The Education of American Businessmen: A Study of University-College Programs in Business Administration

By Frank C. Pierson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14
ACCOUNTING
Robert G. Cox

Programs in accounting, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, have been dominated by professional accounting requirements to the neglect of management aspects of the subject. Professionally oriented courses have, for the most part, been narrowly slanted with emphasis placed upon techniques and procedures. The problems and decisions that face the public accountant and the accountant in private industry require broad education in functional areas of business and government, an understanding of the human aspects of business, and an awareness of the responsibilities of business to society, as well as competence in accounting. Excessive specialization reduces the extent to which these requirements can be met.

Joseph Wharton, in the deed of gift which made the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania in 1881 the first school of business in the United States, specified that the staff should include "One Professor or Instructor of Accounting or Bookkeeping, to teach the simplest and most practical forms of bookkeeping for housekeepers, for private individuals, for commercial and banking firms, for manufacturing establishments and for banks. . . ." During the rapid growth of collegiate business schools after the turn of the century, every new school, without exception, provided instruction in accounting. Thus from the earliest college-level program to the present, a course in accounting has been included in business school curricula, usually as part of the core course work.The field of accounting is much like that of engineering, with several distinct areas which serve many different objectives. Our business schools today graduate large numbers of men and women trained in accounting who find employment in many different fields, including:
1. Public accounting
a. Auditing

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