اکتشاف تعامل مرکز ـ حاشیه بین ICAEW و انجمن حسابداری در مهاجرنشین های خودگردان استرالیا، کانادا و آفریقای جنوبی، 1880-1907
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20019||2002||37 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 27, Issues 4–5, May–July 2002, Pages 409–445
British imperialism not only changed borders, it made the British model of accounting associations and the imaginary of ‘professional accounting men’ known to spaces far from the metropolis (mother state). Imperialism was thus integrative in this sense. In administrative terms, however, a very large, differentiated and spatially dispersed Empire became expensive. It could not be ruled uniformly or in detail and different governance structures emerged. In the settler colonies, relatively autonomous ‘self-government’ embodying variants of British precedents and institutions, provided a loose coupling of centre and periphery. The accounting associations that developed in this type of colony were, then, not compliant clones of the centre but hybrids reflecting the specificity of place and British accommodation of peripheral demands. The result was the emergence of an imperial accountancy arena. These empirics contribute to our understanding of the nineteenth century professionalisation of accounting as a cross-border phenomenon by showing how the strength of weak ties between parts of a periphery characterised by inter-colony differences (as well as similarities) imposed constraints on the imperial centre.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The aim of this paper has been to extend the literature on the profession-state nexus in the context of (the British) Empire. The imperial context is a potentially fruitful one for analysing how profession-state dynamics in distant places can be linked, and thus interact. In exploring this potential we have tried to go beyond both seeing the Empire as the foraging ground for British (metropolitan) associations and the analysis of autonomy achieved by individual colonies. Specifically, we have looked at how the mutual and joint impact of a number of colonial arenas on each other (through mimesis) and on the imperial centre contributed to the construction of an imperial accountancy arena. As others have done, we have noted that notions of professionalism originating in Britain spread to the self-governing colonies in Canada, Australia and South Africa, with colonial associations borrowing heavily from British exemplars. Our analysis also supports previous work highlighting the colonial initiatives of the SAAE and of local legislation (initiated by local associations and/or state agencies) as sources of discomfort for the ICAEW. We have gone further, however, in documenting the ways in which British CAs abroad, actively seeking their own access to colonial markets, put the ICAEW in awkward situations. Their efforts, for example, to access Canadian markets from the USA, weakened the ICAEW's bargaining power vis à vis Canadian associations which had (in the ICAEW's view) improperly adopted its own (if not the Scots!) symbolic capital. In addition, the desire of such members to reproduce British apprenticeship arrangements in Africa forced the British chartered bodies to re-assess their identity as British (if not English/ Scottish), and to trade off the interests of British domiciled-members against those of members abroad. And they (CAs abroad) joined local associations apparently hostile to the ICAEW (possibly because the Institute could not, or would not ‘deliver’ locally). They created, that is, an interest group which could (and did) lead the ICAEW into deep waters off-shore, forcing it to find ways to extend its de facto mandate where its de jure licence did not reach. We have also seen that local associations were proactive in seizing such opportunities to put pressure on the ICAEW to (at least) take them seriously and consider mutual recognition. Of particular interest, given our aim, are the efforts of Canadian and Australian associations to take advantage of the situation to gain access to the symbolic capital of British CA, for local (colonial use). It was precisely the existence of an imperial milieu which made such a novel tactic of usurpation possible. Its effectiveness is shown by the striking contrast between the scant attention paid by the ICAEW to its own members' urgings in Africa in 1903 and the seriousness with which it was taking the demands of colonial associations just a few years later (in 1907). The ease with which the desire for, and willingness to struggle for ‘CA’ spread to Canada and Australia also illustrates the effectiveness of Empire in transmitting a particular form of competitive credentialism across huge distances. (A similar point might be made about the stimulus provided by empire to the cross-border marketing of individual practitioners' names, detached from their corporeal correlates, as encountered in the Transvaal.) Of course, the imperial intra-profession dynamics highlighted above were, inescapably profession-state dynamics, underpinned by the imperial ideologies of responsible government and imperial federation. To gain leverage against the ICAEW, colonial associations needed the support of local state agencies ‘responsible’ enough to resist the ‘suggestions’ emanating from the imperial centre. In order, then, for the ICAEW to achieve the large-scale brand protection appropriate to an imperial arena, it would now have to deal — not just with the Board of Trade, the Privy Council, the Scottish Office, etc. — but with the Colonial Office as well. It would henceforth always be the case that the ICAEW's own calculations of how to further its collective mobility project would be subordinated to the agendas (political or otherwise) of the Colonial Office. As can be seen in the case of Canada, the Colonial Office played a crucial role. But it was not a constant and predictably effective ally. It only informed the ICAEW of the formation of DACA several months after the event. On the other hand, it was instrumental in stopping the Newfoundland legislation. Partly, this was because the Colonial Office had to deal with changing relationships with colonies and ex-colonies that were now confederated. The concept of ‘responsible government’ was clearly pliable and variable across time and space. But whatever its emergent agendas, it was clear that ultimately the interests of the ICAEW ranked second to those of the Colonial Office itself. This new level of ‘political risk’ was clearly a function of empire. What might be said, in light of our analysis, about the questions posed in Section 1 that have not been addressed in the previous two paragraphs? Johnson (1982) writes that during the first half of the twentieth century, the British accounting profession was an imperial body with imperial interests. By then it was, but the ICAEW and the other chartered associations in Britain did not begin life focussing on the Empire. For the first twenty years of its life the ICAEW was more concerned with building a brand name and with policing borders within Britain than those overseas. Policing the latter only began in earnest at the end of the nineteenth century. It would be a mistake, on our analysis, to paint the ICAEW as an overwhelmingly dominant body, proactively structuring the emerging imperial accountancy arena, and imposing its will across great distances in the process. Instead it was the parties cited previously (the SAAE, the ICAEW's off-shore members, colonial associations, local state agencies and the Colonial Office) that ‘pulled’ the ICAEW into becoming a major international player, with an extended network of lawyers and members monitoring legislation around the Empire (report of ICAEW Parliamentary & Law Committee, 26/6/07, in ICAEWCR/11). At the same time, it is important not to overstate the strength of the periphery or the difficulties faced by the ICAEW. The impact of the colonial associations on the organisation of accountancy in Britain was not substantial during our period. Furthermore, the ICAEW's prominent role in lobbying the Colonial Office may even have enhanced the Institute's position in Britain vis à vis the other chartered bodies, as the ‘imperial’ pressures noted above provided an opportunity (if not a necessity) for the CA associations to act in concert. (Perhaps this helps explain the Scots' tolerance of the ICAEW's negative response to their mutual recognition proposal.) A further qualification: it is perhaps worth re-emphasising that, notwithstanding the contest, resistance and competition documented above, there were many integrative aspects to the cross-border processes we have sketched lightly here. Just as the British associations had carved up the British Isles between them, the colonial associations were attempting to settle their own professional jurisdictions; but always in relation to each other and to the British. The struggle to gain a reasonable position in an Empire on which the sun never set involved both competition and co-operation, mimesis as well as differentiation. Entry rules, examination standards, ethical rules (and so on) were developed by each association with an eye on the others. The national/regional movements that took place in Britain, Canada (Creighton, 1984 and Richardson, 1993) and Australia (Chua & Poullaos, 1993) during our period involved negotiating about all those things and narrowing differences, one way or another. Movement — or engagement — across borders, might be expected to have similar effects. Thus, Australians seeking a royal charter, or colonial accountants generally plotting to ward off the incursions of the mobile CA, developed examinations, syllabuses, etc. that were ‘better than’ or ‘equal to’ or ‘different from (but with good reason)’ those of the British associations. Flexibility of identity was another result. A Glasgow accountant might quarrel with an Edinburgher in Scotland, but in London they might both be Scots concerned about being shut out by the English. In the Transvaal, or Montreal or Melbourne, the English, Scots and Irish could all be British, if it suited; while at international conferences Canadian and British CAs could join together with incorporated accountants and American CPAs in a forum where each could refer to the others as professional brethren.37 What of the age of the Net? Clearly our analysis of one empire for a short period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries cannot be extrapolated mechanically to the early twenty-first. The differences are legion: British style professionalism is only one way of organising ‘accounting' work (which is rapidly changing in any case), technology has improved dramatically, the USA is the dominant hegemon, the power of state agencies is in question, globalisation is not the exact equivalent of the late nineteenth century nation-state-driven imperialism, there are now multinational accountancy institutions, and so on. Nevertheless, we might do well to reflect on the fact that the accounting associations in our story (and many others) have been talking to each other and to state agencies for over a century. The nature and impact of such engagements has received very little scholarly attention. Nevertheless, the resulting arrangements constrain and enable what is possible now, nation state-based state agencies are far from powerless (see, for example, Weiss, 1998), and the scholarly analysis of contemporary negotiations about the conditions under which expert ‘accounting’ practitioners — peripatetic or otherwise — now go about their work, has barely begun. In case this might seem overly abstract, consider an example. The present tentative analysis may remind us that when we discuss international accounting in the context of globalisation there may be a tendency to assume that the practitioner capable of doing the work is available. To do so would be to ignore the long history, still ongoing, of how that practitioner was and is produced. Some of this is a cross-border history. We do not, however, claim to have unearthed a forgotten period in which the arrangements for producing the experts who perform today's international accounting were first put into place. Rather, we caution against taking such arrangements for granted. We further contend that the history of those arrangements is not concluded but ongoing. Indeed, the final (or next?) ironical twist to this story could well arrive in the twenty-first century. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as empires erased national borders, the CA associations at the centre sought strenuously to prevent the dilution of their brand name by maintaining Empire-wide borderlines. In today's allegedly post-colonial world, as technology and a triumphant trans-national liberalisation erase borders, the CA associations are again concerned about the viability of their brand. But instead of building longer, global fences, they are now talking of ‘reciprocal recognition’, ‘a common portal’ and ‘complete portability’. Perhaps, the Empire does strike back after all.