Abstract: International Accounting Congresses in the Twentieth Century: Networks and Organizations

Marc Nikitin, Yannick Lemarchand, and Henri Zimnovitch


Over thirty international congresses of accountants were held in the twentieth century. We tried first to inventory and classify them. Before World War II, accountants were grouped among two international networks, with very few links between them. On one side was a group headed by the United States, with Great Britain, Holland, and other countries of northern Europe; on the other side was a group of countries using Latin-based languages who were members of the Brussels-based Association Internationale de Comptabilité (AIC), affiliated with the Société des Nations. After the Second World War, the network built among latin countries was progressively replaced by a European organization of accountants. In 1973, the creation of the IASC meant an important turning point, as it was the birth of the first really international permanent organization. International congresses did not disappear, but progressively became big fairs that took place every five years. Those congresses confirmed the domination of the English-speaking world in accounting, and became a real merger of the previous separate streams. Whereas pre-1977 congresses were organized by networks of individuals, the setting up of those after 1977 was consigned to the IFAC, a network of accounting organizations.