Majoring in Accounting

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Accountants throughout the Years
The job of an accountant is to manage the income of a firm and to be certain that taxes are done correctly and paid on time. The United States Department of Labor specifies the several fields of accounting into four subcategories; these fields are public accounting, management accounting, government accounting, and internal auditing (The Bureau of Labor Statistics 1). The accounting industry, like every other industry in the business world, has a past, present, and future. It is important for newcomers in this industry to be prepared in order to be successful in the future.

The duties for each field in the accounting industry vary. Public accountants commonly focus on preparing income tax returns for clients. They often manage their own firms in which they help clients with their financial problems. But, some public accountants concentrate in forensics. “Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine whether an activity is illegal” (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2). They investigate crimes such as fraud. One of the most common fields of accounting is management accounting. These accountants deal with financial problems within the company that they work for. They also have high positions in the company and at times have the opportunity to make crucial business decisions. Government accountants work with government companies and are sometimes employed by the federal government. Those who are employed by the federal government often work as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents. Internal auditors have a minor role in the accounting industry. Auditors analyze the financial information within the company they work for and make sure that there are no indications of fraud. The different aspects of accounting signify the importance that each has in business, government, and finance.

Accounting has been a key factor of success for the business industry throughout the years. In his article “A Short History of Accounting and Business”, author Gary Giroux states that, “Accountants invented writing, developed the money and banking system, and innovated the double entry bookkeeping system” (Giroux 2). Accountants established core aspects of general knowledge that continue to be used on a daily basis. They also created the process of organization which is a factor of success, especially in the business world.

The concept of accounting generated during the Italian Renaissance. Fra Luca Pacioli, born during this era, published one of the first books titled “Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita”. In his article about the history of accounting, author James deSantis states that, “Pacioli wrote the “Summa” which had a section dedicated to record keeping and double-entry accounting, and it was one of the first published books of the time that would eventually become the accounting textbook for the next 500 years” (deSantis 1). Pacioli did not create the concept of double-entry accounting but he contributed ideas such as journals and ledgers which continue to be used today. With his accomplishments during the Italian Renaissance era, Pacioli is considered to be “The Father of Accounting”.

Pacioli’s basic accounting concept continues to be used today. Yet, over the past twenty years the technology industry has shifted the way bookkeeping is recorded. In the past, accountants did not have the privilege of technological devices such as computers, printers, fax machines, and scanners. Bookkeeping had to be done by hand which was time consuming and at times frustrating. A lot of patience was necessary in order to get the job done. Errors were also common in the past because everything was written manually and calculators were not available. Today accountants have the privilege in punching numbers into the computer and having the machine calculate their results. The current world of...
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