Accounting lessons from a medieval woman: The writing of Christine de Pisan

Miley, F.M. & Read, A.F. (2016). Accounting lessons from a medieval woman: The writing of Christine de Pisan. Paper presented at the 39th European Accounting Association Annual Congress, Maastricht.

Abstract: Extant research in accounting history has viewed double-entry bookkeeping as a development of single-entry bookkeeping, also known as charge and discharge accounting, that was either prompted by the rise of mercantilism or capitalism. This has led to historical research in accounting that seeks to uncover early examples of the purposes ascribed to double-entry booking in examples of early financial accounts were prepared using single-entry bookkeeping. This research seeks to enhance our understanding of accounting by using the writing of Christine de Pisan, a medieval Italian-French writer, on the nature and purpose of single-entry bookkeeping to demonstrate that single-entry bookkeeping is not a simpler or earlier version of double-entry bookkeeping but a separate approach to bookkeeping which should be considered in its own right. We turn to philosophy of science and draw an analogy using Lakatos’ methodology of scientific research programmes to understand why single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping co-existed for many centuries and why double-entry bookkeeping became dominant.

Full paper available through Andrew Read’s ResearchGate page
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