History of Accounting

The single contributing factor for the success of modern day business is the double entry system. Prior to that the accounting systems that were followed were diverse and lacked proper system. The double entry system of accounting is in its present from more than 700 hundred years. But its origins can be traced back to the Republican Rome, where documented evidence can be found to record a transaction in two sides. One side of it used to be called a debtor and the other side a creditor. Further traces can be found in the 12th century, when it is widely used in the Islamic world.


Merchants, Businessmen and especially Governments felt the need for a better accounting system. The main contributing factor for evolution of the system is separation of ownership from management and there arose a need for careful need for recording transactions and employee's performance. Also many wars, and other big events have necessitated proper systems of recording the expenditure incurred by Governments. Other factors were development of currencies in world trade and a medium (paper) for recording transactions permanently. The acquaintance of Arabic Numerals (1,2,3...) over Roman Numerals (I, II, III, IV...) also helped in the development, though not a main contributing factor.

There are several unauthentic records that the double accounting system were used by many banks, Governments, merchants. But credit of documenting the system in proper way goes to Luca Pacioli. He first documented the principles in his mathematics book in 1494. He is often called the "father of accounting", since he was the first to publish the detailed description of the double entry system, which enabled others to study and evolve.