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Accounting & Bookkeeping

The Evolution of Bookkeeping

Most people aren’t aware that the practice of bookkeeping has been around for centuries, with the earliest instances tracing all the way back to Mesopotamian civilizations. Over the past decade, however, advances in technology have had the most significant impact on the way bookkeepers operate, offering faster and more convenient digital platforms. Let’s take a look at the ways the bookkeeping profession has transformed through the years.

Early accounting

Though the first accounting records were discovered over 7,000 years ago among the ruins of Ancient Mesopotamia, the premier exchanges of real currency were recorded during the Roman Empire. Early tools like the abacus were used by scribes, the original bookkeepers, to record and measure the results of labor and goods exchanged for currency. These first bookkeepers made the earliest advances in counting and writing. Similarly, the practice of auditing and verifying inventory accuracy was invented in Ancient Egypt and Babylon. Roman historians also recorded public revenues, the amount of money in the state treasury, taxes, slaves, and freedmen.

The modern-day system

The modern-day bookkeeping system originated with the Italian mathematician Frater Luca Pacioli in the late 15th century. Commonly referred to as the “father of accounting,” Pacioli revamped the common bookkeeping structure and laid the groundwork for the development of today’s accounting system. In 1494, Pacioli published a textbook called “Summa de Arithmetical, Geometric, Proportion et Proportionalita” which illustrated his idea for the double-entry format for bookkeeping. He showcased the benefits of creating a balance sheet with separate debits and credits. This made bookkeeping records more efficient and provided an in-depth look at the company’s overall strengths or weaknesses.

Today’s digital bookkeepers

Fast-forward a few centuries, when the advent of computers and accounting software transformed the industry irrevocably. Over the past ten years, bookkeepers have gone from pen and paper ledgers calculated by hand to automated digital systems with vast record-keeping capabilities. Recent innovations in technology have offered a variety of advantages, but increased productivity is one of the most important. Now, you can interpret and report financial data faster and more efficiently than ever before.

These days, digital bookkeeping can be broken down into a few distinct categories:

E-Business

Electronic business processes optimize collaboration across teams. Automated management of client information and integration of data from given sources can dramatically improve business efficiency. Its greatest benefit, however, is that your information will be distributed from a single and highly encrypted source.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is primarily a software as a service (SaaS) model, which eliminates the need to install software to run specific applications. As businesses look for faster access from anywhere in the world, more and more are switching to customized cloud computing platforms.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP facilitates the distribution of information among groups and permits activities to be executed from different locations. By using ERP, your business performance will improve, allowing management to make more informed decisions.

Digital Tech Advancements

The latest advancements in digital bookkeeping make it simple for accounting professionals to ​​access and retrieve data through fully integrated systems and real-time reporting. Automated digital bookkeeping services can also help small business owners organize and maintain their finances with ease.

Mobile accounting

Mobile accounting allows you to handle a larger portion of your work from your phone, such as issuing invoices and creating expense reports. As a result, you will have more time to dedicate to developing your interpretation and prediction skills and helping your organization grow.

Outsourced Accounting

These days, many businesses will hand over their accounting to trusted outsourced accounting experts who have the time and industry-leading resources available to take a deep dive into the company financials.

Needless to say, bookkeeping has come a long way since the Mesopotamian days, especially in the past decade. Though bookkeepers today have access to a wealth of resources, the profession still requires a unique expertise and a keen eye for detail.

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At Pacific Accounting & Business Services (PABS), we focus on providing high-quality accounting, finance, and related back office services to businesses across the country. Learn more by giving us a call today.

By John Bugh

John Bugh is Chief Revenue Officer for Pacific Accounting and Business Services (PABS), responsible for the strategic direction, planning, vision, growth, and performance of the company’s marketing, branding, and revenue streams.

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