This article starts by highlighting the significance of two forms of authority'private and technical authority'that are becoming increasingly important relative to public authority, which traditionally has been considered the only relevant form of authority in international affairs. It then suggests that public, private and technical authority are related to one another not by the erasure of one by another, but rather through a process of politicized functional differentiation. Functional differentiation involves the transformation of multi-functional units into a set of more autonomous units that are related to one another in specific limited ways. The article explores differentiation between and within each of the three types of authority in the globalization of accounting, and the role of power as well. It challenges the view that globalization necessarily involves a centralized exercise of power or an elimination of differences.