Reputational intermediary, public watchdog, or “oﬀ–state payroll economic policeman”: comparing the role of Chinese public accountants
The growth of the accounting profession in the People’s Republic of China (PRC, or China) during the last two decades has been phenomenal. In 1986, when the PRC adopted its ﬁrst regulations on public accountancy, there were about 80 accounting ﬁrms with 500 licensed accountants. The number of accounting ﬁrms and practitioners jumped to over 700 and 10,733, respectively, by the time the Law on Certiﬁed Public Accountants (CPA Law) was enacted in 1993 (Cui et al. 1998: 7-8). According to the latest statistics from the Chinese Institute of Certiﬁed Public Accountants (CICPA), practicing and non-practicing zhuce kuaijishi, or Certiﬁed Public Accountants (CPAs), total 137,000.1 It is projected that by 2010 individual CPA membership of the CICPA will have reached 200,000.