Welcome to beautiful Italy, birthplace of many of the world’s most important historical figures like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, And Luca Pacioli. Wait…you haven’t heard of Pacioli? In fact he is one of the most influential men of the Renaissance and yet few have heard of him. His work influenced many in his day and still does today for he is often referred to as the Father of Accounting.
The fact is that some sort of recordkeeping has been around for a very long time.
Pacioli took many of the different ideas about mathematics and recordkeeping and published a book which included 27 pages called "Details of Calculation and Recording" which has become the basis for modern double entry accounting.
In fact many of the terms you will hear in accounting like debit, credit, journal and ledger all originate from his 1494 text.
So when you think of Italy as the birthplace of science, art, and culture add accounting to that list.
In the mid-1800’s, England was in the Economic Capital of the World and in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. With industry moving from agriculture to manufacturing, a need arose for business owners to have a good understanding of the financial health of their businesses. During that time accountants from Scotland petitioned the Queen to grant them a charter providing them legal rights in in the profession of accounting. In fact the term chartered accountants comes from this event. So with the industrial revolution in high gear and a charter in place granting credibility and rights, modern accountancy was born.
Today the largest body of accountants in the United States is the AICPA which represents the CPA profession nationally. The AICPA's founding established accountancy as a profession distinguished by rigorous educational requirements, high professional standards, a strict code of professional ethics, a licensing status, and a commitment to serving the public interest.
In a recent survey done by the Department of Labor it is estimated that more than one million people work as accountants in the United States with many more working in accounting clerical and support positions. So, you can see that accounting has come a long way in 500 years since Pacioli first published his text. Accounting has grown out of obscurity into a well respected career path and profession. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Roy Morgan Research Firm listed accountant as the eleventh most respected career in the world one spot behind college professors.
Today the Economic Capital of the World is New York City, and specifically Wall Street -accounting is present there as well. Accountants provide the financial data that help investors analyze companies for potential investing decisions. The New York Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in the world in terms of market capitalization. By the end of 2013, companies whose stock trading on this exchange were worth approximately 16 trillion dollars. On average, a hundred and seventy billion dollars of securities or stocks are traded there daily and none of that would be possible without accounting.