Looking Back: The Journal in 1950

What contributions has the Journal of Accountancy made to the profession? In 1950, John L. Carey, now a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, wrote eloquently about the many ways the JofA has worked to serve the profession. Carey, whose distinguished career included serving as editor and publisher of the JofA and executive director of the Institute, wrote the piece to remind CPAs of the JofA ’s member-service orientation.

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been running articles from previous JofA s in anticipation of our centennial issue, which will be published next month. This excerpt is taken from an article by Carey in The CPA , a predecessor of The CPA Letter. Much of what it has to say about the JofA ’s accomplishments and goals remains true today.

Looking Back

“N ot many members of the Institute, I think, fully appreciate the contribution that has been made to the development of their profession by that familiar brown-covered magazine which they receive each month….

“Consider some of the things The Journal does:

“It keeps members informed of current events and opinions.

“It promotes membership in the Institute. Many accountants first learn about the organization from The Journal… .

“It is a spokesman for the profession. Views of certified public accountants on any question can be presented through it to the public—by sending copies or reprints to editors, legislators, or others interested.

“Because it is an authoritative and workmanlike publication, it is respected by outsiders and thus adds prestige to the accounting profession.

“It has more than 15,000 subscribers who are corporate officials. [Editor’s note: Carey refers here to non-CPA subscribers.] These men represent CPAs’ clients, so The Journal serves as a communication medium with this important group.

“It is an information channel between the profession and students of accounting—more than 10,000 students now subscribe at special rates. It is widely used in classrooms and as supplementary reading and thus makes a major contribution to accounting education.

“It is a forum for discussion of controversial subjects and exposure of new ideas. It serves as a testing ground for technical innovations and policy decisions.

“It binds the accounting profession together, providing the one experience that nearly all accountants share. In a relatively new profession without common education or training requirements, this may be its most important function. It permits the whole profession to focus on the same things at the same time.

“It reaches accountants outside of the U.S. Foreign subscriptions now total 2,209.

“… The present slogan of the editorial staff is ‘Accounting in Action.’ Effort is being made to publish more material dealing with the actual uses and applications of accounting in real life as contrasted with purely theoretical or abstract articles. The purpose is to make The Journal useful in the daily work of its readers as well as an authoritative leader in the development of accounting thought.”


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