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We are proud of our long history of bringing public finance professionals together, and championing the industry.

CIPFA started out in 1885 as the Corporate Treasurers and Accountants Institute. The first meeting was held in Manchester, a bustling industrial-centre at that time, growing at the kind of pace seen in Chinese and Indian cities today. The first president was George Swainson Borough Treasurer of Bolton (pictured).

Local authority treasurers had united to support each other, and share best practice, during a time of massive changes to the infrastructure of towns and cities, and to the living conditions of Victorian citizens.

On 6 January 1959 a royal charter was granted to the Institute.

In 1973 the Institute became the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. By this time in the institute’s history, it had branched out from local authority treasurers to supporting the whole public sector and had 1,360 fellows.

Branch establishment

  • 1897 – Lancashire and Cheshire branch
  • 1898 – Western and South Western Counties branch
  • 1900 – Metropolitan and Home Counties branch
  • 1903 – Yorkshire branch
  • 1906 – Scottish branch
  • 1918 – Midlands branch
  • 1919 – regulations for branches were promulgated
  • 1903 – the first student society was formed for CIPFA students in the London area.

Today, our 14,000 members and 3,000 students work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies.

Read Tony Travers' look back at CIPFA's history on CIPFA's 125 year anniversary in 2010, Look back in awe.