Accounting’s Ledger System – 1494 codification

Source: Wikipedia, date indeterminate

Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita (Summary of arithmetic, geometry, proportions and proportionality) is a book on mathematics written by Luca Pacioli and first published in 1494. It contains a comprehensive summary of Renaissance mathematics, including practical arithmetic, basic algebra, basic geometry and accounting, written in Italian for use as a textbook.

The Summa is the first printed work on algebra in a vernacular language, and it contains the first published description of the double-entry bookkeeping system.[1] It set a new standard for writing and argumentation about algebra,[2]and its impact upon the subsequent development and standardization of professional accounting methods was so great that Pacioli is sometimes referred to as the “father of accounting.”[3]


Within the chapter on business, a section entitled Particularis de computis et scripturis (Details of calculation and recording) describes the accounting methods then in use among northern-Italian merchants, including double-entry bookkeepingtrial balancesbalance sheets and various other tools still employed by professional accountants. The business chapter also introduces the rule of 72 for predicting an investment’s future value, anticipating the development of the logarithm by more than century.[6]

These techniques did not originate with Pacioli, who merely recorded and explained the established best practices of contemporary businesspeople in his region; still, the Summa’s role in standardizing and disseminating professional bookkeeping methods has earned Pacioli a reputation as the “father of accounting.”[3]

The book was originally published in Venice in 1494 by Paganino Paganini,[7]


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