Mary E. Harston

Publication Date



The purpose of this paper is to examine how the demand for independent audits and the German accounting profession evolved from the late 1800s to the early 1930s despite the absence of competitive market forces. The paper posits that cultural ideologies, specifically with respect to nationalism, paternalism and anti-individualism, provide reasons for the unique configuration of not only the German corporate/banking structures responsible for originating financial reports but the accounting profession that audited them. As the German accounting profession was in an embryonic stage, it was not capable of successfully confronting the corporate/banking alliance to significantly impact financial reporting or the demand for audits. Economic crises served as the dominant pressure for business reform and legislation mandating audits in Germany.



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