S. Paul Garner
THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA (EMERITUS)
REFLECTIONS ON THE USES OF ACCOUNTING
As our new organization of accounting historians begins its en-deavors, we might pause for a moment and reflect on just what uses might be accomplished by efforts to attract more interest in account-ing history. Each new member of The Academy, in his natural enthusiasm for the subject area, could easily outline several re-sponses to the editorial question raised by this introductory note. I would like to offer the following suggestive views on this matter.
1. Every profession should take modest pride in its background and development. In fact, one of the attributes of any recognized profession is relative concern for, and its energy in, ferreting out items concerning its origin and evolution. Accounting should be no exception to this general prospective.
2. Study and research in accounting history are open to almost everyone having an accounting bent. The eagle eyes and ears of accounting historians will find few limits to possible surprise find-ings and important discoveries. In other words, everyone has an opportunity to make a contribution to the filling in of unknown details. Accounting history research is somewhat similar to the search for oil, that is, information regarding accounting history is where one finds it.
3. Many newcomers to the profession of accounting and corpo-rate reporting, when they read the frequent comments in the literature of today concerning accounting problems and challenges, may not be aware that the current situation is so much better than the "old days" as to be almost shocking. Therefore, the study of accounting history should tend to overcome the discouragement with the present status of this field of endeavor. Analogies frota the past might even assist in curing some of the present imponderables.
4. Still another important advantage of an interest in accounting history is that one soon broadens his or her understanding of several other disciplines, if the enthusiastic accounting historian has not already become familiar with these related study areas. The broadly defined student of accounting history will soon find his paths leading