Whilst the origins of management accounting can be traced to the land and maritime Silk Routes, ‘modern’ cost accounting which originated in the 18th Century in UK was brought to Sri Lanka in 1965 by the UK body, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Next, in 1999, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA(SL)) and the Australian body the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA(Aust)) took an active role in introducing and applying the concepts and techniques of strategic management accounting to the manufacturing and service industries of an expanding economy. These three professional bodies since have played a significant role in the development of the profession and practice of management accounting in Sri Lanka. In the 1990s, ‘Accounting’ was also accepted as a legitimate field of university study; and the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJ) introduced the first degree program in accounting in Sri Lanka.
In 2009, there was a period of disruption in the profession, when a hastily drafted Act of Parliament established the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICMA(SL)) which then proceeded to shadow brand its membership designations by mimicking that of the more established bodies. This body has been given the lowest ranking as a professional body by the Unidegree.com website.