Studies in Accounting History: Tradition and Innovation for the Twenty-First Century

Studies in Accounting History: Tradition and Innovation for the Twenty-First Century

Studies in Accounting History: Tradition and Innovation for the Twenty-First Century

Studies in Accounting History: Tradition and Innovation for the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

Published in cooperation with the Accounting History Association of Japan, this volume brings together key essays presented at the World Congress on Accounting History held in Kyoto, Japan. Covering a wide range of topics, from 16th-century accounting practices in Spain to the development of the certified public accountants system in contemporary China, the volume illustrated the richness of the subject areas and research approaches being utilized in the field.

Excerpt

Claudia Gormly and Murray Wells

We live in a world of contradictions. Comments like "Let the facts speak for themselves" or "History will decide" are as familiar as the problems of interpreting historical events. The French have a different view from the English of what happened at the battle of Waterloo; Christians and Jews have different views about the significance of events in Jerusalem during the rule of Herod; and the contributions of Lenin and Marx have been drastically reevaluated in the light of recent events in Eastern and Central Europe.

It is difficult to see how the facts will be able to speak for themselves or how history will decide anything when there are countless examples of recorded history being colored by the perceptions of the historian (for an excellent example of various interpretations of the reasons for the adoption of the factory system in Britain in the nineteenth century, see Jones, 1987).

The history of accounting suffers from the same dilemma--Schneider (1991) provides a useful sample of cases where the New School in the History of Accounting provides a different perspective from traditional views of history. Again, alternative perceptions of events have led to different histories being written about the same events or, in some cases, "A priori theorizing, it seems, takes precedence over historical investigation" (Jones, 1987, p. 74). The writings of Tinker,Merino, and Neimark (1982; 1987), compared to the more "accepted" views of Littleton (1933) and Garner (1954), provide ample evidence . . .

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