The purpose of this paper is to show how accounting technology transfers from the centre of the British Empire contributed to the early professionalisation of accounting and auditing practices in a New Zealand public utility company – the Auckland Gas Company – while it was operating in a colonial, pioneer, settler society.
An explanatory historical narrative links the company's inward transfers of accounting technology to the developing professionalisation of its accounting practices. Different analytical frameworks are used to combine the two components of the narrative: those of Jeremy for technology transfers, and Carnegie and Edwards for stages in the professionalisation process. The narrative is informed by archival research on the annual reports and financial statements of the company, and the minutes of its directors' meetings.
Accounting technology transfers are identified in the company's adoption of British accounting regulations, its appointment of skilled immigrants, and their adoption of contemporary English gas companies' accounting practices. Proto‐professional accounting, i.e. the earliest stage of accounting professionalisation as the practice changes from non‐professional to professional, is evidenced in the change in accountants' and auditors' work from unpaid to paid, and in their exercise of more specialised skills. Effects of technology transfer on the professionalisation of the company's accounting practices are traced through changes in its accounting methods, internal control systems, external reporting forms, and the auditing of its accounts.
The paper's focus on technology transfer in proto‐professional accounting in a New Zealand setting is an original contribution to the literature on accounting technology transfers between different countries in different periods.
Keenan, M. (2013), "Technology transfer in proto‐professional accounting: The Auckland Gas Company, 1862‐1892", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 80-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/01140581311318977Download as .RIS
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