The Accounting Historians Journal
Vol. 18, No. 2
PATTI A. MILLS, EDITOR Indiana State University
REVIEW OF BOOKS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS
A REVIEW ESSAY: Professional Foundations and Theories of Professional Behavior
by Tom Lee University of Alabama
The accountancy profession is nearly one hundred and fifty years old. Formally organized in Scotland in the mid 1850s, it has expanded rapidly worldwide to become one of the leading profes-sions in terms of the number of people it employs, the quantity and variety of services it offers and renders, the size and pervasive-ness of its public firms, the extent of its provision and use of educational and research resources, the degree of influence it has in its relations with the state, and the social status and economic rewards enjoyed by its members. Yet, it still must cope with per-sistent and seemingly intractable problems such as the dubious meaning of reported accounting figures, inconsistencies in ac-counting rules, education orientated solely to training for current practice, a lack of research influence on practice, and managing the ethical behavior of practitioners.
For these reasons, and more than ever before, there is a need to explore the origins and development of the accountancy profes-sion — that is, to discover the reasons why it came into existence, and the means by which it has prospered despite its long-standing problems. Hopefully, such historical studies will not only provide the profession's current and future members with an understand-ing of their roots, but will also signal clues as to possible resolu-tions of at least some of its problems.
With these thoughts in mind, this review essay is intended to provide some historical perspective on the modern accountancy profession by critiquing the recent study of Dr. Kedslie into the origins of the earliest professional accountancy bodies formed in