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Long and Short History of Accounting

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Just as taxes will be with us until the end, the history of accounting is as old as that of civilization. 

Early accounting history
The earliest examples of accountancy date back to the Sumerians in Mesopotamia when it became necessary to make and keep accurate records of agricultural goods. The New Testament mentions accounting in the book of Matthew 25:19, the story of the Talents. The Muslims were said to use fairly complex accounting systems as early as the seveneth century. Simple accounting for trade and credit arrangements is mentioned in the Quran (Quran 2: 282).

 First recorded accounting books
The first book on accounting was written by Benedetto Cotrugli, a Croatian merchant. After meeting many merchants, he decided to write a book on  modern, double-entry book-keeping, which he finished n 1458. It was not published until 1573. For this reason, Luca Pacioli, who wrote the Summa de arithmetica, geometrica, proportioni et proportionalita in1494), is seen as the father of accounting. Subjects covered in the book include balance sheets, income statements, accounting ethics and cost accounting.

Modern accounting history
There has been a steady stream of books on accountancy since the 16th century. While several sophisticated accounting models have developed over the years, accountancy has changed little in essence since the birth of double-entry book-keeping. Financial scandals such as the collapse of Enron in 2001 has meant new laws to properly audit and govern company finances, giving rise to a new range of opportunties for accountants, such as the rise of forensic accounting.

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