The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 12, No. 2 Fall 1985
Thomas D. Wood and
Anne J. Sylvestre UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA
THE HISTORY OF ADVERTISING BY ACCOUNTANTS
The accounting profession has changed to meet the requirements of business, government and other economic influences. In particu-lar, standards of practice and principles to guide the selection of choices have been developed, modified, restated and fine-tuned over the past 70 to 80 years in response to the needs of an expanding American economy.
The common body of knowledge of accountants also has changed. The attest function grew in pre-eminence because shareholders and others wanted and needed accountability. The Internal Revenue Code demanded tax experts. Complex business and government operations and organizations came to need expertise in a wide variety of services, from systems design and installation to advice on other internal functions, sometimes called "management ad-visory services."
A framework of ethics was adopted (and amended) governing the attitudes and conduct of accountants in the course of their engagements. Independence and the strict adherence to standards and principles were considered as the foundations of ethics; ethics and a common body of knowledge, were the foundations of a profession.
Accountants wanted to be a profession, and advertising was believed to be unethical. This belief has also changed, and ac-countants have come full circle in the matter of advertising. His-torians may be prompted to recall that history does, after all, repeat itself, or perhaps to quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes ". . .there is not a new thing under the sun." The intention of this paper is to trace the history of advertising by accountants in order to answer the question: have accountants changed their philosophy about advertising in order to meet a change in the environment in which