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A ring fence for the profession: advancing the closure of British accountancy 1957-1970

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Explores the genesis of a plan to erect a statutory "ring fence" around the accountancy profession in Britain during the 1960s. Focuses on two elemental problems in actualising a closure strategy: defining a basis for inclusion and exclusion; and, gaining the sanction of the state. Reveals that the complexities of devising an exclusionary code permitted opportunities for "inclusionary usurpation" by "outside" practitioner groups. Examines the quest by accountants to elicit government support for monopolisation during a period in which restrictive practices were outlawed and the professions were "under fire". The achievement of de jure closure is shown to be dependent on the predilections of senior bureaucrats and the capacity of the profession to negotiate an "informal contract" with the state. Contends that the profession-state interface primarily engages the apex of the organisational élite and mandrinate Civil Servants.

Keywords: Accountancy Profession; Bureaucracy; Closure; Government

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1998


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