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  Why study accounting history? 


      Accountants were present at the creation of civilization, maintained their importance throughout history, and proved essential at various stages of cultural development—from the earliest record-keeping and the invention of writing, to double-entry bookkeeping, cost accounting of complex manufacturing, the development of professional management and accounting (which went hand-in-hand), through the amazing technologies of the information age.  In other words, our civilization does not exist without sophisticated accountants and their dynamic inventions.  Telling this amazing story is the purpose of this book.           

Key Events in Accounting

Accounting History, Volume 1

Clay tokens used as inventory counters, 10,000 years ago; first evidence of accounting.

Amitino Manuchi, Italian merchant: first complete double entry bookkeeping discovered, 1199.

Luca Pacioli's Summa, includes description of double-entry bookkeeping, 1494.

18th century Potter Josiah Wedgwood, survives depression based on sophisticated cost accounting analysis of operations.

SEC given authority to regulated accounting, which was delegated to the private sector. FASB established in 1973 to set GAAP.



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Accounting History and the Rise of Civilization: now available at Amazon and BEP     

The story of accounting and how information is collected, analyzed and disclosed is as old as—and absolutely essential to—civilization.  A fair number of key ingredients needed for modern business (and other institutions) were invented in the ancient world—money, record keeping, numbers, writing, property rights, trade, banking, the corporation.  Many of the factors that are part of today’s rocket science on Wall Street date back to earlier centuries, including the use of credit, derivatives, and stock markets—not to mention manipulation and fraud.  Financial, managerial and other accounting information was needed for successful entrepreneurs.  The information revolution started with Gutenberg’s press (which conveniently spread Pacioli’s Summa across Europe), the Industrial Revolution with the steam engine, mass transit with the railroad, and instantaneous communications with Samuel Morse’s telegraph. The internet represents important extensions of earlier innovations, the latest phase of the information revolution.  Accountants were directly (or indirectly) involved in all of these and accounting information permeates virtually every aspect of the complex culture that is modern civilization. Management efficiency, productivity and transparency does not exist without accounting.

Accounting History, Volume 2




  a. Ride Through Accounting History

1. Accounting and the Ancient World

2. The Dark Ages to the enlightenment

  b. Double Entry: A Primer

3. Britain and the Industrial Revolution

  c. What is Capitalism and Why is it          Important to to Civilization?

4. The Early American Experience

5. Railroads

6. Industrialism and Professional  Management

  d. Panic Attack: All Those Pesky  Bubbles and Collapses





1. Auditing

  a. Audit Opinions

2. Taxes and Funding Public Policy

3. Public Policy and Government    Accounting

4. Markets, Madness, and the New Deal

  b. Scandals and Corruption

5. Post-World War II Business and  Accounting

  c. What's So Difficult About Setting  Financial Accounting Standards?

6. The Tech Bubble to Subprime  Meltdown

 d. Information Technology




Powerpoint Slides for Accounting History, Vol. 1
Powerpoint Slides for Accounting History, Vol. 2

Useful Webpages

Useful Downloads

American Exceptionalism
Capitalism (American Exceptionalism?)
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