The Accounting Historians Journal
Vol. 14, No. 1
United States of America Before the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Matter of McKesson & Robbins, Inc. - Tes-timony of Expert Witnesses. (Washington D. C., GPO, 1939; Reprint ed., New York: Garland Publishing Co., 1982 638 pp., $60.00).
This book contains a wealth of material on auditing practice prior to McKesson Robbins. Twelve expert accounting witnesses — Samuel Broad, Charles O. Wellington, Victor H. Stempf, William H. Bell, Norman J. Lenhart, John K. Mathieson, Henry A. Home, Charles B. Couchman, Hiram T. Scovill, Joseph J. Klein, George D. Bailey, and Charles W. Jones — provide their views of the state of auditing practice in the 1930s. The questioning of each witness is structured according to the outline found in Examination of Financial Statements (1936). If one wanted to examine and compare opinions and practices with respect to specific topics such as internal check and control, cash, receiva-bles, etc., a very useful table of contents in the front of this volume provides page citations for each witnesses testimony on each topic.
While most of the testimony is consistent, i.e., the 1936 pamphlet had not been meant to do more than convey the best practice of the time and to educate the public as to the limitations of audits, some of the witnesses are more candid. For example, Lenhart (p. 224) said he thought the "primary purpose of preparing and publishing this bulletin was to forestall publica-tion of some similar bulletin by some other body, governmental or otherwise." Testimony shows that differences in practice existed among the various types of firms and the biographical data, especially with respect to the education and training of the expert witnesses, make this volume a useful addition to any historian's library.
Fourth International Congress - 1933. (London, Gee & Co., 1933; Reprint ed., New York: Garland Publishing Co., 1982 638 pp., $80.00).
The 1933 Congress, held in London, reflected the concerns of accountants and others with the economic turmoil of the day.