A history of industrial accounting in the medieval era

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A history of industrial accounting in the medieval era

Early Accounting in Northern Italy: This paper offers an explanation of why doubleentry bookkeeping developed in the citystates of Northern Italy in the yearsand then how it then spread from there to the rest of Europe.

A history of industrial accounting in the medieval era

Increased economic activity initiated soon after the start of the Crusades, but then growing into an explosion of Italian trade byprovided Genoa, Florence, and Venice with enormous trading opportunities.

This expansion of trade created, in turn, the need for a much improved accounting technique.

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The spread of double entry was greatly abetted by the advent of cheap business arithmetics and grammars made possible by the invention of the moveable type printing. Venice was especially advanced in her printing industry during the years after Thus, it was that the double entry system was created in Northern Italy between primarily due to the development of the regional economy, and from there spread to the rest of Europe helped immeasurably by access to cheaply printed books.

This article is speculative, exploratory, unsettled and controversial. There is much research still to be done on these topics especially the relationship between privity, literacy and the precise mechanism by which double entry spread from Italy.

I want to express my heartfelt and sincere gratitude to the Societa Ligure di Storia Patria for making the Congress possible. The conference was made excellent by the careful and diligent work of Giuseppe Felloni and Dino Punuh.

A history of industrial accounting in the medieval era

They helped to make this paper much better than it would have been otherwise. I am especially in debt to Professor Felloni for time spent with me on this research. Relatively little has been done to shed light on why this system of accounting practices emerged in Italy in the early thirteenth century or how it spread from there to the rest of Europe.

These two issues are explored in this paper and preliminary results are provided to indicate that regional economic development and the technology of moveable type printing were primarily responsible for the rise and spread of double entry.

Named after the master himself, this organization is complete with a newsletter, research notes and trips to Italy.


The ironic feature of this celebration is that Pacioli denied any creative originality for the DE system; he was merely memorializing a system which he thought had existed for some two centuries or more in Northern Italy [Taylor,pp.

The literature on the specific origins of DE has gone through cycles over the past century, at first crediting Pacioli and Venice with its discovery. Later research by Fabio Besta and Edward Peragallo has demonstrated that Florence, Genoa and other commercial centers had developed DE either independently of the Venetians, or through a process of intellectual cross fertilization and simultaneous improvement and development.

Littleton, in his seminal book, described the neces referees were most valuable in clarifying my thinking and the character of the paper. I am most grateful to these two individuals, as well as editor Dale Flesher, for the time, trouble and care they spent in reviewing and developing this manuscript.

Academics have also focused their research on other accounting elements, such as the widespread use of the HinduArabic number system, to shed light on the appeal for DE [Williams,pp.

It is not the purpose of this paper to reopen any of the old debates. There is an abundance of research on the alleged locus of invention, and the current state of research on this issue is inconclusive as to specifics [Yamey,pp. The literature is relatively silent however on a related question, i.

To propose answers to these questions this paper focuses on two phenomena which have heretofore been overlooked in the historiography of DE, namely:Middle Ages, the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century ce to the period of the Renaissance (variously interpreted as beginning in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century, depending on the region of Europe and on other factors).

This paper traces developments in the financial management and control of monastic houses and their estates in England in the later Middle Ages, and seeks to identify the factors which lay behind these developments. It draws upon ecclesiastical, economic and accounting history literature.

De Roover, Raymond () “Accounting Prior to Luca Pacioli According to the Account-books of Medieval Merchants”, in Littleton A.C. and Yamey, B.S. (eds.), Studies in the History of Accounting, Sweet and Maxwell Limited, London, pp.

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