The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 19, No. 2 December 1992
John J. Gavens DAY NEILSON JENKINS & JOHNS and
Robert W. Gibson DEAKIN UNIVERSITY
AN AUSTRALIAN ATTEMPT TO INTERNATIONALIZE ACCOUNTING PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Abstract: In 1928, the beginnings were laid for the International Ac-countants Corporation and Bookkeepers Institute of Australasia. This was followed in a few years by the International Institute of Accoun-tants. This was an ambitious move to internationalize the profes-sional accounting organizations of the world from Australia.
There was an immediate reaction in the United Kingdom and then from the established Australian national professional organizations. The account and analysis of the subsequent events demonstrates how established organizations will respond to threats of this kind to their power and position.
An ambitious plan to internationalize the world accounting profession from Australia was aborted because of the defensive actions taken by the established organizations operating within Australia. The story of the International Accountants Corpora-tion and Bookkeepers Institute of Australasia and the Interna-tional Institute of Accountants provides a case study of how such organizations may be established and how the established professional organizations may seek to eliminate these compet-ing groups as threats to their position.
NATURE OF ACCOUNTING ORGANIZATIONS
Professional associations of any kind are primarily political bodies organized to advance the interests of their members within the framework of the modern state. One approach to the study of such organizations is the functionalist approach which emphasizes the distinctive attributes of possession of esoteric knowledge, independence, altruism and self-discipline [Will-mott, 1986, p. 557]. This approach is adopted here because the organizations involved promoted these attributes as a basis for