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  • Published at 08:55 pm November 9th, 2019
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Reflections on International Accouting Day

“A person should not go to sleep at night until the debits equal the credits,” said Luca Pacioli. 

An Italian mathematician, Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli wrote a book, Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita, meaning “everything about arithmetic, geometry, and proportion” which was published in Venice on November 10, 1494.

This is the very first record on double-entry book-keeping that laid the foundation for future works on business accounting. Thus, the first book about double-entry bookkeeping was published, and we commemorate International Accounting Day on November 10 to reflect on what it means to be an accountant, and a great opportunity to celebrate all accountants. 

Each year on this day, we pay tribute to the work of Luca Pacioli, “the father of modern accounting.” 

We also honour all those who have chosen the profession of accounting -- a profession that was traditionally dedicated to helping businesses and individuals balance the books and keep their tax affairs in order. 

However, the modern accountant must do much more than reconciliations and tax calculations. Clients now expect their accountants to help them achieve their goals in every step in their daily life.

The origin

The first official celebration of Accounting Day was held in the year 1972. 

Somebody opines that the San Diego Chapter of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants organized this event to spark an interest in young people and encourage them to take up accounting as a career. 

However, many others believe that the Institute of Management Accountants was the original organizer of this event. 

Pacioli's book was the first great general work on mathematics, which was published, widely read, and used by mathematicians in the 16th century. His was the first book to include information about double-entry bookkeeping, a system that involves debit and credit entries for transactions, which was known as “the method of Venice.”

The first accountants worked in ancient Mesopotamia temples, where they kept track of taxes paid to religious authorities. They invented writing in the process, as a way to record receipts. Ancient tax records have been found on clay tablets there and in Egypt.

The importance of accounting expanded in the 13th century, when Europe moved towards a monetary economy. This was followed shortly thereafter by Luca Pacioli’s book. 

The first professional organizations for accountants started in Scotland in 1854: The Edinburgh Society of Accountants and the Glasgow Institute of Accountants and Actuaries. 

The profession continued to grow and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants was started in 1887. 

Today, accountants who have passed certification exams may have titles such as Cost and Management Accountant (CMA), Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), etc. 

Today, we celebrate them and their profession, as well as the father of accounting. 

Since its inception in 1972, this annual event is celebrated globally to give recognition to accountants who are saddled with highly demanding jobs. 

In many countries, it is an event to honour accountants for managing finances, devising and implementing economic, business, and financial strategies thereby making organizations healthy.

It is also in recognition of accountants’ key role in enhancing public trust through high-quality financial reporting. International Accounting Day is a good reminder to celebrate a centuries-old profession that is vital to business success. 

If you supervise an accounting team, be sure to offer your appreciation with rewards and recognition to them. And for all, let us know about reconciling debit-credit in your daily life for sound sleep at night. Happy Accounting Day 2019!

Md Touhidul Alam Khan is Deputy Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of Prime Bank Limited. He is also a fellow member of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh.