Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kieso, Donald E.||Iliff, Kathryn (Professor of accountancy)

Degree Name

M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration)

Legacy Department

Department of Accounting


Accounting--Law and legislation--Illinois


The primary purpose of legislation to control the function of public accounting is to preserve and enhance the public health and welfare. In 1903, Illinois sought to do this by enacting its first law regulating public accounting. This first law has since been amended, supplemented, and supplanted by succeeding legislation so that now a fairly comprehensive set of requirements exists. In an attempt to alter these requirements, the Independent Accountants Association of Illinois has offered several proposals for change to the Illinois Legislature. Illinois House Bill 1137 represents the latest and most ambitious attempt to date. This study (1) traced the history of the requirements to practice public accounting in Illinois, (2) presented and analyzed the current law regulating public accounting, and (3) outlined and examined the ideas set forth in Illinois House Bill 1137. With these observations in mind, one purpose of this paper was to determine whether or not the present law adequately provides for the public welfare. Another purpose was to evaluate the proposals presented in House Bill 1137 to determine their value concerning society's well-being. The main sources of secondary research consisted of library readings and current literature. Primary research included consultation of persons knowledgeable in the area of past and current public accounting legislation. From the research conducted in this study, the following observations concerning the current law were drawn: 1. The definition of the function of public accounting as contained in the present law does not include many of the functions that a public accountant performs. 2. The law does not provide for a minimum set of educational and experience requirements for other than the attest function of public accounting. 3. The present law does not require continuing education on the part of the public accountant. 4. The present legislation lacks consistency with the laws of other states. Legislation similar to Illinois House Bill 1137 would not be in the public interest for the following reasons: 1. Legislation of this type would create confusion in the public's mind because persons with different levels of proven competence and different titles would offer the same services to the public. 2. It would allow persons to provide services which they were formerly prohibited from performing without demanding increased skill, knowledge, or experience. 3. The definition of the function of public accounting does not encompass all the functions of public accounting. 4. The examination provided for by the Bill would be a meaningless test for competence. In addition the study resulted in the submission of these following recommendations: 1. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Society of Public Accountants should work together to draft model legislation. 2. The legislation should define all functions of public accounting thus providing regulatory safeguards for all of the services offered to the public by such accountants. 3. Requirements for auditors performing the attest function should be similar to the Illinois requirements. Control over other functions of public accounting should be provided for by a set of less stringent educational and experience requirements.


Includes bibliographical references.


vi, 67 pages




Northern Illinois University

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