Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

A History of Accounting Designations in the United States from James Bennett to the 21st Century

The purpose of this paper is to give a history of the origin of the titles used by accountants in the United States from the early part of the 19th century to the 21st century. Up until 1970, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) was the only certification option for accountants. Other accounting designations followed in the latter part of the 20th century to encompass areas not included by the professional term Certified Public Accountant. Starting with the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation initiated by the National Association of Accountants in 1972 and the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation established by the Institute of Internal Auditors in 1974, a proliferation of other titles and certifications followed in the 1980's. The impetus and benefits for these new certifications included employer recognition, prestige, and monetary, psychological, and personal benefits.