Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of culture on accounting professionalism in 12 developing countries by applying Gray's 1988 model and Hofstede 1980 cultural study. Design/methodology/approach – Connecting seven variables introduced within a testable model lead the finding to classify the twelve countries within a range from statutory control to professionalism. The data set was collected from 1996 to 2000 through different sources. Twelve developing countries have been chosen from the Middle East and South East Asia in this study and cluster analysis is used for analysing and classifying the countries. Findings – The results show while the Gray's hypothesis of statutory control is positively confirmed for Iran, and moderately for Bangladesh, Jordan, Oman, and Qatar, it is negatively rejected for Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Research limitations/implications – One limitation of this study is the improvised nature of the data set caused by the difficulty in collecting an extensive data set from developing countries. Practical implications – The findings of the study provides a useful source of information about accounting authority in those developing countries in which improve the knowledge and literature about the accounting practice internationally. Originality/value – The findings of the study are useful in harmonization process of the international accounting practices. Knowledge about important aspects of accounting setting of the countries is essential to realize the impediments of harmonization.