The Economic History Review

The rise of the professional accountant in British management

Volume 50 Issue 3
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Pages: 407-429Authors: Derek Matthews, Malcolm Anderson, John Richard Edwards
Published online: January 22, 2003DOI: 10.1111/1468-0289.00062

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This article quantifies the growth in the number of professional accountants in British management, charts their influence over the past century, and analyses the causes. It is most likely that Britain initially spawned large numbers of accountants because of the particular nature of its capital market which led to demands for the independent auditing of company accounts. British companies then recruited their accountants from this ever growing pool of professionally qualified auditors and the reason why these accountants rose to the top in British management was probably that the profession provided virtually the only formal management training available in Britain.