If critical accounting's mandate is to interrogate activities that fall into that deep chasm between private and public interests, then the advent of an American Accounting Association journal, Accounting and the Public Interest, is long overdue. In meeting this mandate, critical researchers must guard against becoming wedded to ossified and out‐moded notions of public interest; they must be vigilantly self‐critical. In this spirit, this paper visits the work of a pre‐eminent public interest advocate, Abraham Briloff. Briloff's critique reigns supreme as the foremost challenge to the Accounting Establishment. Typically, his investigations focus on “The Profession,” and the audit and reporting practices of large accounting firms (the Big 8/6/5). So dominant has been the Brilovian critique that, in the U.S. today, it dwarfs all other forms of critical accounting inquiry. This paper argues that the Brilovian focus on “The Profession,” as an initial starting point, may have been adequate for its time; however, it is increasingly limited as a basis for critical research—in the U.S. and elsewhere. “The Profession” focus excludes a growing amount of accounting activity—as to what accounting produces, and how accounting is reproduced—that requires analysis and intervention. This paper reviews the perspective of “The Profession” and then explores an array of starting points that share the common trait of being expressions of the commodity form.

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