In The Institute of Accounts: Nineteenth-Century Origins of Accounting Professionalism in the United States, Professors Loeb and Miranti provide an intriguing interpretation of the significance of the Institute of Accounts (IA). The authors have developed their analysis on the basis of a scholarly consideration of existing sources relating to the IA. They point out that the IA established the prototype of the characteristics of the modern professional accounting association. Further, Loeb and Miranti discuss the IA’s contribution to the development of accounting knowledge and the use of that knowledge to educate accountants and bookkeepers, especially in the late nineteenth century. Throughout the discussion, they consider the role of key individuals such as Charles Ezra Sprague, Henry Harney, A. C. Kittredge, and Charles Waldo Haskins.
The authors discuss factors that they believe resulted in the IA apparently becoming a non-operating entity by 1920. More specifically, faced with having to adapt to the needs of a young and dynamic public accounting profession, the authors suggest that the IA chose to nationalize its traditional direction and thus ceased to function as a leader of change. Further, Loeb and Miranti point out that in an era when specialist associations were, for a variety of reasons, needed, the IA remained a generalist association. The authors neatly tie together the significance of the merger in the early 1940s of both the IA and the National Society of Certified Public Accountants into the