Authored by: Lisa Jack

The Routledge Companion to Accounting History

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815375869
eBook ISBN: 9781351238885
Adobe ISBN:


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Agricultural accounting history has to be pieced together from within the accounting discipline and from across a number of other disciplines. There is no defined group of historians who look at agricultural accounting, neither are there any books chronicling the history of accounting for agriculture over the millennia. Histories appear in economic history, farm management, rural sociology and food studies, accounting and, just occasionally, finance. Agriculture appears within other histories of accounting, and accounting appears in national histories of agriculture. Farms, as Giraudeau (2017: 211) sees it, are ‘accounting laboratories’ where:

Agricultural accounting … stands at the intersection between multiple histories: the history of inscriptions; the history of capitalism; the history of science; the history of government and the history of business. At this intersection, accounting techniques of all sorts … have constantly crystallised and been manipulated, in diverse ways, by countless actors.

From there, Giraudeau (2017) pieces together the fragments of accounting history across thought lines but this overview of accounting in agriculture takes a more straightforward approach. Agricultural accounting practice is not ‘one thing’. Like any other businesses, all areas of accounting are relevant and there are perhaps unexpected influences from agriculture on accounting practice in other areas of commerce and public accounting, such as fair value accounting for assets. For some, agricultural accounting is the forerunner of modern commercial management accounting practices (for example, Zell 1979; Scorgie 1997; Mussari and Magliacani 2007).

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