This content analysis of Journal of Accountancy items relating to governmental accounting spans a period of nine decades which included two world wars, a severe economic depression, and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, These decades marked the departure from simpler local government accounting concerns alone to national governmental issues and the call for consistent accountability among the myriad federal agencies and programs.

Considering the growth of the public sector, its importance to all other spheres of American life, the complexity of governmental financial administration, and the events of the times, governmental accounting received only a modest amount of attention in the AICPA's journal — probably less than five percent of published content over the period. This limited coverage suggests a minimal amount of attention to governmental accounting matters within the profession which may be due in part to the fact that governmental accounting, until recently, was not a principal component of the profession's scope of services.

From a content perspective, the Journal did a more than adequate job of keeping its readers abreast of current developments through short news items. From a substantive viewpoint, however, the major papers were often reactive rather than forward-looking, or calling for positive change. Perhaps in part because of these realities, today, three quarters of a century after some of the early papers were published on related issues, the GASB continues to struggle with basic financial accounting and reporting issues for state and local government.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.