An examination of the emergence and the development of professional accountancy in Developing Countries

  • Anis Alnafati Zras

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Many accounting researchers in recent decades have come to realise the importance of recognising that accounting is more than a purely technical phenomenon divorced from the wider context in which it operates. Accounting should be viewed as a social practice intertwined with the social, political and economic environments in which it is functioning. Previous studies have established that the emergence and the development of the accountancy profession in former colonised countries did not always follow the same track as in developed countries for many reasons. Therefore, the need for further research in the context of Libya is justifiable as previous studies of the Libyan accountancy profession have generally ignored the influence of socio-political and historical factors.

    The primary aim of this thesis is to examine the emergence and the development of professional accountancy in the context of Libya during three different periods: the colonial eras (1551-1951), post-independence (1951-1969) and in the aftermath of the military coup (1969-2003). The secondary aim of this research is to investigate the conditions of possibility which lead towards the emergence of the accountancy profession in Libya, and link the outcomes of professionalization endeavours to the wider social context in which they occurred.

    To achieve the objectives of this research, this study relies on the ideas of power and knowledge relations introduced by Michel Foucault. Foucault’s ideas provide a better understanding of the emergence and the development of the accountancy profession, as ‘events’ and ‘discourses’ are central to understanding the emergence and the functioning of particular phenomena. Foucault explored how disciplinary knowledge functioned and how power was exercised. Thus, the professional body is viewed as a body of knowledge which emerged as a result of power relations.

    The study explores the multiple discourses which led to the emergence of the
    accountancy profession. The auditing profession started to emerge during the British administration which indicates that the British contributed to the evolution of the accountancy profession in Libya. The findings of this research provide an alternative view to the professionalization process in Libya. Also the findings of this research suggest that the accountancy profession was emerged and developed through banks during the 1950s and not through oil companies. Finally, the emergence of the Libyan Association of Auditors and Accountants LAAA is the outcome of the interplay between individuals (Libyan accountants) and institutions (the RCC and the FM) after the military coup in 1969.
    Date of AwardOct 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorLisa Jack (Supervisor)

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