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Other cultures, other accountings? Islamic accounting from past to present Christopher Napier

Correspondence address:

School of Management Royal Holloway, University of London Egham Surrey TW20 0EX UK +44 (0) 1784 276121 Christopher.Napier@rhul.ac.uk

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Paper presented at the 5th Accounting History International Conference, Banff, Canada, 9-11August 2007

DRAFT – NOT FOR QUOTATION WITHOUT CONSENT OF AUTHOR

Other cultures, other accountings? Islamic accounting from past to present ABSTRACT Islam has represented one of the most significant manifestations of ‘the Other’ for those in the Western world for many centuries. Suggestions that accounting methods in Islamic societies were influences on the emergence and development of double-entry bookkeeping have been resisted, and accounting in Islamic societies remains a largely closed book to those in the West. Recently, a literature of Islamic accounting has begun to establish itself, and this provides an opportunity to study the factors that lead to the emergence of ideas and investigations within the study of accounting. Modern accounting in Islamic societies must face the challenge of reconciling a desire to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards with a need to preserve core Islamic values.

Other cultures, other accountings? Islamic accounting from past to present 1 Introduction

The theme of this conference is “Accounting in other places, accounting by other peoples”. The implication of the word “other” is that there has until now been a relatively small set of privileged “places” and “peoples” that have been the predominant focus of attention for historical accounting researchers. The privileged places are likely to include the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and to a lesser extent continental European countries such as France, Spain and Italy. The privileged peoples are the inhabitants of these countries, but excluding the “first nations” who lived there...