How Accounting Was Used in Ancient Times?

Accounting has been an integral part of human history since ancient times. The earliest forms of accounting can be traced back to over 7,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age in Mesopotamia.

Back then, accounting was used to keep track of goods and services exchanged between individuals and communities. In this article, we’ll delve into how accounting was used in ancient times.

Ancient Accounting Methods

The ancient Sumerians and Babylonians used a primitive form of accounting to keep records of their transactions. They used clay tablets to record the quantity and type of goods traded, as well as the names of the traders involved. These tablets were then stored in archives for safekeeping.

In Ancient Egypt, scribes were responsible for keeping track of taxes paid by farmers and tradespeople. They recorded this information on papyrus scrolls using hieroglyphs.

Double-Entry Accounting

One of the most significant advancements in accounting was the development of double-entry bookkeeping during the Renaissance period in Italy. This system was created by Luca Pacioli, a mathematician and Franciscan friar.

Double-entry bookkeeping involves recording each transaction twice – once as a debit and once as a credit – to ensure that all entries balance out. This system is still used today in modern accounting practices.

Accounting in Ancient India

In ancient India, accounting was primarily used for taxation purposes. The Arthashastra, an ancient Indian treatise on economics written by Kautilya, outlines various methods for taxation and accounting.

One such method involved using copper plates to record land ownership and taxes paid by farmers. These plates were then sealed and stored in government archives.

Ancient Greek Accounting

The Greeks also had their own system of accounting. They kept track of their finances using a system known as logismoi. This involved recording financial transactions in a logbook and using tally sticks to keep track of debts and credits.


In conclusion, accounting has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. From the clay tablets used by the Sumerians to the double-entry bookkeeping system developed by Luca Pacioli, accounting has evolved over time to become an essential part of modern business practices. Understanding the history of accounting can help us appreciate how far we’ve come and how much we still have to learn.