The professional programs that the IA promoted were appealing to many bookkeepers because they were responsive to serious problems associated with working as a bookkeeper. Many of the IA’s bookkeepers were likely concerned about their marginal economic status (see the discussion in “Compensation vs. Services, ” 1881, pp. 136-137). Bookkeepers, for example, likely were sensitive to their relative low rate of pay as compared to other business specialists such as salesmen (“Compensation vs. Services, ” 1881, pp. 136-137). Thus, bookkeepers were vulnerable to destitution should they become unemployed. A sensitivity to this insecurity was reflected in the above-noted goals of establishing life insurance and employment referral services (also see Webster, 1954, p. 12).
A second problem was the marginal image of bookkeepers as sources of authority in accounting matters. This lack of authority was largely a function of the limited educational infrastructure available to prepare and certify candidates’ fitness for professional accounting careers. Unlike the situation in law, engineering, and medicine (see the discussion in Collins, 1979, pp. 141-142, 150-155, 163-171; Calvert, 1967, chapters 3-5; McMillan, 1998b, pp. 118-119), little had been done to forge strong connections between accounting