Accounting and empire

professionalization-as-resistance. The case of Philippines

Maria Cadiz Dyball*, Chris Poullaos, Wai Fong Chua

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the emergence of the Philippine public accounting profession, which began with the Philippine accounting law in 1923 when the Philippines was a colony of the United States. Our study covers the period from 1898 (the American invasion of the Philippines) to 1929 (the immediate aftermath of the law). Extant research into the emergence of professionalization projects identifies as precursors: a competitive market for accounting services, self-organizing groups of accountants, and a 'self-directed' modernist state. These precursors did not apply to the Philippines. We propose that the Philippine project is best understood as a form of native resistance (Said, 1993, Culture and Imperialism, Chatto & Windus Ltd.). We argue that the law, promoted by a wholly-Filipino legislature, simultaneously both (a) addressed American concerns about financial probity and Filipino competence and (b) sought to (pre)capture the identity and work of the certified public accountant (CPA) from the Americans, who introduced the CPA into Philippine politics to expose Filipino mismanagement of government monies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-449
Number of pages35
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Accounting
  • Empire
  • Native resistance
  • Philippines
  • Professionalization
  • United States

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