The genesis of double entry bookkeeping

Sangster, Alan (2016) The genesis of double entry bookkeeping. The Accounting Review, 91 (1). pp. 299-315. ISSN 0001-4826

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The emergence of double entry bookkeeping marked the shift in bookkeeping from a mechanical task to a skilled craft, and represented the beginnings of the accounting profession. This study seeks to identify what caused this significant change in bookkeeping practice. I do so by adopting a new accounting history perspective to investigate the circumstances surrounding the emergence of double entry in early 13th century Italy. Contrary to previous findings, this paper concludes that the most likely form of enterprise where bookkeeping of this form emerged is a bank, most likely in Florence. Accountability of the local bankers in Florence to the Bankers Guild provided a unique external impetus to generate a new form of bookkeeping. This new bookkeeping format provided a clear and unambiguous picture of the accounts of all debtors and creditors, along with the means to check that the entries between them were complete and accurate.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: accountability; banking; book transfer; double entry bookkeeping; dual entry bookkeeping; new accounting history; single entry bookkeeping
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5601 Accounting. Bookkeeping
H Social Sciences > HG Finance > HG1501 Banking
Depositing User: Alan Sangster
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2016 07:46
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 05:36

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