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In this Issue

This issue commemorates our 85th year of publication with a look back at some of the more significant events and issues in the Journal's history. The editors hope that this issue will lead readers to reflect on how far the profession has come in these decades, as well as where we want to go in the next 85 years.

Perhaps no event in modern history has had a greater impact than the Second World War. Three feature articles by leading accounting historians Mark E. Jobe and Dale L. Flesher recall the response of leading professionals, institutions like the NYSSCPA, and publications like the Journal to wartime. The underlying theme running through the actions of CPAs in those years is that of service to the profession and the public. When the government called for help in keeping an unprecedented military and industrial effort going, members of a still-new profession answered the call. Their contributions helped keep vital businesses and government agencies running smoothly and working toward victory.

A broader view is taken by Richard Baker in his feature on the evolution of accounting standards from the beginning of the 20th century to today. The author argues that the principles of reliability, stewardship, and prudence—present decades ago in early accounting theory—have been replaced by relevance, as defined by standards setters influenced by capital markets and government regulators.

For as long as accounting has had a past, there have been those trying to predict its future. Authors Byron Henry and Margaret Hicks surveyed six predictions made by Howard Stettler nearly 50 years ago to see which have come true. If, as other more recent and more critical prognosticators claim, the accounting profession is in decline, the authors' question for readers is how can we return the focus to serving clients and the public.

The history of the accounting profession has also been one of expanding opportunity. That's been part of the mission of Baruch College, one of the oldest and most distinguished institutions of accounting education, and one that has long worked with the NYSSCPA to make the profession more inclusive and responsive. In this month's guest editorial, former NYSSCPA President Marilyn Pendergast reflects on the changes in the profession during her career, as well as the obstacles that still exist for her and future leaders. And Susan Anders takes a look at the outreach efforts of the American Woman's Society of CPAs and the Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance.

Finally, this issue marks the debut of a new column, “SEC Insights,” with author Allan Afterman's take on the more recent history of the convergence movement. He concludes with the question of whether, whatever its benefits, it is time to admit that the SEC's original vision will never be fulfilled.

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