ABSTRACT

This paper traces the evolution of the chief accounting and chief financial officers from minor figures in corporate governance for most of the 20th century to senior management positions by the late 1970s. The paper begins with the testimony before Congress of Arthur Tucker during the debates over the legislation that would become the 1933 Securities Act. Tucker's testimony resulted in the controller or chief accounting officer being included among those persons specifically listed as potentially liable for fraudulent statements or omissions under Section 11 of the Act. The impact of Tucker's efforts, the evolution of the legal liability of financial and accounting officers over the next several decades, the increasing complexity of corporate finance and financial reporting that led to the establishment of the CFO as a position second only to the CEO, and the place of the accounting officer among senior management, are analyzed in the subsequent sections.

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