The purpose of this paper is to examine the enforcement of the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct (Rules) from 1946 to 1978. This period encompasses the early regulation of the Texas accounting profession after the passage of the Texas Public Accountancy Act (Act) in 1945. The Act and accompanying Rules remained in effect until 1979, when the Texas legislature enacted new accountancy legislation which inaugurated a more regulatory era.

Results indicate that enforcement of the Rules of Conduct was a process evolving over time as both the state and professional political systems impacted the behavior of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. During the period under study, internal professional competition between certified public accountants and non-certified public accountants surfaced as a substantial explanatory factor behind rule promulgation and enforcement. Violators differed from non-violators in level of education, type of training, and type of practice. In total numbers, certified public accountants were subject to more hearings and sanctions than non-certified public accountants. However, in accordance with expectations, the public accountants received a disproportionate share of alleged violations and sanctions. Violations implying practice incompetence and those impairing professional integrity were subject to more severe disciplinary actions, but the Board heard more competitive behavior allegations than those involving malpractice.

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