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Companies, corporations and accounting change, 1835-1933: A comparative study

Edwards, John Richard 1992. Companies, corporations and accounting change, 1835-1933: A comparative study. Accounting and Business Research 23 (89) , pp. 59-73. 10.1080/00014788.1992.9729861

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The accounting literature usually associates the development of external reporting in nineteenth century Britain with the emergence of the limited company. Innovation and progress is attributed to pressure from market forces in an unregulated environment. This is an oversimplification, and ignores the process of acccounting change within two important categories of trading organisation. Companies in certain industries—including water, gas, electricity, tramways and railways—were subject to close statutory regulation, while municipal corporations operated within a statutory framework of accountability which left scope for market forces and professional leadership to influence the development of contemporary practices. This paper compares and contrasts the accounting and audit regulations and practices of the three categories of ‘business’ entity. The developmental path is charted and differences are identified. The differential reporting objectives and environmental conditions applying to these entities are acknowledged throughout, and the mechanism by which ideas were transferred between various sectors is considered.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0001-4788
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:20

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