The current trend toward corporate acquisitions of CPA firms poses potential threats to the autonomy and ethical standards of public accounting professionals. This recent consolidation movement suggests that for the first time a significant number of public accounting professionals are subject to the supervision and control of nonprofessionals. In addition to acknowledging the potential threats to auditor independence and objectivity, this paper suggests that these new organizational arrangements for the provision of public accounting services have other negative effects on professionalism and ethics such as desensitizing CPAs to traditional professional values, and subverting professional institutions to the goals of corporate employers. This paper develops a framework that identifies several specific research questions related to the effects of corporate ownership on professionalism and ethics in public accounting.

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