The Accounting Historians Journal
Vol. 13, No. 1
Maureen Berry, Editor UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Among the concerns expressed about the prospects for academic careers in accounting is the fear of decline or disappearance of the discipline's renaissance men and women because of narrowing perceptions about meritorious research and methodology. What may well be a critical factor in keeping broad perspectives alive in our field, however, is the continuing interest of scholars from other areas, particularly the liberal arts, in accounting as a second career choice.
The understanding which these experienced researchers can bring to accounting is exemplified by Graves's comparative analysis of the writings of Schmalenbach, Schmidt, and Mahlberg during Germany's great inflationary period of the early 1920s. With this very well-written dissertation, Graves, who brought to accounting a Ph.D. in German, has now made it possible for linguistically-limited English speaker to appreciate the German seminal works on inflation accounting as well as the general theories from which they sprang.
A second linguist who follows Graves in opening up the foreign literature is Fortin, whose native tongue is French and who went to France to study how the accounting discipline and profession evolved there after the second world war. From her archival re-search and personal interviews we gain some vivid impressions of the various institutions and events which shaped the accounting function in France over the past four decades.
A very similar time period was selected by Bracken for his in-vestigation of certain influences on auditing practice in the United States, particularly the effect on development of auditing pro-nouncements of lawsuits alleging misconduct by client manage-ment. He takes the many-faceted McKesson and Robbins case as his point of departure, emphasizing its force in reversing a general trend away from concern for fraud detection as an audit objective,