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Why should we study history of accounting thoughts? Explain its relevance and rational
in today’s accounting practices.
Accounting history is important to accounting pedagogy, policy and practice. It makes it
possible to “better..understand our present and to forecast or control our future”.
Accounting history is the study of the evolution in accounting thought, practices and
institutions in response to changes in the environment and societal needs. It also considers
the effect that this evolution has worked on the environment.
With regard to pedagogy, accounting history can be very helpful to a better understanding
and appreciation of the field of accounting and its evolution as a social science. A good
rationale for the relevance of history in pedagogy as follow:
First, a profession based on traditions built over many centuries should educate its
members to appreciate their intellectual heritage. Second, the import of advances in
thought, of major contributions to the literature, and of crucial positive studies may be
lost, fragmented and incorporated by scholars who have historical skills. Third, without
access to analyses and interpretations of historical developments in accounting thought
and practice, today’s empiricists risk basing their investigations upon incomplete or
unjustified claims about the past.
With regard to policy perspective, accounting history is instrumental to a better
understanding of the accounting problems and their institutional contexts as well as the
formulation of public policy.
With regard to accounting practice, accounting history could provide a better assessment
of the existing practices by a comparison with the methods used in the past.
The relevance of accounting history to accounting practice, policy and pedagogy call for
more accounting history inquiry. The subject matter of this historical research will include
such areas as biography, institutional history, development of thought, general history,
critical history, taxonomic and bibliographic databases and historiography. They
constitute an ideal tool for a historiography of accounting and promise to provide
important knowledge to a better conduct of accounting research, practice and policy.

2. How did accounting theory develop?

3. What roles can theory play in relation to accounting? Give an example
4. Using an accounting context, give an example of using induction to develop a theory. How
can you evaluate the theory and its hypothesis?
5. Explain with an example the scientific method? Describe two accounting issues that the
scientific method can be used to resolve.

Case study 2.1 :New accounting rules don’t add up ( page 45