We now live in a world of computerised accounting, but in ancient times keeping track of financials wasn’t as simple as entering information via a keyboard and letting the program do the hard work for you.
Accounting methods emerged approximately 10 000 years ago in the Middle Eastern region to measure the results of work done and effort made by ancient societies. As these societies grew and increased in complexity (trading larger amounts of good and services to a greater number of people) their accounting methods had to grow and improve to help them keep record of their trades. This growth in complexity led to the development various accounting systems and tools.
What tools were used in ancient accounting?
One of the first systems of accounting was as simple as using tokens and clay balls to represent goods and services.
Figure 1 Mesopotamia Accounting Tokens
Image source: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/09/ancient-accounting.asp
The tokens eventually evolved to clay tablets which were marked with sticks and hardened to be used as a more permanent accounting record form. The abacus was later invented and is one of many counting devices invented in ancient times to help count large numbers.
Image source: https://www.abacus-maths.com/abacus-history1.html
Thereafter, Egyptians pioneered papyrus – a term you may be more familiar with. Egyptians made use of the papyrus for record-keeping of all sorts including tax and financial matters such as agricultural production. Fun fact: Egyptians prided themselves on accurate record keeping to such an extent that they would either fine, mutilate or execute auditors for incorrect calculations!
Enter the age of computerised accounting
Time passed, and societies continued to grow and improve on their tools. Fast-forward to today and we are now benefiting from the widespread use of computerised accounting systems. Following on from the Egyptians’ importance of accuracy (thankfully without the harsh punishment) we have developed systems to handle large, complex amounts of trades, finances and networks of people and companies without the need for manual calculations.
Compared to ancient accounting systems, computerised accounting software
- Eliminates the need for calculators, paper ledgers, pens and pencils (to an extent)
- Lowers the margin of error
- Makes inaccuracies easy to find and correct
- Increased the speed at which financial tasks get completed
- Allows for collaboration across staff members
- Allows people to access their information at any location and on different devices
Instead of focusing on calculations, recording and reporting, accountants now have more time to interpret data, give financial advice and be more involved in business decisions. Accountants are now viewed as business consultants who can recommend best practices and suggest ways for the business to improve its overall return on investment.
Contact our team who will be happy to explain how our accounting software can benefit your business.