Raymond John Chambers

Raymond John Chambers (1917-1999) was born in 1917 and educated in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, before being awarded a scholarship to study economics at The University of Sydney, where he graduated in 1939. The first full-time lecturer in accounting at The University of Sydney, he was appointed to the University's foundation Chair of Accounting in 1960, a position he held till his retirement in 1983.

Chambers was a first class educator, researcher and mentor. He has been described by his 20th century peers as an "accounting pioneer" (Moonitz, Abacus 1982) and "intellectual giant" of the 20th century (George Staubus, Accounting Horizons, 2003) - truly a "Renaissance man" (Giuseppe Galassi, private correspondence with Graeme Dean, 2000). He was selected by Dick Edwards (1994) as one of his Twentieth Century Accounting Thinkers; he was, at the time the first non-American to be inducted into the Ohio Accounting Hall of Fame. He achieved many other awards and recognitions as listed in Chambers' Aide Memoire, which appeared in Vol. 6 of his collected works in Chambers and Dean's Chambers on Accounting: Logic Law and Ethics (2000).

Chambers is especially known for his proposed new system of accounting, Continuously Contemporary Accounting (CoCoA). What is not so well known, especially by younger accounting academics, is the role he played in lifting the status of accounting to that of an equal in the learned halls of the University. He fought for this for half a century. This aspect is well in material reproduced in Vol.3 and Vol.6 of Chambers On Accounting (edited by R.J. Chambers and G.W. Dean, 1986, 2000 respectively). Chambers published a dozen books and more than 200 articles.

There are many sources detailing various aspects of Chambers' life, including two festchrift issues of Abacus (December, 1982 and October, 2000). He provided useful summaries in "An Accounting Apprenticeship" (1991) and in the Introductory Preface to the re-release of Accounting, Evaluation and Economic Behavior in 1984. Those aspects are augmented with this R.J. Chambers Collection, officially made available to the public in November, 2004. Chambers described the period to which those files relate as ''perhaps the most eventful period in the history of accounting up to the terminal date [1985]. It was a period of substantial growth, of conglomeration on a large scale by mergers and takeovers, of intense multinational corporate development, of increasing use of modes of organization and methods of financing that were novel at the beginning of the interval ([1946]' (Chambers and Dean, Vol. 1., Chambers on Accounting, 1986).


* Note: all reference links are to University of Sydney Library databases.