KCA University's history began in 1989 with the institution known as Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA). It was established by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya to improve the quality of financial management and accountancy training in Kenya. Chart Foulks Lynch (CIPFA), services from the UK, conducted a study that led to the establishment of the college. According to the study, Kenya needed an additional 4100 qualified accountants every year. In those days, the number of qualified accountants trained at these institutions was far less than 100.
It enrolled 170 students when it opened its doors in 1989. However, this number has steadily increased over time and now there are over 12,000 students each year. The institution has campuses in Kitengela CBD, Kisumu and Satellite College in Amagoro to maintain its national outlook.
In 1997, the dream of turning the College into an university was realized. The College saw an increase in enrolment, especially for foreign courses, in 2000. KCA partnered with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, (JKUAT), and University of South Africa [UNISA] to launch diploma and degree programs.