The Schism in Accounting

By Robert Bloom; H. G. Heymann et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

This book analyzes the schism between accounting practitioners and academics. It supports the effort of the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC), and other interest groups in their calls for sweeping changes in accounting education. The focus is on the schism, or division into opposing parties, that has been separating practitioners and academics in accounting since before universities began offering accounting courses in the early 1900s. The schism evolved from different views about the best preparation for entry-level positions of professional accountants. Over time the schism has included a variety of other concerns ranging from arguments over particular accounting techniques to debates over the role of accounting in a free society.

This volume views the schism in accounting as a division between different political and philosophical positions. Depending on the specific framework or philosophical position, different arguments justify particular methods and definitions that are used in accounting practice. This book distinguishes between proponents of traditional accounting models and opponents who argue for change. The schism can also be viewed as a natural and beneficial source of competition among opposing ideas. Accordingly, the schism is more than just a division between practitioners and academics: It is a division between individuals with different philosophical, economic, political, and functional attitudes and goals.

This book may be seen as an acknowledgment that change is taking place, not only in the accounting education area but also in the process of establishing accounting standards and in the practical application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The practice of accounting, traditionally defined in terms of methods to determine the economic performance of individual business organizations, has become increasingly concerned with the socioeconomic implications of published accounting data. By adopt-

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