An accountant is a practitioner of accountancy, which is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities and others make decisions about allocating resources.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) defines accountancy as "the art of recording, classifying, and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of financial character, and interpreting the results thereof.

Today, accounting is called "the language of business" because it is the vehicle for reporting financial information about a business entity to many different groups of people. Accounting that concentrates on reporting to people inside the business entity is called management accounting and is used to provide information to employees, managers, owner-managers and auditors. Management accounting is concerned primarily with providing a basis for making management or operating decisions. Accounting that provides information to people outside the business entity is called financial accounting and provides information to present and potential shareholders, creditors such as banks or vendors, financial analysts, economists, and government agencies. Because these users have different needs, the presentation of financial accounts is very structured and subject to many more rules than management accounting

The word 'Accountant' comes from the French word Compter, which took its origin from the Latin word Computare.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a British body that offers the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification throughout the world. Based in London, this accountancy body is one of the fastest growing out there, with almost eighty other offices around the world, 140,000 members and a further 404,000 affiliates and students from 170 different countries.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is also one of the founder members of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies as well as International Federation of Accountants.

The term Chartered Certified Accountant is legally binding term, meaning that if someone describes themselves or their company as one, they most firstly have the necessary qualifications to prove it, and secondly they most carry out their business within specific regulations and guidelines, such as holding a up to date practicing certificate or having the required amount of liability insurance just incase anything ever goes wrong. They must also be willing to submit to inspections by regulators when ever asked to do so.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants qualification is a legally recognized qualification in every member country of the European Union as well as Australia, Georgia, Canada and large parts of Asia and Africa.