Magazine article The CPA Journal

The Story of a Fortunate Man: Reminiscences and Recollections of Fifty-Three Years of Professional Accounting

Magazine article The CPA Journal

The Story of a Fortunate Man: Reminiscences and Recollections of Fifty-Three Years of Professional Accounting

Article excerpt

The Story of a Fortunate Man: Reminiscences and Recollections of Fifty-Three Years of Professional Accounting By Maurice E. Peloubet (Edited by Alfred R. Roberts) Studies in the Development of Accounting Thought, Volume 3 JAI Press, $93; ISBN: 0762307366

Maurice E. Peloubet, the son of a prominent accountant, was an influential accounting professional throughout his 53-year career, which began in 1911. Peloubet, an outstanding writer, published many books and articles, making him an ideal witness to this era of dramatic change in the accounting profession. This collection of his writings describes interesting assignments and events from his career and discusses their broader implications. His book is interesting and historically significant, containing discussions with policy implications that are relevant to the contemporary accounting discourse.

When Peloubet was born in the Kenwood area of Chicago's South Side, his father worked for Price, Waterhouse & Company and later became a founding partner of Pogson, Peloubet & Company. The family moved to East Orange, New Jersey, and Maurice split his high school years between New Jersey and Butte, Montana, where the family spent one year so that the elder Peloubet could be nearer to the operations of an important client, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company.

When Peloubet graduated from high school, he began his professional career with Price Waterhouse just like his father. Peloubet's writings from this period provide a vivid description of the atmosphere in an early-20th-century business office. Early in his career, he accepted a transfer to Price Waterhouse's London office, where the deployment of men in World War I had depleted the staff. Three points are especially memorable about Peloubet's European assignments. First, he provides a gripping description of how it felt to be a common man on the streets of London during World War I. second, he describes his first encounter with the "base-stock" inventory method that some European processing and manufacturing firms of the time were using and that would influence Peloubet's later important advocacy of the last-in-first-out (LIFO) inventory method in North America. Third, Peloubet provides vivid descriptions of the various cultural and business norms and practices that distinguished Europe from America.

One of the book's discussions that has relevance to contemporary accounting thought involves Peloubet's role in convincing American and Canadian regulators and executives that the LIFO inventory method can provide valuable financial reporting and tax advantages. …

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