40 Pages

1897-1918 5 The Formation of an Accounting Profession

ByStephen A. Zeff

An examination of the conditioning environment shows that accountants were in the mainstream of social reform and were given a social obligation necessary for attainment of professional status. The need was apparent for methods to rationally channel capital funds into the nation’s credit stream; this need became the genesis for demands that a viable, independent accounting profession be established. Most contemporary advocates of reform who did support the publicity of accounts as a viable means of control did not share his confidence in the nascent accounting profession. Political progressives’ conviction that corruption and inefficiency lay at the root of social ills in the United States was reflected in their demands that public officials be held accountable for their actions. The most universally suggested and accepted remedy for the overt abuses which accompanied the rise of financial capitalism was the publicity of corporate accounts.