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History of Accounting


history of accounting

History of Accounting

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By definition, accounting is a system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions. For as long as civilization has been engaging in trade, methods of record keeping, accounting, and accounting tools have been invented. Marla Matzer Rose, author of Accounting & Auditing History writes that the earliest known writing discovered by archaeologists has, when translated, been found to be records of tax accounting. Such writings have been found on clay tablets from Egypt and Mesopotamia from as early as 2000 to 3300 B.C., as humans formed governments, accounting became a necessity.

Modern Acounting

According to Accounting a Virtual History, the innovative Italians of the Renaissance (fourteenth through sixteenth century) are widely acknowledged to be the fathers of modern accounting.

In particular, Benedetto Cotrugli invented the "Double Entry" and Frater Luca Bartolomes Pacioli invented Pacioli's System of memorandum, journal and ledger, and wrote many books on accounting.

Luca Pacioli

Pacioli wrote Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita in 1494, which included a twenty-seven page treatise on bookkeeping, Particularis de Computis et Scripturis (Details of Calculation and Recording) on the subjects of record keeping and double-entry accounting, that became the reference text and teaching tool on those subjects for the next several hundred years. Summa was one of the first books published on the historical Gutenberg press and the included treatise was the first known published work on the topic of double-entry bookkeeping.

Chartered Accountants

The first professional organizations for accountants were established in Scotland in 1854, with the Edinburgh Society of Accountants and the Glasgow Institute of Accountants and Actuaries. The organizations were each granted a royal charter. Members of such organizations could call themselves chartered accountants and there are now organizations for chartered accountants all over the world.
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