The History And Development Of Accounting: An Emphasis On Botswana

Percy M. D. Phatshwane, Christian J Mbekomize

Abstract


The accounting profession has contributed significantly to the development of institutions and economies worldwide. Researchers and practitioners continue to engage in various projects which are intended to continue shaping the profession. Yet little attention is paid to the history of accounting and its contribution in shaping contemporary accountancy practices. With an emphasis on Botswana, this paper examines the history and development of accounting in the global contexts. The origins of accounting have been traced to ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. These technologies, though archaic and rudimentary, supported mercantile activities. The development of the trade continued through the middle-ages, with significant influences by Islamic doctrines and Pacioli in documenting the double-entry accounting system.  The African perspective suggests that accountancy was an unfamiliar and foreign concept which was introduced to society by colonial regimes. Largely seen as a labour market, there was limited trade between settlers and Africans who were largely seen as a labour market. The Botswana situation is not different from the experience of other African countries. Limited trade activities in indigenous societies and in pre-colonial Botswana suggest that numeracy and accountancy skills did not form part of societal activities. What prevailed was a feudalistic system in which members of a community supported each other’s social existence for little or no economic gain.  The colonization of Botswana had a marked impact on society, mainly through the imposition of tax and a change in the political regime. It was through taxation that accountancy was brought to the then Bechuanaland, albeit in a basic and undefined form that was the preserve of white settlers and administrators. Post-independence Botswana had to develop its entire accounting infrastructure. Over the years the practice of accounting in the country has evolved and undergone many changes, mainly the result of economic, social and political factors.

Keywords: Accounting History, Double Entry Bookkeeping, Botswana, Accounting Development.

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