The search for order in municipal administration: Herman A. Metz and the New York City experience, 1898– 1909

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Abstract

This paper examines the administrative and accounting reforms coordinated by Herman A. Metz around the turn of the 20th century in New York City. Reform efforts were motivated by deficiencies in administering New York City’s finances, including a lack of internal control over monetary resources and operational activities, and opaque financial reports. The activities of Comptroller Metz, who collaborated with institutions such as the New York Bureau of Municipal Research, were paramount in initiating and implementing the administrative and accounting reforms in the city, which contributed to reform efforts across the country. Metz promoted the adoption of functional cost classifications for city departments, developed flowcharts for improved transaction processing, strengthened internal controls, and published the 1909 Manual of Accounting and Business Procedure of the City of New York, which laid the groundwork for transparent financial reports capable of providing vital information about the city’s activities and subsidiary units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalAccounting Historians Journal
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting

Keywords

  • Accounting and control
  • Administrative reform
  • Budgeting
  • City of New York
  • Comptroller Herman A. Metz
  • Municipal accounting

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