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This paper introduces some significant developments in the history of the Portuguese accounting profession. It does so with a view to providing a facilitative foundation of knowledge upon which further analysis and critique can be undertaken. Five developmental periods since 1755 are identified: (i) Corporatist Absolute Monarchy (1755-1820) (ii) Liberal Monarchy (1820-1890) (iii) Waning Liberalism and Rising Corporatism (1891-1926) (iv) Corporatist Dictatorship (1926-1974) and (v) Emerging Liberal Democracy and Neo­corporatism (1974 until the present). The accounting profession's chequered history is analysed through episodes of regulation and de-regulation. These episodes are associated with Portugal's pervading social, economic and political context and are dichotomised broadly as either corporatist or liberal. Relationships between episodes of regulation and periods of corporatism are highlighted, together with associations between episodes of de-regulation and periods of liberalism. A better understanding emerges of factors instrumental in the emergence of a well respected and rapidly growing accounting profession in Portugal.



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