History of Accounting

May 4, 2015 | Raya

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(photo courtesy of http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~pattrsn/venice.html)

The need to keep accounting records can be traced back more than 5,300 years ago in the meticulous records of the ancient Egyptian bookkeepers who kept track of goods in royal storehouses. Historians believe this ancient record-keeping was the basis of the invention of writing and numbers. However, the fathers of accounting are considered to be the Venetians of the 14th to 16th centuries. In 1494, mathematician Luca Pacioli published the world's first printed bookkeeping treatise entitled The Collected Knowledge of Arithmetic, Geometry, Proportion and Proportionality in which he describes the use of double-entry bookkeeping used by Venetian merchants. Translated into many languages it became the reference text and teaching tool for the next several hundred years.

In 1854, Queen Victoria created the profession of chartered accountants after granting a royal charter to the Institute of Accountants in Glasgow and laid the way for the modern, formal accounting profession. The first national U.S. accounting society was set up in 1887. The profession of accounting was recognized in 1896 with a law stating that the title of certified public accountant (CPA) would only be given to people who had passed state examinations and had three years of experience in the field. In 1902 an Act of Parliament of Canada incorporated the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants while the Certified General Accountants Association was founded in 1908 in Montreal and federally incorporated in 1913.

Accounting is the basic tool for recording, reporting, and evaluating economic events and transactions that affect business enterprises. Every business needs to keep track of the flow of money into and out of its accounts in order to have an accurate picture of its true financial well-being. Armed with such knowledge, businesses can make appropriate financial and strategic decisions about their future.

To read more about the history of accounting or borrow how-to guides, take a look at these:

Double entry The Reckoning Sum of satisfactions Accounting

Accounting for Canadians Bookkeeper's Boot Camp Accounting for non-accountants Bookkeeping essentials