Academy of Accounting Historians Annual Research Conference 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Chambers and the AICPA's Postulates and Principles Controversy: A Case of Vicarious Action

Paper co-authored with Martin Persson

This study seeks to provide an account, drawing on previously unexamined archival material, of some of the events surrounding the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) postulates and principles controversy in the 1960s. We examine these events from the viewpoint of Raymond J. Chambers, one of the most prolific and polarising figures in accounting academia. The study relies on items of correspondence from the R. J. Chambers Archive and utilises the term ‘vicarious action’ to describe Chambers’ inability to act directly on the AICPA and hence his need to influence the AICPA indirectly, through intermediaries such as Maurice Moonitz. Chambers made three separate vicarious attempts to influence the deliberations on postulates and principles at the AICPA, but all of these attempts proved unsuccessful. The turn of events at the AICPA eventually led to the abandonment of the postulates and principles mode of research as a foundation for future accounting promulgations in the United States.
Period17 Oct 201319 Oct 2013
Event typeConference
LocationOshkosh, WI, USA, United StatesShow on map


  • Accounting Theory
  • Accounting History
  • Postulates and Principles Debate
  • R.J. Chambers
  • Vicarious action