The Evolution of Accounting

Accounting techniques have been used and practiced since the early days of human civilisation. The first primitive forms of organised accounting were said to have originated back in the commerce revolution of the Middle Ages and whilst accounting practice has evolved over the years it still remains the key to a successful business in today’s world.

Despite evolving, the need and concept of accounting has remained consistent through the ages – it is how accounting has been deployed and managed that has changed. The main reason for this change is the impact that technology has had on the way accounts are managed and books are maintained.

How has Technology affected Accounting Software programs?

Technology has always been central to the way in which both individuals and businesses maintain their accounts and solve mathematical problems. Over time the process of accounting has been made ever so slightly easier with advances in technology. The abacus gave way to the calculator which is slowly giving way to electronic software designed to single handily manage accounting practice for individuals and businesses. The technology of computers and software has changed the way in which accounts are kept and maintained significantly.

Before the introduction of computers and accounting software programs, all operational processes were designed around keeping well maintained paper based records of all accounting information. The emergence of accounting software programs has negated the need to keep paper based records and has therefore rewritten operational processes that have remained in place for many years. The general acceptance of new technologies such as accounting software programs has stopped the need for calculators, pencils, folders and has significantly reduced the time it takes to maintain the financial records. Most importantly, accounting software programs have made accounting accessible to the masses – not just the educated few. No longer does an owner of a small business need a PHD in accounting to maintain a well structured set of accounts that could be submitted at year end. The software has significantly reduced the time it takes to complete a professional set of accounts and the process of maintaining accounts is now simple enough for anybody to complete. Huge business efficiencies have been made as a result.

The introduction of accounting software programs has been responsible for a much more radical change in the industry. Accountants of old were responsible for keeping a business’s finances in check by keeping a track of their incomings and outgoings whilst establishing a well laid out set of accounts. This can now be completely done by software. This has posed the question ‘what role does an accountant have in the new technological world?’ Accounting software Programs have caused modern day accountants to become a lot more skilled in a consultancy capacity to actually add value to a business. It is not enough to simply book-keep anymore as increasing numbers of business owners can now do this successfully themselves via software. Today, small businesses understand that whilst it is more cost effective to be completing their own accounts, they may not have the necessary knowledge when it comes to successfully and sustainably growing the business. This is the new world of an accountant – working with businesses on tax planning, business growth, company structures.


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