Father of Double-Entry System

Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli (sometimes Paccioli or Paciolo; c. 1447–1517) was an Italian mathematician, Franciscan friar, collaborator with Leonardo da Vinci, and a seminal contributor to the field now known as accounting. He is referred to as “The Father of Accounting and Bookkeeping” and he was the first person to publish a work on the double-entry system of book-keeping. He was also called Luca di Borgo after his birthplace, Borgo Sansepolcro, Tuscany.

Although he was not the inventor of the double-entry system he was the one that officialized it in his masterwork Summa de arithmetica, in 1494. In his work Luca Pacioli tells us that any business to be successful necessitates of three things:

  • Capital (cash or credit)
  • A good accountant
  • A good internal system.

For “capital,” Pacioli, intended mainly cash (he understood way before than Franklin that “cash was the king”), but also credit. In other words, Pacioli believed that trust was the pillar of any business.

He used the word credit because it comes from the Latin word “credo,” which means, “trust.” The second and third aspects are crucial as well. In fact, a good accountant has to have a basic understanding of mathematics (very basic). And he has to be able to use an internal system, which he calls a double entry system. That system became the official regime of the western world. And it is still in use today.

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Gennaro Cuofano

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