Inter-professional conflict over insolvency work in Victorian England and Wales is often considered a formative instance of jurisdictional competition between accountants and lawyers. The paper explores this episode in the context of Abbott's theory of The System of Professions. It is shown that the Bankruptcy Act, 1869 disturbed inter-professional relations and unleashed competition between accountants and lawyers for insolvency work. However, the resultant hostility was substantially conducted through the professional media and did not engage unified occupational communities. In everyday practice accountants and lawyers maintained relations of mutual dependency rather than conflict. Some elements of a jurisdictional settlement between accountants and lawyers over bankruptcy work was achieved during the 1870s and 1880s through an intellectual division of labour, judicial decision making and organisational change. However, these forms of settlement seldom proved conclusive and statutory changes effectively perpetuated inter-professional competition for insolvency work into the 20th century.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Accounting and Business Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2004|