A History of ACCOUNTANCY
By Edward Mendlowitz
Accounting is perhaps one of the most innovative professions. Although the CPA is a relatively young designation, the skills of a CPA are deeply rooted in history.
3000 B.C. to 2500 B.C.
Ancient Sumerians invent the world’s first written language. Cuneiform eases record-keeping requirements for Sumerian cities expanding trade. Across the ancient world, rulers tax their people to finance public works, making records necessary to account for transactions.
The commercially oriented Phoenicians invent a 22-character phonetic alphabet, probably for bookkeeping purposes and to prevent themselves from being cheated by the more advanced Egyptians.
Evidence of Sinhala Alphabet on a pot shred.
An Egyptian sarcophagus describes the decedent as, among other things, a “comptroller of the scribes.” The rise of commerce and expansion of business activity has expanded the role of the accountant. The Old Testament may have recorded the first “management consultant” as Jethro advises Moses on delegating authority. The “Book of Exodus” (38:21) also has the first auditor with Moses engaging Ithamar to do an audit of the riches contributed for the building of the Tabernacle to be used in the 40-year journey.
Egyptians invent the bead-and-wire abacus.
Aristophanes refers to the incorrect accounts of Pericles in his play The Clouds in 423 B.C. Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians have instituted auditing systems where everything that went into and came out of storehouses was double-checked. Such “audit reports” were given orally, thus the later term “auditor,” derived from the Latin audire, to hear.
Complete Sinhala Alphebet on Rock Inscriptions.
The ancient text book ARTHASASTRA of Kautillya of king Chandragupta the Grandfather of King Asoka of Maghadha lays down all rules and regulation of monetary system ,accounting and banking.
King Devanampiyatissa selects an accountant or Ganaka named Tissa as part of delegation to King Asoka court , they spend 6 months and Asoka honours him with title of Setti a Chief Banker.
Arrival of the Uncles of Rev Mahinda whose grandfather was Setti a banking Corporation at Vesali India, along with the Bo- sapling.
The complete Sinhala Alphebet on inscribed coins
Egyptians inscribe the Rosetta Stone, a key to their language and civilization, which includes the account of a tax revolt and the reaction to it by the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy V. Taxation has become a fuel of Mediterranean civilization, creating the need for scribes to record payments.
The Sinhalese had a numeration system consisting of 22 numbers , these are available on many contemporary Sinhala Inscriptions found in all parts of the Island.
The appointments of various officials required for accounting system appears in contemporary inscriptions of the 3-1 Cent BC.[ Inscriptions of Ceylon- S Paranavitanes nos 212, 419, 619 etc]. Badagarika or Treasurers holding office of state[ No 621], the office of Reserve Tresuary or Panita badagarika is also mentioned in Inscription no1035. In Inscription No 1192 an Amata a Minister of the King was a treasurer.
Evidence of a seal of an Accountant whose father was an accountant too in Ruhuna South of the Island.
The rules and regulations of operating Accounting System appears as a legal Docment on a Rock Inscriptions of King Mahasen[334-361 AD].
The term “rationator” (accountant) is used in a deed.