July 17, 2012
Essay #3: Accounting Over The Years
Accounting has been around since the beginning of civilization and has come a long way since the days of counting fingers. It is one of the most important professions in the economic and cultural development. People of all cultures have kept various types of accounting records. The oldest known records are dated back to 3500 B. C., when the people in the Mesopotamian Valley keep records on clay tablets. This duty was that of a scribe, the Mesopotamian equivalent of today’s accountant. The scribe’s job was to record and audit transactions to ensure that they were in compliant with the Code of Hammurabi, the earliest legal code. (A Short History of Accounting ).
The first written evidence of accounting came in 1494. This was when Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan monk and mathematician, published his famous book "Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita", which translates to English as “The Collected Knowledge of Arithmetic, Geometry, Proportion and Proportionality”. (DeSantis) This book described the mathematical system used in Venice which stated that a merchant needed sufficient cash or credit, an accounting system, and a good bookkeeper to become successful. The Summa was one of the first books published on the Gutenberg press and was translated into German, Russian, Dutch, and English. This book made Pacioli a celebrity and insured him a place in history, as "The Father of Accounting." (DeSantis).
Pacioli dedicated a section of the Summa to bookkeeping. He called this part of the book, "Particularis de Computis et Scripturis", translated as “Details of Accounting and Recording”. This part the book was dedicated to the description of the double-entry accounting system that we know today (debits on the left, credits on the right). According to Accounting Troubleshooters, this section of the book described the use of journals and ledgers, and warned that a person...