The CPA-Then and Now
by GORDON L. HOPPER Partner, Los Angeles Office
Presented before the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the National
Machine Accountants Association, Los Angeles—May 1962
SEVERAL months ago, not long after I accepted the invitation to speak to you tonight, I prepared a general outline of the things I wanted to cover. The first item on that outline was to define accounting. About three weeks ago, a newspaper account of an address by Mr. John Queenan current president of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants quoted him as stating that accounting is "essentially the measurement and communication of financial and other economic data." Starting with this definition, I wrote down most of the things I am about to say to you.
Mr. Queenan's definition seems to me an improvement over the definition by a committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that "accounting is the art of recording, classifying,
and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of a financial
character, and interpreting the results thereof." Although the committee apparently could not avoid at least one "thereof", it is gratifying that no "whereas's" are included!
THE RECORD IN BRIEF
Over the years the scope of accounting has broadened to include
many specialists, but the profession generally may be said to consist of two types of accountants—private and public.
A private accountant occupies a salaried position either in business
or in government. He is responsible to a single organization and usually has a title such as controller, internal auditor, budget officer, or cost accountant.
A public accountant offers his services to the public on a fee basis. In California, he is designated as either a CPA or a PA and he must hold a state license to practice.
To be a CPA in this state, an individual must finish at least two years of college, pass a comprehensive written examination lasting two and one-half days, and complete, as a minimum, two years of practical experience with a CPA firm. In practice, most firms seek