This paper compares and contrasts the conceptualization of “profession” in history and accounting. Professional history and, to a more limited extent, professional accounting have their 19th century origins in notions of scientific method and objectivity as well as in motives of “closure” and exclusivity. The paper argues that these “scientific” origins of both history and accounting rendered them exclusive not only in membership but in methodology. As scientific approaches relied on documentary evidence, various rich, if less reliable, sources of evidence were excluded. This resulted in the representation of a limited and flawed “reality” in both history and accounting which led to 20th century threats to their legitimacy. The paper concludes that exploration of the interfaces between history and accounting offers new perspectives on both disciplines as we enter the 21st century.

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