History of Accounting in Florida

Florida History

Florida became the 27th state of the United States of America in 1845, with agriculture as its primary business. In the late 1800s, Florida started to become a popular destination for the wealthy as railroads were built to accommodate their travel. Luxury hotels in Florida cities such as St. Augustine, Ormond Beach, and West Palm Beach began to be pop up along the rails. In the early 1920's the Florida Land Boom brought investors to Miami and Palm Beach to buy high priced parcels. The end of the land boom collapsed Florida's economy years earlier than the Great Depression of 1929.

The 1930's brought Florida its first theme parks like Cypress Gardens and Marineland. In 1971, Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom opened in Central Florida, which today is the home to Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld and other attractions. Early in the 20th century and increasingly after WWII began, Florida became a primary locale for the United States Armed Forces, with Naval Air Stations in Jacksonville, Mayport, Cecil Field, and Whiting Field along with Homestead, Eglin, and MacDill Air Force Bases. In the 1960's the Cape Canaveral area benefitted from the modern fervor over space travel. The “Space Coast” is home to Kennedy Space Center and is the center of the aerospace industry in the United States. Today Florida is a state of recreation and leisure, multicultural flavor, big cities and big business, government hubs, and quality higher education institutions.

Accounting in Florida

Along with Florida's unique history and business development, the business of accounting developed and grew into the industry as we see it today.

Florida Accounting Archives

UF's George A. Smathers Library Special Collections houses the Florida Accounting Archives, established in 1971 through gifts made and solicited by Dr. Williard E. Stone, Professor of Accounting, ca. 1960-1980, and Chairman of the Department of Accounting. The collection is composed of twelve manuscript groups relating to the history of accounting: (1) Klein, Hinds & Finke - The Kreuger Match Case, (2) Ralph S. Johns Collection of Accountants Certificates, (3) Raymond J. Chamber, (4) William Andrew Paton, (5) University of Florida Department of Accounting, (6) Elmer G. Beamer, (7) Miscellaneous Papers, (8) Birley Papers, (9) Marquis G. Eaton, (10) Louis O. Foster, (11) Paul Grady, and (12) Alvin R. Jennings.

Visit the Florida Accounting Archives Website (http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/manuscript/guides/AccountingCollection.htm).

Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA)

The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) was founded in 1905. Its mission for more than 100 years has been working to advance the accounting profession in Florida. The FICPA now has more than 19,000 members. Continued membership growth and renewal has made the FICPA one of the largest CPA organizations in the United States.

Historical Accounting Facts from FICPA
  • Walter Mucklow, holder of Florida CPA Certificate No. 1, is the 1st known accountant in the state to open his own office as a public accountant, 1901.
  • The Florida Society of Accountants was formed on April 20, 1905.
  • Florida became the 8th state to pass an accountancy act when Gov. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward signed it into law on June 5, 1905.
  • Florida adopts the American Institute of Accountants' (now AICPA) CPA exam, 1916.
  • In 1916, the Florida Society of Accountants changed its name to the Florida Society of Certified Public Accountants, restricting membership to CPAs only.
  • The first African-American CPA, John W. Cromwell, Jr., passed the CPA exam in 1921.
  • In 1924, the Florida Society of Certified Public Accountants changed its name to the Society of Certified Public Accountants in Florida.
  • 1927 marked the Society's fourth name change from the Society of Certified Public Accountants in Florida to the Florida Institute of Accountants.
  • Mary Luella Ritchie received her CPA certificate on Sept. 20, 1927 and became the first woman CPA in the state of Florida.
  • In 1951, the Florida Institute of Accountants adopted an amendment to change its name to the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Visit the FICPA Website (www.ficpa.org) for more information.

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