The marketization of accountancy

Authors: Picard, Claire-France
Abstract: The 1980s were marked by the introduction of marketing expertise into the accounting field as an influential area of knowledge. Previously disregarded and even formally forbidden by the profession, marketing initiatives became essential for the advancement of an increasingly profit-centered practice. Within just a few years, marketing became an obligatory passage point within accountancy in order to attract and maintain clientele, recruit qualified staff, and retain competent employees. Based on data generated from interviews and document analysis, this article documents the “marketization” of accountancy in North America—specifically in the context of accounting firms—and its implications for the field. To conduct this work, I draw on actor–network theory and Callon’s moments of translation. My results show that the marketization movement can be regarded in two contradictory ways: as the result of a network of translations and associations where skepticism dominates, or as the fruit of the “progress” of marketing skills achieved after marketing expertise was legitimated. This study also underlines the implications for professional accountant status and identity representation as a result of the recruitment of marketing experts by accounting firms. Fundamentally speaking, this paper questions the threat that the marketization of accountancy poses to traditional professionalism.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 21 July 2015
Open Access Date: 21 July 2018
Document version: AM
This document was published in: Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 34, 79–97 (2016)
Academic Press
Alternative version: 10.1016/
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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