chapter
3 Pages

Early Days of the Firm and the Profession

WithWilliam Sutherland

In the early days of the century there was no clear understanding of the role of the public accountant, and of course he had no status. In those early days there was not much uniformity in accounting standards and procedures. Companies in those days were very secretive, and most corporate officials had a strong conviction that accountants should be refused unlimited access to the books and records. It was a battle sometimes to see a contract or examine board minutes, although this battle was nothing compared with the inevitable battle that ensued when the accountant insisted on making disclosures in financial statements. In those early days there was not much uniformity in accounting standards and procedures. Different companies handled similar transactions in different ways. No, initially the firm’s principal business was acting as agents for some British investment companies and placing money in real estate loans for some of the Scottish life insurance companies.