Directory of Early American Public Accountants
The distinction between an accountant and a public accountant rests primarily upon the type of employment. The former’s services are given to a single employer; the latter offers his services generally to the public and serves many clients. In England the number of accountants increased markedly in the decade 1860-70 and numerous city societies of accountants were formed soon thereafter, to be merged into one in 1880. The American Association of Public Accountants, the antecedent of the present American Institute of Accountants, was formed in 1887, very soon after the real growth in number of practitioners began. The great majority merely listed their names in the classified section of the city directory, painted their names and occupation on their office doors, and depended upon the good reputation made by the quality of their work to bring them new engagements.