Wikipedia has some fascinating facts about accounting and its history. Accounting is thousands of years old and can be traced to ancient civilizations. The early development of accounting dates back to ancient Mesopotamia and is closely related to developments in writing, counting and money and early auditing systems by the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.
In India, Chanakya wrote a manuscript similar to a financial management book, during the period of the Mauryan Empire. His book "Arthashasthra" contains few detailed aspects of maintaining books of accounts for a Sovereign State. The Italian Luca Pacioli, recognized as The Father of accounting and bookkeeping was the first person to publish a work on double-entry bookkeeping and introduced the field in Italy.
The modern profession of the chartered accountant originated in Scotland in the nineteenth century. Accountants often belonged to the same associations as solicitors, who often offered accounting services to their clients. Early modern accounting had similarities to today's forensic accounting. Accounting began to transition into an organized profession in the nineteenth century, with local professional bodies in England merging to form the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1880.
Over the decades accounting has changed dramatically, especially with the advent of the internet. Now, most accountants are very tech-savvy and use the cloud as much as possible to handle accounting tasks.
Some differences between the old and new
Despite the advancements, there are major differences between modern, techie entrepreneurial accountants and old-fashioned accountants. Some of the differences are as follows:
- ‘Old-fashioned’ accountants tend to work in a traditional office during normal business hours. They are usually employees of another company or accounting firm. Modern ‘techie’ accountants can work in the office or at home. They made be employed by one or multiple companies. They set their own pace and working hours.
- Modern accountants are not limited by physical and geographical boundaries. They are able to work remotely and offer their services to foreign-based companies through their use of modern technology. They are less susceptible to a particular country’s recession than old fashioned accountants. An accountant who is based in South Africa can provide accounting services for a company in Bermuda.
- Old fashioned accountants do not work online nearly as much as the ‘new breed’. They have accounting systems that are on their desktops and laptops. Once they leave the office they leave their work. Modern accountants are able to work online through internet-based accounting systems like Quickbooks online. They are able to use their accounting systems in their offices and at home.
- Modern accountants are entrepreneurial. They offer their services and get paid for the job done. They run businesses in which they are the employee(s). They might also subcontract the work or employ other accountants. Their employees may also be located in other parts of the world. The employees may work from the office or their home.
- Modern techie accountants are always in touch with changes in the global world as they tend to manage their business from a global perspective. Old fashioned accountants usually look at things from their country’s perspective. Changes in the global world, as long as they don’t affect their country, do not concern them. They usually change things when it is a legal requirement or when it is too outdated.
- Modern accountants are able to advise their clients from global business trends and perspectives. They have a thorough knowledge of how the global business community operates and behaves. Old fashioned are not well versed with the global business community as they’ve not needed to be, in general.
- Modern accountants offer business owners a wide variety of service providers to choose from. This is because when a business owner is located in a country where the cost of accounting services is very high, they can get services from another country where the cost is reasonable.
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