Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

The Routledge Companion to Critical Accounting, edited by Robin Roslender, London: Routledge.


accounting profession, professionalization, immanent critique, critical accounting, post-professional occupation


This Chapter reviews the critical literature on the emergence, development and demise of the professional model in accounting and auditing. While the critical accounting literature is broad and amorphous, in this Chapter the focus is on those studies that present an “immanent critique” of professionalization (i.e. an analysis of the contradictions of this institutional form) or which place the accounting profession within a political economy framework that examines its position at the nexus of the economy, civil society and the state. The Chapter is structured as a stylized history of the accounting profession beginning with the emergence of professional associations, the closure of the profession through the use of ascriptive criteria for membership, the profession’s engagement with the power of the state and the embedding of accounting expertise in regulation, the globalization of the profession and the rise of a commercial model of accounting practice. The Chapter ends by identifying pressing research issues that arise from the emergence of accounting as a “post-professional” occupation. This perspective assumes that the commercial model of accounting does not simply replace the professional model but rather generates diverse hybrid institutions with emergent features that will require empirical and theoretical work to fully appreciate.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.