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Accounting History

http://ach.sagepub.com/ Book review: Accounting education and the profession in New Zealand: Profiles of the pioneering academics and the early university accounting departments 1900 1970
Carolyn Fowler Accounting History 2012 17: 123 DOI: 10.1177/1032373211424593 The online version of this article can be found at: http://ach.sagepub.com/content/17/1/123

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Accounting History

Book review

Accounting History 17(1) 123125 The Author(s) 2012 Reprints and permission: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav ach.sagepub.com

Donald G. Trow and Stephen A. Zeff Accounting education and the profession in New Zealand: Profiles of the pioneering academics and the early university accounting departments 19001970, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, 2010, 98 pp.: 9781877529061 Reviewed by: Carolyn Fowler, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand DOI: 10.1177/1032373211424593

The aim of this book by Don Trow (Emeritus Professor of Accountancy at Victoria University of Wellington) and Stephen Zeff (Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Accounting, Rice University, Texas) is to record their appreciation of the pioneers in the field (p.1). In order to do this, they provide a study of the early evolution of the university accounting programmes, together with the publications and professional involvements by its staff (p.1) between 1900 and 1970. Further, they profile seven early accounting academics at the four universities, Victoria, Otago, Canterbury and Auckland, that originally constituted the four university colleges of the University of New Zealand (founded in 1870 and dissolved in 1961 with degree-conferring powers being granted to these colleges). For each of the four universities, the book provides an overview of accounting within that institution, including when accounting was first taught and who were the first staff members. It then splits the institutional history chronologically into either three or four periods or eras. These are denoted by a key leading academic or a period of non-teaching or part-time teaching. In each of these periods, the book details developments within accounting at the university, staff movements, enrolments, and links between academic staff and the accounting profession. There is also some mention of publications produced by accounting staff, as well as graduates who went on to have distinguished careers in practice or academia. Contained within the discussion of accounting in the four universities, there are 36 accounting staff mentioned, with 17 of the staff profiled in some detail; ten are contained in the general text and seven in more comprehensive profiles. Each institutional history concludes with these profiles of individuals chosen by Trow and Zeff, namely (in order of discussion); Rodger (Victoria), Sidebotham (Victoria), Stamp (Victoria), Cowan (Otago), Battersby (Canterbury), Carrington (Canterbury), and Johnston (Auckland). The profiles provide more information about each individual, including level of tertiary study, prior academic careers, accounting practice involvement, accomplishments or major contributions, and wider community activities. There are also some tantalising hints regarding their personal lives, with further clues provided in the biographical sketches of all full professors and others in a separate section towards the end (pp.6573). The histories presented within the book are based on interviews with 17 key accounting academics conducted in May 2001, as well as on the use of additional source material. Internationally, there have been several studies examining accounting professors (e.g. Carnegie & Williams, 2001; Clarke, 2005), or the development of accounting courses (e.g. Buhr

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Accounting History 17(1)

et al., 2006). Other studies have taken the form of institutional histories looking at accounting departments within particular universities, such as the University of Melbourne (Burrows, 2006) or the University of Sydney (Clarke et al., 2010). However, this book by Trow and Zeff is the first of its kind to focus on a group of New Zealand accounting academics within multiple institutions. Only Carnegie and Parker (1996) have previously touched on the area of New Zealand accounting academia with their paper on William Butler Yaldwyn, whom Trow and Zeff acknowledge as the author of the first text published in New Zealand 1879 (p76). Others authors have focused on the early history of the New Zealand accounting professional bodies (Graham, 1960; Millen, 1984), accountants and accounting firms in the Hawkes Bay area (Fowler, 2005), and the origins and evolution of the process by which accounting principles are established in New Zealand (Zeff, 1979: Preface). Further, the official-style histories of the four universities (Beaglehole, 1946; Morrell, 1969; Gardner et al., 1973; Sinclair & McNaughton, 1983; Barrowman, 1999), only mention accounting and accounting academics in passing, if at all. For example, in the University of Canterbury history (Gardner et al., 1973), commerce and accounting are only briefly mentioned on approximately nine of its 500-odd pages, whilst in Beagleholes (1946) book, none of the essays written in honour of Victoria Universitys 50th anniversary are from those involved in commerce, let alone accountancy. Therefore, Trow and Zeffs book makes a valuable contribution to understanding pioneering New Zealand accounting academics, and the contributions they made in their universities and to the accounting profession. With the book being only 100 pages in length and with a focus on only a few key academics, I felt when I had finished it that I would liked to have known more about these men. The 14 biographical sketches (pp.6573) helped, but the limited amount of references provided (p.iii) made it hard to investigate them further. Therefore, more detailed references regarding sources would have been useful, along with an index. Further, there is a disconnection between the text of the book and the list of publications. Forty-six individual authors are listed in the publications section (pp.7598), but only 36 of these are mentioned in the text, and some of these very briefly. Thus, the role of the publications section in the context of the book was not clear. Notwithstanding this, the book was a delight to read and brought back many fond memories of the people I knew and the places where I had studied or worked. However, I was left wanting to know more. Although the book achieved its stated purpose, to me it feels like an entre or a starter, with the authors leaving lots of room for other researchers to provide the main course. These researchers could focus on accounting academics and/or accounting departments within each university in more detail. Then possibly a dessert could be produced, with a piece of work that brings it all together and leaves a sweet taste in the mouth. References
Barrowman, R. (1999), Victoria University of Wellington, 18991999: A History, Wellington: Victoria University Press. Beaglehole, J. (ed.) (1946), The University and the Community: Essays in Honour of Thomas Alexander Hunter, Wellington: Victoria University College. Buhr, N., Feltham, G.D. and Tremaine, T.T. (2006), Institutional Dances: How the First Accounting Degree in Canada Came To Be at the University of Saskatchewan, Canadian Accounting Perspectives, Vol.5, No.1, pp.11343. Burrows, G. (2006), Promise Fulfilled, The History of the Accounting Discipline at the University of Melbourne, 19252004, Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing.

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Carnegie, G.D. and Parker, R.H. (1996), The Transfer of Accounting Technology to the Southern Hemisphere: The Case of William Butler Yaldwyn, Accounting, Business and Financial History, Vol.6, No.1, pp.2349. Carnegie, G.D. and Williams, B.G. (2001), The First Professors of Accounting in Australia, Accounting History, Vol.6, No.1, pp.10315. Clarke, P. (2005), The Story of Bernard F. Shields: The First Professor of Accountancy in the UK, Accounting History, Vol.10, No.2, pp.10323. Clarke, F., Dean, G. and Wells, M. (2010), The Sydney School of Accounting: The Chambers Years, Sydney: University of Sydney. Fowler, M.B. (2005), From Inkwells to E-mail: The Story of Accounting in Hawkes Bay, Taradale, NZ: Eastern Institute of Technology. Gardner W.J., Beardsley, E.T. and Carter, T.E (1973), A History of the University of Canterbury 18731973, Christchurch: University of Canterbury. Graham, A.W. (1960), The First Fifty Years, 19091959, Wellington: New Zealand Society of Accountants. Millen, J. (1984), The New Zealand Society of Accountants, 19601984, A History Written to Mark the 75th Jubilee, Wellington: New Zealand Society of Accountants. Morrell, W.P. (1969), The University of Otago, A Centennial History, Dunedin: University of Otago Press. Sinclair, K. and McNaughton, T. (1983), History of the University of Auckland, 18831983, Auckland: Auckland University Press. Zeff, S.A. (1979), Forging Accounting Principles in New Zealand, Wellington: Victoria University Press.

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