Test your CPA history knowledge

Quiz covers important personalities, milestones in profession’s development.

If you’re a CPA, you have vast knowledge of complicated standards and strategies and know how to apply them to complex business situations. But how well do you know the history of the CPA profession?

This 10-question quiz should give you some idea. These questions aren’t as difficult as the CPA exam, but they’re not easy.


1. Which law first gave CPAs official recognition by the federal government as a class of professionals?

2. By how many different names has the AICPA been known? (Give yourself extra credit if you can name the predecessor organizations.)

3. Which CPA received 107,929 votes in his run for president of the United States in 1956?

4. In what year was the first CPA bill enacted?

5. Which major firm designed and installed a computer-based payroll system for General Electric in the mid-1950s to create one of the first business systems applications of a computer?

6. Who was the first chief accountant of the SEC?

7. What was the National Commission on Fraudulent Financial Reporting, which issued a 1987 report on reducing the “expectations gap” between auditors and the public, popularly known as?

8. How many members did the AICPA have when it was formed in 1887?

9. Which amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1913, permitted a federal income tax?

10. The first two state societies of public accountants were formed in 1897. In which states were they formed?


1. The Revenue Act of 1924, which President Calvin Coolidge signed into law.

2. Four. It began as the American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA) in 1887. In 1916, the AAPA was succeeded by the Institute of Public Accountants, which changed its name to the American Institute of Accountants (AIA) a year later. That name was retained in 1936 when the AIA merged with the American Society of Certified Public Accountants. The AIA renamed itself the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in 1957.

3. T. Coleman Andrews, who had resigned after two years as IRS commissioner and ran for president as a third-party candidate for the States’ Rights party in 1956. (Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower won reelection, defeating Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson.) Andrews won the AICPA’s gold medal for distinguished service in 1947.

4. In 1896, New York Gov. Levi P. Morton signed the first CPA bill into law.

5. Arthur Andersen.

6. Carman Blough.

7. The Treadway Commission.

8. 22.

9. The 16th Amendment.

10. New York (New York State Society of CPAs) and Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs).

Ken Tysiac is a JofA senior editor. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact him at ktysiac@aicpa.org or 919-402-2112.


Take the JofA news quiz

See how much you know about recent news, including the IRS commissioner’s worries over budget cuts and the SEC’s rules on an increasingly popular way to raise capital, with our news quiz.


Preventing and detecting fraud at not-for-profits

Organizations in all industries must deal with the potential for fraud to occur, and design controls to prevent and detect it. Environment, policies, and controls can help organizations steer clear of problems.


The dangers of dabbling

To meet evolving marketplace needs, CPAs often look to diversify their service offerings. Firms can mitigate the risk of experiencing competency-related professional liability claims by implementing these basic steps.