Occupational differentiation and exclusion in early Canadian accountancy

J.R. Edwards, S.P. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Canada's 1881 census enumerators posed a range of questions that provide scope for an in-depth investigation of the identity of its accounting functionaries (accountants and bookkeepers) in that year. The significance of our findings is explained by applying the concept of closure through exclusion and occupational differentiation. We discover that Canada's accounting community, at the dawn of professional organisation, was dominated by people originating from Great Britain & Ireland. The rural/urban divide for Canada's accountants is the inverse of that for the population as a whole and, as in Britain, congregation occurs around the major commercial ports. Significant differentiation exists between the demographic profile of Canada's accounting functionaries compared with its entire population and between that of accountants compared with bookkeepers. Strong evidence of exclusionary closure is revealed through an analysis of the demographic characteristics of the initial leaderships of Canada's early accounting associations. The paper concludes by identifying opportunities for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-391
Number of pages19
JournalAccounting and Business Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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