Diverging paths: Accounting for corporate governance in America and Germany

Fear, J. and Kobrak, C. (2006) Diverging paths: Accounting for corporate governance in America and Germany. Business History Review, 80(1), pp. 1-48. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680500080971)

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American and German accountancy took different paths in the early part of the twentieth century. In Germany, a persistent disconnect arose between relatively sophisticated managerial accounting practices for insiders and the methods used in public financial accounting. The “equity revolution” America experienced—an enormous shift in the number and expectations of shareholders—prompted new demands for financial statements designed to help evaluate the future earning power of companies. In contrast, the effects of World War I retarded equity–market development in Germany. Political frictions reinforced the Germans's; discomfort with equity markets and increased their resistance to revising accounting principles. Banks, tax law, courts, and lawyers, instead of professional accountants, became the primary source of accounting principles. Only in past decades, under pressure from the European Union and global capital markets, have the accounting systems begun to reconverge.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fear, Professor Jeffrey
Authors: Fear, J., and Kobrak, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Business History Review
ISSN (Online):2044-768X
Published Online:13 December 2011

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