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Spacek's Contributions to Accounting Thought Revisited

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  • Robert Bloom

Abstract

While he was managing partner and chair of Arthur Andersen in the l950s and 1960s, Leonard Spacek was an outspoken critic of public accounting, complaining about its failure to establish a coherent set of objectives for financial statements, its illogical principles and methods, and its principle-setting process. He was the conscience of the public accounting community during this time period, a critic from within. As far as Spacek was concerned, 'fairness' was the central objective of financial reporting, though he never specifically defined the term. In light of the recent high-profile corporate and accounting scandals, including Enron and World.com, both of which were audited by Arthur Andersen, it is useful to analyse Spacek's ideas on the public role of accounting from his speeches and writings with emphasis on the theme of fairness. Given the firm's long-term commitment to quality audits, it was ironic that Andersen fell victim to these scandals.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Bloom, 2007. "Spacek's Contributions to Accounting Thought Revisited," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 425-443.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:acbsfi:v:17:y:2007:i:3:p:425-443
    DOI: 10.1080/09585200701609596
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