12 Pages

The Emergence of Public AccountingIn The United States, 1748-1895

WithJames Don Edwards

The story of the accountants who blazed the trails for the accounting profession in our country can only be inferred from brief, infrequent references and this paper may be considered as covering the “ancient” history of the American profession. Some early references to men performing the functions of public accountants in the United States have been found, the earliest of these references being dated 1748. In that year, Benjamin Franklin sold his interest in the firm of Franklin and Hall, a printing company, to David Hall for £18,000. A natural development from practicing as individuals was for two or more accountants to associate themselves in a partnership. Accountants probably formed partnerships in imitation of other professions such as medicine and law, or following the precedent set by British accountants.