This paper will demonstrate that the continuous evolution of the accounting profession is in response to the major problems and regulations that exist in any given period. This metamorphosis yields opportunities, challenges, and sometimes results in stark contradictions that the profession must struggle with in order to go forward. The accountant has undergone a dramatic change during the 20th century. The transition from a bookkeeping and tax preparation role to one of a strategic management consultant has been dramatic. Accountants have moved from the back office to the front office. They have often redefined their roles from information processors to strategic business advisors. The key drivers that brought about this change in role include mass production, increased competition among accounting firms, advances in information technology, saturation in the audit service market, pressures on audit service partners, globalization, and the ever changing regulatory environment. This paper examines these changes in light of the challenges of the profession during the early 21st century.
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