charities in England and Wales with income above £250,000 under section 145 of the Charities Act 2011.

University links[edit]

In 2003 the IFA agreed to grant membership to accountancy graduates from the Bolton Institute, now the University of Bolton, where the course includes vocational aspects.[8] This strategic alliance also offers IFA members access to graduate level accountancy education.[9][10]

University of Northampton allows IFA members to apply their BA (Hons) International Accounting (Top Up Distance Learning) degree. The completion of this programme will give student a Level 6 qualification.

Links with other professional bodies[edit]

In 1997, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) granted reciprocal exemption to the IFA for seven of its exams.

In 2005, during a round of merger talks between certain chartered bodies, talks took place with the ICAEW with a view to establishing IFA both as a feeder body, and as a 'fall-back' professional body for accountants who had not passed the final exams of other bodies such as CIMA or ACCA.[11]

In 2006 talks took place between the IFA, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the International Association of Book-keepers (IAB), regarding the creation of a joint qualification structure.[12]

The IFA became an associate member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in 2008, and a full member in 2011.[13]

Until 2009, the IFA was associated with the International Association of Book-keepers (IAB),[1] which is now fully independent.

In October 2014, the IFA announced a merger with the Institute of Public Accountants of Australia to form the IPA Group; the world's largest SME/SMP professional accountancy body.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Index of UK and Irish Accountancy and Professional Bodies at ICAEW website
  2. ^ FTA’s First Annual Conference celebrated its merge with the IFA Group, FTA, 8 June 2009. Archived 14 July 2011 at WebCite
  3. ^ Graduate Jobs Accountant at
  4. ^ Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) at Manchester College of IT & Business. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  5. ^ Routes to membership. IFA.
  6. ^ Who we are, Ofqual. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  7. ^ British Qualifications, Kogan Page, 36th Edition (2006), page 440
  8. ^ Degree Partnership for Today's Accountant, press release from Bolton Institute, 27 March 2003. Archived 17 March 2011 at WebCite
  9. ^ BA (Hons) Accountancy IFA, listed under Business Management and Law, University of Bolton. "Holders of Associate membership of the Institute of Financial Accountants who have gained the qualification by assessment will be exempted from parts 1 and II". September 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  10. ^ BA (Hons) in Accounting via the IFA, Trans-Atlantic College, 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  11. ^ ICAEW talks planned new home for 'failed' chartereds, Accountancy Age, 19 Jan 2006
  12. ^ Accounting bodies to discuss qualifications merger, Accountancy Age, 24 Apr 2006
  13. ^ International Federation of Accountants Welcomes New Members and Associates, IFAC, 16 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  14. ^ Professional Planner
  15. ^ Accountancy Live 18 Dec 2014, Retrieved 10 Jan 2015

External links[edit]