The Accounting Profession Goes to War: Accounting Contributions to World War II
Date of Award
Ph.D. in Accountancy
J. R. Shaw
the World War II era ushered in a period of dynamic upheaval in American society. To safely navigate the stormy seas of commerce and governance, men of integrity, ability, and leadership were essential. Time and again, the nation turned to accountants to chart the proper course. And the accounting profession responded to the war and all its concomitant demands in a most splendid fashion. While the accounting profession was actively engaged in promoting the war effort, the war was exerting its own influences by shaping the duties, demands, and prestige of the accounting profession. The profession responded to the war by yielding its young men to the armed services, while older, seasoned accountants served in a host of critical capacities within the War Department, war industries, and governmental agencies. Whether in uniformed service or in civilian advisory capacities accountants advanced the nation's war aims, and augmented the rising tide of the profession's prestige. In addition to the efforts of individual accountants, the accounting societies through their leadership, committees, and publications went to great lengths to facilitate the smooth running of the nations' war-time economy. The leaders, through both word and deed, allayed fears, provided direction and inspiration, and constantly prodded accountants to greater service. Societal committees provided timely information and advice to governmental agencies, to congressional committees, and to accountants plagued by a host of new accounting complexities brought on by the war. Finally, through their publications, the accounting societies informed, guided, and honored accountants in their service to the nation. The war led to many changes in the accounting profession. Those in public practice were forced to reevaluate long-held notions of who could be an accountant, and of how auditing work should be preformed. Through the G.I. bill, the accounting profession received a flood of new talent in the postwar years. The war also enlarged avenues of opportunity for the profession in tax, consulting, auditing, and governmental fields in which accountants demonstrated their talent, dexterity, and wisdom in support of their nation. Their success in these areas significantly expanded the accounting profession's influence and prestige in America.
Jobe, Mark Ernest, "The Accounting Profession Goes to War: Accounting Contributions to World War II" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 151.