Pacioli on Profits

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Luca Pacioli is referred to as both the “Father of Accounting” and the “Father of Profitability.” He was the first to describe in detail the double-entry bookkeeping, a process that plays an integral role in the development of capitalism as it allows us to calculate profits (Fischer, 2000). According to Pacioli, the hallmark of a successful business is what he calls the profit motive. This is the notion that successful business men and women must acknowledge and be influenced by the spiritual aspects of their lives. Or more specifically, Pacioli maintained that business people must insist on justice, honour, and truth, elements derived from an almighty being. For Paciloi, these three elements ought to guide business transactions. Pacioli believed that businesses must not pursue blind profits; instead, business needs to be aware of social constructs. However at the same time, he wholeheartedly believed in seeking maximum profits because profits are motivators, making people work both more efficiently and happily (Fischer, 2000).

Pacioli’s profit motive schema brings a sense of morality into business. Perhaps he was influenced by his work with the Catholic Church (Fischer, 2000). It seems that though Pacioli believed in maximizing profits, he believed in doing so in an ethical manner. In this way it seems that what Pacioli prescribed was more for business people than for business in general. Especially in today’s economic climate where the middle and lower class is struggling much more than higher income people, Pacioli’s prescriptions are relevant and necessary. In this way, it seems that Pacioli would prescribe business men and women to pursue profit in a way that is reasonable, lawful, and moral. Though Pacioli didn’t specifically discuss the role of profit motives in not-for-profit organizations, his profit notions are relevant to such kind of businesses. As a person who has spent time working with not-for-profit organizations, it seems that non-profit...
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