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History of Accounting


Italian merchants developed the double-entry bookkeeping system in the 13th century. It uses Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals and also records every transaction twice, not just once, once on the debit side and once on the credit side. Luca Pacioli described this method in 1494 in a printed book as Venetian bookkeeping - and spread it as a new standard from Italy throughout Europe. For the first time since 1511 a record of these procedures has been handed down from Germany - by the accountant of the trading house Fugger, Matthäus Schwarz.

Pacioli was a friend of Leonardo da Vinci and the method he described was awesome. It took into account the limited capacity of the human brain and was used for approximately 490 years without significant changes. In the course of modernity and the industrial age, accounting is becoming a focus of legislation and increasingly regulated. In 1794 this includes the introduction of the general accounting requirement for companies with the General Prussian Land Law or in the French Code de Commerce of 1807, but also the emergence of the Prussian Commercial Code of 1861, which was converted into the German Commercial Code in 1897 and is still valid in its basic features.

In 2003, the Council of the European Union approved a regulation obliging the application of the International Accounting Standards from 2005 on to consolidated financial statements of capital market-oriented companies. As part of this development, Germany is breaking away from the accounting principles previously codified in the HGB and is primarily addressing Anglo-American accounting rules.

Only for about 30-40 years are the companies using newer, computer-assisted methods, which, however, have not yet penetrated into textbooks. Pacioli could only collect monetary units, currently units of measure and monetary units can be processed. Paciolio could only record data from the past. Today's systems want to gain data for the future based on past data. One must learn Paciolio's accounting, the approach of this project can be realized without much prior knowledge. It is now time, as Pacioli 525 years ago, to describe today's possibilities as a stringent system and thus replace the method of 1494 in the textbooks.