An analysis of the complex relationship between accountants and the state and its impact on
the accountancy profession.
Assuming that the state needs resources to provide the public with adequate services and that
accountants can help the state collect revenues, it follows that the relationship between the state and
the accountancy profession should be simple and straightforward. However, recent scandals and
events have shown that accountants’ interests and needs do not always coincide with those of the
state and its citizens, which raises questions about the effects that such “divergences” may have on
accountancy’s claims of being a profession.
As MacDonald (1995) pointed out, capitalism has had a profound impact on both modern
professions and the state, affecting their respective structures and scopes, which is why its effects
on the accountancy profession should be analysed in order to identify the reasons that have made
the relationship between accountants and the state increasingly complex and contradictory.
However, in spite of the impact that the rise of capitalism and other phenomena, including
globalisation, have had on the accountancy profession, the term “professionalism” is still associated
with certain scopes, traits and ethical standards which have remained unvaried since the 11th
century, when the first Christian-inspired universities were established in Italy, France, England and
Spain. (Sokolowski, R., 2006)