Search This Blog

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


The ancient Romans were obsessed with record keeping. Their military bases kept detailed accounts on everything from how much grain was in their stores to how many nails were in their workshops.

St Matthew the Evangelist, author of the first of the Gospels, is the patron saint of accountants. He is also the patron saint of tax collectors, bookkeepers, stock brokers and bankers. Matthew was a tax collector for the King of Judea (Herod) when Jesus called him to be one of his first Disciples. 

Cost accounting is mentioned in the Bible  Luke 14 v 28 says “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?" 

The word “accountant” comes from the French word “compter,” which means to count or score. Over time, the “p” was dropped in both spelling and pronunciation.

During the 13th century bankers from north Italy, collectively known as Lombards, gradually replaced the Jews in their traditional role as money-lenders to the rich and powerful. Creative accountancy enhanced by the recent invention of double-entry book-keeping enabling them to avoid the Christian sin of usury; interest on a loan was presented in the accounts either as a voluntary gift from the borrower or as a reward for the risk taken.

In 13th century western Europe, businessmen commonly opened on their books an account for “Messer le Bon Dieu” or “God Esquire”. When a contract was signed, God was called in as a witness and received a penny.

The first manual on a double-entry bookkeeping system was written by Benedikt Kotruljević in 1458.

Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli wrote a book on double-entry accounting in 1494. Although double-entry bookkeeping had been around for centuries, Pacioli’s 27-page treatise on the subject has earned him the title “The Father of Modern Accounting.”

Bubble gum was invented in 1928 by accountant Walter Dimer.

The state of New York gave its first certified public accountant (CPA) exam in 1896.

In 2003 a federal judge approved a settlement in which World Com would pay a $750 million fine for its $11-billion accounting scandal.

The FBI counts more than 1,400 accountants among its special agents.

Celebrities who began their careers as accountants or CPAs include jazz artist Kenny G. and comedian Bob Newhart. Other celebrities who studied accounting before hitting the big time include author John Grisham, Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and singer Janet Jackson.

First man on the moon Neil Armstrong was the son of an auditor. His father, Stephen Armstrong, was an auditor for the Ohio state government.

Bookkeeper and words derived from it (eg bookkeeping) are the only words in the English language with three consecutive double letters.


No comments:

Post a Comment