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History of accounting

How did Accounting come about?

You know how people say that something’s been around for far too long that they can’t even remember life before it. Well, accounting is also as old as they come and can be traced back to thousands of years ago. In fact, the early development of accounting dates back to ancient Mesopotamia alongside other developments in money, writing, early auditing systems and counting. In this article, we are going to explore the origins of accounting and how it gradually metamorphosed to present day accounting as we know it. But before we get into it, let’s have a look at what accounting is and what it involves.

What is accounting?

Accounting is a profession that is used to make financial and business decisions or, if you like, a comprehensive and systematic recording of financial transactions that pertain to a business.

Origins of accounting

The art of accounting is said to have begun way back in time around 7,500 B.C when the Mesopotamians were using small clay objects to keep account of goods.

Accounting revolution

During the times of the Roman Empire, both military leaders and emperors were thought to have kept detailed records of all revenues and expenditures so as to better plan their activities with precision. However, come the medieval times, things change quite a bit with the emergence of the monetary economy hence making bookkeeping a tad more salient than ever before.

When medieval Europe moved toward a monetary economy in the 13th century, merchants at that time largely relied on bookkeeping to oversee multiple simultaneous financial transactions by bank loans. However, with the invention of the double entry system of accounting in 1458 by Benedetto Cotrugli accounting became even more revolutionised into an integral part of everyday business.

In the 19th century, the first modern accountants emerged as a sideline for solicitors and eventually as businessmen in their own rights.

Today, there is a plethora of professionals in the field with almost 150,000 chartered accountants in the UK alone who do just about any kind of financials from managing expenditures and incomes of large business enterprises to keeping track of their finances.

What does this mean for accountants in present-day age?

It’s indubitable to see that accountants are now revolutionaries in the field and can strongly control the world. Here’s how that paradigm shift has altered the lives of accountants and the lives of those touched by their brilliance.

  • Accountants can now be able to establish their niche to target precise markets.
  • There is now an evident symbiotic relationship between accountants and clients owing to the influence on business that has allowed them to flourish their businesses together.

Factors that accelerated the need for accounting

  • The ability to accumulate personal wealth which then birthed the need to keep track of everything.
  • The rise of ruling entities such as governments and royal families which brought about the need to have a consistent way of recording tax.
  • The growth of global trade which could easily have led to losing track of activities without the help of detailed records

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