How Was Accounting Used in the Ancient Times?

Accounting is a crucial aspect of any business, and it has been around since ancient times. The need to keep track of financial transactions has been essential for civilizations throughout history. In this article, we will explore how accounting was used in ancient times.

Ancient Egyptian Accounting

The Ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to use accounting. They used a system of record-keeping called hieratic script, which was similar to the hieroglyphics that they used for writing. They recorded their transactions on papyrus scrolls, which were kept in temples and other public places.

One of the most significant uses of accounting in Ancient Egypt was for tax collection. The pharaohs would send tax collectors to various regions to collect taxes from the people. The tax collectors would then record the amount collected on papyrus scrolls and bring them back to the pharaoh.

Ancient Greek Accounting

The Ancient Greeks also used accounting, but their system was different from that of the Egyptians. They used a system called “logismoi,” which was a form of double-entry bookkeeping. This system allowed them to keep track of their financial transactions more efficiently.

One of the most notable uses of accounting in Ancient Greece was for trade purposes. The Greeks had extensive trading networks throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. They kept detailed records of their transactions, including what goods were traded and at what price.

Roman Accounting

The Romans also had an advanced system of accounting, which they called “tabulae.” This system involved using wooden boards covered in wax on which they would inscribe their financial transactions using a stylus.

One significant use of accounting in Ancient Rome was for military purposes. The Roman soldiers would receive a stipend for their service, and it was crucial to keep track of who had been paid and how much money had been distributed.


In conclusion, accounting has been around for thousands of years, and it has played a vital role in the development of civilization. From hieroglyphics to double-entry bookkeeping to wooden tablets covered in wax, the methods of accounting have evolved over time. However, the fundamental principles remain the same: keeping track of financial transactions and ensuring that they are recorded accurately.