This paper examines the scientific debate that took place in 1973 in the journal Rivista dei Dottori Commercialisti (Italian Journal of Chartered Accountants) between Pietro Onida and Raymond J. Chambers concerning the nature of financial statement information. Our research revealed that Onida was the advocate of a teleological theory of the financial statement, whereas Chambers supported the perfect neutrality of accounting information. Going back to theoretical precedents, the thoughts of the two scholars have different ontological and epistemological assumptions. If, ontologically, Chambers conceives reality as unique and objective, being inspired by the neopositivism of the “received view,” Onida admits the existence of multiple realities by adopting an interpretivist perspective. Epistemologically, the Australian scholar approaches accounting as a pure science by leveraging its deductive moment rather than empirical recognition, whereas the Italian author conceives accounting as an “application science” and adopts a method where the inductive approach prevails.

JEL Classifications: M40; M41; M49.

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