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The History Of Accountancy

By Theo Bowler

Accountancy has been a vital profession for as far back as 7,000 years. It has been used all over the globe in many different countries and cultures. The practice of accountancy has had a huge impact on the development of many empires and cities. The western world would not be what it is today without the use of accounting. The Industrial Revolution, for example, would have seen a lot of inventors and entrepreneurs go bankrupt had they not been able to use professional accountants.

The history of accountancy has very few names attached to it. There are in fact no names of accountancy innovation available before the Italian Renaissance. The discovering of new evidence linked to the history of accountancy is being unearthed all the time by archaeologists and historians however. This often shows the importance of accounting in ancient times.

The first recorded artefacts of accounting were discovered in the ruins of Assyria, Babylon and Sumeria. Here accounting tokens were first found. These tokens and symbols were used to record the personal assets of the local population and identity any excess. This system of accounts is thought to be one of the first accounting systems that man has ever known.

In the Mesopotamian culture, between 3700-2700 BC, they were recording the transactions of temples using clay tablets and engraved numeric symbols. Centuries later, the Roman people were also using tablets to make accounting records. The Roman Empire also used papyrus to keep detailed accounts of transactions. Particularly the Roman army would make detailed notes on the transactions of both cash and commodities.

The Christian Bible also refers to accounting. This can be seen in the New Testament in ‘The Parable of the Talents’. Many centuries later, in the Middle Ages, merchants didn’t need accounting as they made transactions through bartering. It was not until the 13th Century that medieval Europe began to use a monetary system and that keeping accounts became very important. It was around this time that the process of double-entry bookkeeping began use. This highly significant accounting technique was the explained in detail by the ‘Father of Accounting’, Luca Pacioli, in 1494. The process of double entry bookkeeping is still used frequently today.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Bowler, Theo "The History Of Accountancy." The History Of Accountancy. 21 Aug. 2010. 1 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Bowler, T (2010, August 21). The History Of Accountancy. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Bowler, Theo "The History Of Accountancy"

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