How Was Accounting Used in Ancient Times?

Accounting has been around for thousands of years and has been used by ancient civilizations to keep track of their finances. In ancient times, accounting was not as advanced as it is today, but it still played a vital role in the economy. In this article, we will explore how accounting was used in ancient times.

Ancient Mesopotamia

One of the first known uses of accounting was in ancient Mesopotamia around 3500 BC. The Mesopotamians used clay tablets to record transactions such as the purchase of goods and services. They also kept track of taxes that were paid to the government.

The clay tablets had symbols on them that represented different items such as sheep, grain, and oil. The symbols were pressed into the clay using a stylus, which made an impression that could last for thousands of years. These tablets are some of the earliest examples of accounting records.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians also used accounting to keep track of their finances. They recorded their transactions on papyrus scrolls using hieroglyphics. The Egyptians kept detailed records of their harvests and taxes collected from the people.

They also kept track of their expenses and revenues from trading with other civilizations. The Egyptians were known for their advanced mathematics skills, which helped them with their accounting practices.

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks were also known for their use of accounting. They used a system called “logismoi,” which involved keeping track of credits and debits in a ledger book. The Greeks recorded transactions such as loans given out or payments received.

They also had accountants who would audit businesses to ensure they were operating honestly and accurately recording transactions.

Roman Empire

The Romans took accounting to a whole new level with their use of double-entry bookkeeping. This system involves recording every transaction in two separate accounts – one for debits and one for credits. The use of double-entry bookkeeping allowed the Romans to keep track of their finances with greater accuracy.

The Romans also used accounting to keep track of their vast empire. They recorded taxes collected, expenses incurred, and revenues generated from trade.


In conclusion, accounting has been used for thousands of years by ancient civilizations to keep track of their finances. From clay tablets to double-entry bookkeeping, the methods may have changed but the importance of accounting remains the same. It is a vital tool for understanding how money is flowing in and out of a business or society, and it continues to shape our economy today.