American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

They combine the talents of CIMA and The American Institute of CPAs to drive opportunity, trust, and prosperity for people, businesses, and economies around the world.

Patrick Curtis

Reviewed by

Patrick Curtis

Expertise: Private Equity | Investment Banking


October 7, 2022

The national professional Association for Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in the US is called the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, known as AICPA.

They combine the talents of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and The American Institute of CPAs to drive opportunity, trust, and prosperity for people, businesses, and economies around the world.

The 689,000 members, students, and active professionals that the AICPA and CIMA represent in public and management accounting serve as champions for businesses' general welfare and long-term viability on current and upcoming concerns.

Their goal is to advance the success of global business, CPAs, CGMAs, and specialist certifications by offering the most current information, resources, and advocacy while defending the changing needs of the general public.

To carry out its purpose, they collaborate with state CPA organizations and prioritize the regions where the public's reliance on CPA expertise is most significant.

With many members in 130 nations, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the primary professional association for CPAs in the United States.

The American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA), which was founded in 1887, is the body that establishes moral guidelines and American auditing standards.
Furthermore, it creates and evaluates the Uniform CPA Examination. New York City, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ, all house offices for the AICPA.

To give members access to additional levels of resources and recognition, they founded the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation alongside CIMA in 2012.

The Board of Directors of this Association serves as the governing council's executive committee and sets basic policies and Institutes programming.

Every 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, have representatives on the council elected and appointed.

The Board coordinates the volunteer committees that report to it and supervises management.


The AICPA and its predecessors were born from the American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA), founded in 1887.

The Association's name has changed several times, notably from the Association to the Institute of Public Accountants (1916) and the American Institute of Accountants (1917).

The American Society of Public Accountants (1921) and the American Institute of Accountants (1936) merged to create this organization. At that time, it was decided to restrict future membership to CPAs only.

In January 2012, this Association teamed up with its worldwide counterpart in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), to develop the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.

This organization and the CIMA collaborated to produce the Global Management Accounting Principles in 2014. (GMAPs). The AICPA and CIMA membership organizations continue to exist and offer their members all current special membership privileges.

This Association established a new standard in August 2019 to give auditors more direction and choices in auditing accounting estimates.

Section 540, Auditing Accounting Estimates, Including Fair Value Accounting Estimates, and Related Disclosures, of SAS No. 122 was replaced by this standard. It also changed a few other AICPA Professional Standards parts.

History of committees

Over the years, the number of committees increased steadily. First, there were 34 committees in the 1940s. Next, there were 89 by 1960. Finally, the number increased to 109 by 1970.

Approximately half of the standing committees were replaced with a volunteer group model that emphasized the utilization of task forces in 1999 when the nearly 120 existing committees underwent a restructure.

The more significant usage of task forces allowed for more focused efforts because each task force was assigned a particular mission and disbanded after that work was finished. The first task force tracking and management started in 1999 as well.


AICPA & CIMA, a partnership between American Institute of CPAs members and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, was established in 2017.

They currently work with 689,000 members, students, and professionals in 196 nations and territories. Their goal is to promote an energetic accounting industry prepared to handle the needs of a disruptive, ever-changing world.

They achieve this by giving accounting and financial professionals the instruments, materials, and information required to decipher complexity, foresee danger, and seize opportunities.

The Association expands the reputation, employability, and caliber of CPAs, CGMA holders, and accounting and finance professionals globally through its extensive reach, academic rigor, and financial resources.

Since its establishment in 1887, this Association has helped to establish accountancy as a profession characterized by the following:

  • demanding educational standards
  • high expectations for professionals
  • a rigid code of conduct for professionals
  • license standing
  • a dedication to acting in the public interest

They continue to increase trust and influence as the global leader in fostering vibrancy, relevance, and excellence across the accounting profession.

CPAs and CGMAs, who specialize in offering the most current information, resources, and advocacy, drive the success of global companies while defending the changing public interest.

They are trying to guarantee that the public continues to have faith in the honesty, neutrality, competency, and professionalism of CPAs on financial literacy to public policy concerns, peer review transparency, and audit committee effectiveness.

It represents the CPA profession nationally regarding establishing rules and standards. It also acts as an advocate before governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other professional organizations by:

  • provides educational guidance materials to its members
  • creates and grades the Uniform CPA Examination
  • monitors and enforces adherence to the technical and ethical standards of the profession
  • develops standards for audits of private corporations and other services provided by CPAs

Since its establishment, accountancy has been known for its demanding educational requirements, high professional standards, robust code of professional ethics, licensing status, and dedication to serving the public good.


The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants builds on a more-than-century tradition of quality. It was founded by members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the American Institute of CPAs.

Through its activities on behalf of this Association and CIMA members and students, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants is tasked with revolutionizing the worldwide accounting and finance profession.

The Association, which speaks for the profession as a whole, is the combined strength of AICPA and CIMA.

1. Who leads it?

The Association's Board of Directors serves as the central pillar of the governance system in support of public and management accounting.

The Board comprises 32 public and professional leaders who represent the various viewpoints and specialties of the membership and stakeholders they work. 

  • Volunteer leadership

Anoop Mehta, CPA, CGMA, is Chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

Melanie Kanaka, FCMA, CGMA, is Co-Chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

  • Executive leadership

Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, is CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. 

Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA, is CEO – of Public Accounting. Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, is CEO – of Management Accounting.

2. How the Association benefits the profession

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, which has 689,000 members, students, and active professionals worldwide, is accessible to members of this Association or CIMA.

The Association has 32 offices worldwide to offer perspectives from the business front lines, assist members and students, and promote the profession efficiently.

Additionally, they provide 55 certifications, designations, diplomas, and qualifications in specific fields, such as company valuation and International Financial Reporting Standards.

Additionally, they grant the CGMA credential, which exemplifies the abilities required to address the difficulties of a global economy and promote long-term success for businesses across the United States.

Relative concept – CIMA

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) supports the success of both individuals and organizations.

They utilize the full potential of management accounting, which goes beyond accounting for the balance sheet to include accounting for business.

They support academic research, foster thought leadership, maintain professional standards, and offer services for continuous professional development.

To give the finest study and exam experience, they uphold a code of ethics for members and collaborate with other tutors and assessment organizations.

  1. When was CIMA founded?

The world's largest and most prestigious organization for management accountants is CIMA, which was created in 1919. A royal charter establishing CIMA's incorporation and outlining the Institute's goals also affords its authority.

The Institute's governing papers are the Royal charter, bylaws, and regulations. 

They are the regulations that govern the behavior of all members and students and the management of CIMA through its council, which oversees the Institute under the bylaws.

2. Who leads CIMA

A 55-member Council, of which CIMA members choose 37, governs the organization.

The president, vice president, vice president-elect, immediately preceding president, and 14 co-opted members make up the remaining 18. The council convenes five times a year to deliberate and make decisions.

The leadership group is mainly formed by:

Melanie Kanaka, FCMA, CGMA, is President of CIMA and Co-Chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. 

Sarah Ghosh, FCMA, CGMA, is Deputy President of CIMA. 

Simon Bittlestone, FCMA, CGMA, is Vice President of CIMA. Paul Ash, FCMA, CGMA, is the Immediate Past President of CIMA. 

Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, is CEO – of Management Accounting of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

3. Requirements to become a member of CIMA.

CIMA keeps a diverse and energetic team, and no matter your educational background or work experience, CIMA is open to everyone.

The Uniform CPA Examination

All CPAs who want to be licensed must take and pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Board of Examiners (BOE), a committee of CPAs, state board regulators, psychometricians, and educators, creates and scores the exam.

  1. Professional standards setting

They established universally regarded professional and technical standards for CPAs in numerous fields. As a result, this Association had a near-monopoly in this industry until the 1970s.

But in the 1970s, it gave the newly established Financial Accounting Standards Board control over setting accepted accounting principles (GAAP) (FASB).

After then, it kept up its role in establishing standards for financial statement auditing, professional ethics, attest services, quality control for CPA firms, CPA tax practice, business valuation, and financial planning procedures.

The Association's standards in these areas were regarded as "generally recognized" for all CPA practitioners before the Sarbanes-Oxley law's adoption.

Congress created the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in the early 2000s in response to events like Enron's admission that its financial statements couldn't be trusted and WorldCom's petition for bankruptcy (SOX).

2. Credentials, designations, and scholarships

This organization provides its members with credentialing programs in specific topic areas. The credentials are comparable to state board certifications for attorneys, which likewise acknowledge subject-specific proficiency.

They provide Certifications in Financial Forensics (CFF), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) and Certified Public Accounting (CPA).

Two different credentials are available: Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) and Certified in Entity and Intangible Valuations (CEIV). The CITP was started in the year 2000.

The Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, founded in 2012, is issued by this Association in conjunction with CIMA.

CGMA designees are recognized as professionals with the credibility of advanced expertise in finance, operations, strategy, and management based on worldwide quality standards for ethics and performance.

The Institute provides scholarships for working adults, undergraduate and graduate students, and high school students. It comprises:

  • The Foundation High School Scholarship
  • The Legacy Scholarships
  • Minority Doctoral Fellowship Program
  • William Bill Ezzell Scholarship Program
  • Public interest campaigns

They also run public interest programs, including the Feed the Pig campaign and the 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy site. 

Feed the Pig, a national public service campaign sponsored by this Association, and the Ad Council provides personal finance resources for young Americans. 

Additionally, they manage public interest initiatives, including a comprehensive Financial Literacy website and the Feed the Pig campaign.

As part of the CPA Evolution program, this Association and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy declared in 2022 that a new Uniform CPA test would be released in 2024.

The new exam is built on a "Core + Discipline" approach and includes three discipline portions in addition to core examinations in accounting, auditing, and tax (candidates must select one to complete).

External roles of AICPA

Congressional representatives and senators from both parties who serve on key legislative committees important to CPAs get funding from the AICPA's Political Action Committee.

external roles

This organization participates actively in the Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition, the Global Accounting Alliance, and the International Federation of Accountants.

They are also members of the Caribbean Institute of Chartered Accountants.

  • Code of professional conduct

Each year, association members must certify that they have met the requirements for their membership kinds, have abided by the bylaws, and have upheld the Code of Professional Conduct.

Members are subject to audit, and if non-compliance is discovered, they risk being kicked out of the Association, which is meant to keep the professional level of their team.

  • Personal financial satisfaction index

Since the third quarter of 2018, this Association has released the personal financial happiness index, which reveals the general awareness of economic variables influencing the financial situation of the average American.


The Q3 2019 score shows that Americans financially reach a satisfactory level, which provides evidence of the successful role that the Association plays in maintaining the financial relationship between communities.

  • Government relations program

The Association also has a political action committee and a Washington office. In terms of legislation and other issues that concern the accounting profession, its members' watchdogs and advocates are on behalf of its members.

Collaborating with state CPA societies and other professional groups, they inform federal, state, and local officials on essential topics.

They represent the profession while defending the public interest, providing recommendations, or acting as an information resource.

With the government's efforts, they can better balance the harmonious environment of the accounting profession field and offer more public resources for those who would like to pursue a career in the future.

Key takeaways

  • AICPA brings together the skills of The American Institute of CPAs and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants to promote opportunity, trust, and prosperity for individuals, companies, and economies around the world.
  • The 689,000 members, students, and working professionals that the AICPA and CIMA represent in public and management accounting operate as a voice for the well-being of society and the long-term success of companies on present and future issues.
  • By providing the most current knowledge, resources, and advocacy while protecting the evolving demands of the general public, their mission is to improve the success of the global business, CPAs, CGMAs, and expert certifications.
  • CIMA fully uses management accounting, extending beyond balance sheet accounting to cover business accounting.
  • CIMA upholds a code of ethics for its members, encourages thought leadership, upholds professional standards, offers services for ongoing professional development, and works with other tutoring and assessment organizations.
  • The Uniform CPA Examination, certification for public accountants who have attained a professional designation through a combination of education, experience, and licensing, must be taken and passed by all CPAs who wish to get a license.
  • The association provides a code of professional conduct, improves the personal financial satisfaction index, and participates actively in government relations programs.
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Researched and authored by Xinyue Xu

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