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INDUSTRIAL ACCOUNTING IN THE MEDIAEVAL ERA Up until the last few decades there was a general belief that industrial accounting had its origin in the rise of the factory system in the Industrial Revolution One authority for example has stated Cost accounting is not old by several centuries as is mercantile bookkeeping by double entry It is in fact of quite recent origin essentially a product of the nineteenth century which has been greatly extended and developed in the twentieth Cost accounting therefore is one of the many consequences of the industrial revolution1 A second authority has written Accounting has been developed to furnish management with better means of control than have been available in the past This accounting was done through a development of internal accounts Before the Industrial Revolution accounting was mainly a record of the external relations of one business unit with other business units a record of relations determined in the market With the advent of large scale productive operations necessity arose for more emphasis upon the accounting for interests within the com petitive unit and the use of accounting records as a means of administrative control over the enterprise The appearance of cost accounts in manufacturing is an example 2 Still a third authority has stated Cost accounting is largely a product of the twentieth century though some of the causes of its growth operated much earlier3 While each of the preceding authoritative quotations rightly emphasizes the fact that cost accounting came into existence after 1800 many industrial bookkeeping practices and techniques are much older than the Industrial Revolution In fact as will be shown later in this chapter they date back to about the fourteenth century when as a result of the rapid growth of Italian English Flemish and German commerce industrial enterprises began to be established by various individuals and partnerships to engage in the manufacture of woolen and silk cloth
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