Stephen A. Zeff

Publication Date



In 1959, the Accounting Principles Board (APB) replaced the Committee on Accounting Procedure because the latter was unable to deal forthrightly with a series of important issues. But during the APB's first half-dozen years, its record of achievement was no more impressive than its predecessor's. The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Manuel F. Cohen, criticized the APB's slow pace and unwillingness to tackle difficult issues. This article discusses the circumstances attending the SEC's issuance of an Accounting Series Release in late 1965 to demonstrate forcefully to the APB that, when it is unable to carry out its responsibility to narrow the areas of difference in accounting practice, the SEC is prepared to step in and do so itself. In this sense, the article deals with the tensions between the private and public sectors in the establishment of accounting principles in the U.S. during the mid-1960s. The article makes extensive use of primary resource materials in the author's personal archive, which have not been used previously in published work.



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