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Accounting History and the Rise of Civilization, Volume II

Book Description

Accounting history continues in Volume 2 with six chapters, four supplements, plus conclusions. Chapters 1 to 3 of the second volume cover specialty topics, specifically auditing, taxes, and government accounting. Chapters 4 to 6 march along from the New Deal to beyond the mortgage meltdown and Great Recession. Supplements include audit opinions (the audit reports written for the annual financial audits), the scandals and corruption associated with accounting fraud, the formal standard setting process creating generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and finally computer technology, a key component of the accounting profession—and civilization. The concept of accounting as a profession developed by the 19th century, as accounting-related services (bankruptcy, taxes, and auditing) became important enough to hire experts and separate businesses to support these functions. Soon, licensing was required. Auditing and tax proved to be major money-makers for accountants. Accounting firms became mammoth and global (especially the Big 4) providing audit, tax and consulting services to giant multinational corporations as well as smaller business, governments, nonprofits organizations, and individuals. The rest of the book covers accounting since the early 20th century, when accounting became increasingly sophisticated and important to the commercial and political worlds. The 1920 reverted to “free markets,” financial market manipulation and speculation, fueled by abundant credit precipitating a boom; then the Great Depression, followed by FDR’s New Deal. Chapter 5 covers most of the post-World War II period. Chapter 6 covers the bubbles and busts of the late-20th century and beyond, with particular attention to Enron. Conclusions summarize the last 10,000 years of accounting, its overall impact on civilization, and predictions for the future.