Page 13 - Chartered 150 - A Sesquicentenary Special Issue
P. 13

   The history of the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants
150 years ago, in 1870, the formation of what has become the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants set the standard by which accountants worldwide practice today
he creation of the first officially- recognised body of accountants in England and Wales, began with
accordance with their own inclination
and, thankfully created a very good set of rules. However the Limited Liability Act in 1855 gave rise to businesses registered with limited liability, making it possible for members of the general public to invest on a much wider scale and created a need for responsible auditors to safeguard their interests.
That Liverpool should take the lead in providing an advisory body to match this enterprise was not at all surprising.
In fact a very interesting case in 1906 of Smith vs Sheard helped determine the very meaning of an Auditors’ Certificate, and that Sheard is still very much a vital part of our Liverpool accounting family, in the form of DSG.
Liverpool was then at the very peak of its prosperity, and as the “second City of the Empire” had a growing number of merchant enterprises which led to the parallel growth of accountancy firms involved in looking after their finances.
In Mr Harmood Banner, Mr A W Chalmers, Mr G E Holt, and Mr John Bewley, there were four energetic individuals able
to provide the necessary leadership of what was a relatively small and close-knit business community.
Interestingly, also present at the meeting was Edward Mounsey, the great grandfather of Jonathan Mounsey, a fifth generation Chartered Accountant who became President of the Liverpool Society in 1994. In 2020, it is he, together with our current President Andrew Lovelady who could
best be described as the historians and guardians of the great legacy that we have
– and further evidence, and embodiment
of, the unique nature of our “family of accountants”.
This original, historic meeting was held at 12 noon on Tuesday, 25 January 1870 at 24 North John Street (part of Harrington Chambers) as Mr Banner, in the Chair decreed that “An association be formed
to be called the Incorporated Society of Liverpool Accountants”.
It is a source of immense pride that the “descendants” of that group of “14” met again on 25th January 2020, having become “29 ladies and gentlemen engaged in accountancy” to celebrate the 150th anniversary of that moment, and unveil a special “plaque that is blue” to provide a long-standing mark of that moment.
Back in 1870, a resulting cordial meeting with the Law Society resulted in mutual agreement that it was not advisable “in Liverpool” for duties of legal adviser and accountant to be performed by the same person. More significantly, the formalities of registration were completed with the Board of Trade and the certificate of Registration was finally signed on the 20 April 1870.
A hundred and fifty years later, it is instructive to note the official objects of the Society as originally set out:
1. The protection of the character, status
and interests of the accountants of Liverpool, the promotion of honourable practice and the decision of all points of professional usage or courtesy in conducting accounting business of all kinds.
2. The consideration of all general questions affecting the interest of the profession at large, or the alteration or administration of the law.
3. The doing of all such other things as are incidental to or conducive to the attainment of the above objects.
We believe that these very same objects underpin the Society to this very day.
With Liverpool having shown the way, soon after, in November, 1870, the Institute of Accountants in London was formed,
and similar bodies created in Manchester
Continued on page 14
  a “meeting of 14 gentlemen engaged in accountancy” called by Messrs H W Banner and A W Chalmers and lasting less than
an hour. This prepared the way for the establishment of the Incorporated Society of Liverpool Accountants, an organisation which still flourishes under a slightly different name today.
An exclusive Society, which made its own rules and invited its own members, it took the first vital step, together with the Societies of Manchester (1871), London (1870) and Sheffield (1877) towards the formation of the sophisticated, national and now international body — the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW).
Today, qualified chartered accountants who practice in the UK and beyond are bound by a strict code of professional conduct, but in the mid-nineteenth century those gentlemen (and women) involved
in bookkeeping, rent collecting and other financial business, worked very much in
 Mr Harmood Banner, first President of the LSCA, (1870-1878)

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