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Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance

Chapter 1: Moving Frames: Beginnings to 1974

The shape of early Accounting Studies at Macquarie would, in part, be made not by the particular shape of the discipline more broadly, but by the early presence and strengths of these figures [Harry Edwards, Noel T Drane and A.H. "Alf" Pollard]. By the time that Allan Barton arrived at Macquarie in early 1967, the key pieces—the Schools structure, the single Bachelor of Arts degree and degree regulations that would so distinguish Macquarie in its first 15 years, the flow of internal conversations and relationships—were already in place.

The modern accountant, noted Vatter, needed to engage complexity from the basis of a broad education that went well "beyond the techniques of accounting", combined with depth in mathematics, statistics and economics. This was not a challenge to accountants in particular, but a fundamental challenge to education for all the professions in a rapidly changing society. It was, more importantly, a basic condition for raising the status and income-earning potential of those in the profession.

The full-year subject 05110 Accounting 1, therefore, had as co-requisites Introductory Statistics, Introduction to Computing and Mathematics of Finance, and used R.L. Mathews' text Accounting for Economists. In addition to the lessons of the Venetians (the accounting process and double entry book-keeping), the student was introduced to financial reporting, theory and measurement of income and asset valuation, management accounting for industry and cost accounting. Whatever else it was that Macquarie accounting graduates would be able to do, they would be able to count.

Accounting academics in the mid-1960s had no training in empirical or statistical research methods and little confidence that they had a contribution to make beyond the occasional descriptive paper.

As it neared the end of its first decade, the Accounting discipline at Macquarie University had made a start. There were students enrolled, broad interest from the University's drawing pool, the beginnings of a graduate coursework program, and several iterations of students leaving the University to go into industry. To say, however, that the University had a reputation in the industry would have been stretching the point.