Accounting History

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The history of accounting is as old as civilization, among the most important professions in economic and cultural development. Accountants invented writing, developed money and banking, innovated the double entry bookkeeping system that fueled the Italian Renaissance, were needed by Industrial Revolution inventors and entrepreneurs for survival, helped develop the capital markets necessary for big business so essential for capitalism, turned into a profession that brought credibility for complex business practices that sparked the economic boom of the 20th century, and are central to the information revolution that is now transforming the global economy. Twenty-first century accounting will resemble rocket science and will continue to be among the critical professions of the new century. Accountants have not excelled in public relations, but their story is fascinating. And here it is. There are no household names among the accounting innovators; in fact, virtually no names survive before the Italian Renaissance. It took archaeologists to dig up the early history and scholars from many fields to demonstrate the importance of accounting to so many aspects of economics and culture. This book covers the great events. From merchants and scribes long before writing and money, to today’s global information networks. Accounting history is summarized in seven chapters. An overview places accounting in perspective. In some ways accounting hasn’t changed since Luca Paciolli (father of modern accounting) wrote the first textbook in 1494. On the other hand, accounting has led the information revolution. Many aspects of 21st century accounting will be unrecognizable by today’s professional leaders. Understanding the role of financial needs today and in the future requires an understanding of the past. The role of accounting in the ancient world is coming into clearer focus with new archaeological discoveries and innovative...
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