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European congresses of accounting: a review of their history


  • David Forrester


The history and scientific development of many professions can be studied from the evidence of their annual or occasional conventions. Typically professions originated in major towns and were brought together nationally through state recognition. Subsequently and especially in the twentieth century, international links and co-ordinating professional bodies have been founded. The accountancy profession has gone through these stages. The processes for national recognition and for statutory powers have been well studied. Less attention has been given, however, to the agendas and effectiveness of accountants' congresses at national, European and international level. Evidence has been available on an American conference in 1904; and this has been declared the first of a series of international accounting congresses which continues today. More frequent and more international congresses based in Europe (and in Brussels in particular) deserve attention now, such as has been denied them for some fifty years. The present review is based largely on secondary sources; but it shows the aims of European conferences, which were often occasioned by international expositions, and which evolved from the qualified success of national accountants' conventions. The achievements of congresses are also discussed, in relation to agendas which reveal contrasting expectancies from state intervention and an inverse defence of professional freedoms. The views expressed by accountants differ according to their country of origin and to changing economic climates and conflicting political views. Continental European accountants rather often betray some envy of the state recognition and protection accorded to British chartered accountants.

Suggested Citation

  • David Forrester, 1996. "European congresses of accounting: a review of their history," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 91-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:5:y:1996:i:1:p:91-104
    DOI: 10.1080/09638189600000005

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    Cited by:

    1. Malcolm Anderson, 1998. "Accounting History Publications, 1995/6," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 105-124.

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