Research in Accounting Regulation, vol.
Public accounting in not an industry, it is a profession. Professionals subordinate their self-interest when their selfinterest conflicts with the public interest. Since public accountants serve a vital role in the functioning of the capital markets, it is critical that they are seen by others and themselves as professionals. The PCAOB’s approach to regulation must bolster, not undermine, auditors’ professionalism. Similarly, accounting firms need to ensure that their cultures motivate auditors to appropriately prioritize public-interest responsibilities and commitment to competence. Finally, individual auditors must recognize that auditing is not just a job – it is a profession!