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International Accounting Day

International Accounting Day gives recognition to accountants and was started in honor of Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli, often known simply as Luca Pacioli, an Italian mathematician who is seen as the father of accounting and bookkeeping. Born in the Tuscany region of Italy in 1445, Pacioli published Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita on November 10, 1494 (some sources say it was published between November 10 and November 20), the date that was chosen for International Accounting Day.

Translated to The Collected Knowledge of Arithmetic, Geometry, Proportion, and Proportionality, Pacioli's book was "the first great general work on mathematics printed." Widely read and used by mathematicians in the sixteenth century, it was also the first book to include information about double-entry bookkeeping, a system that involves debit and credit entries for transactions, which was known as "the method of Venice" at the time. Its treatise on double-entry bookkeeping, 27 pages in length and titled "Particularis de Computis et Scripturis," was used as a reference text and teaching tool for a few hundred years. Pacioli's book also included a general treatise on theoretical and mathematical arithmetic, the elements of algebra, a table of monies, a summary of Euclid's geometry, and weights and measures used in Italian states.

Accounting can be defined as "a system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions." The first accountants worked in ancient Mesopotamia in temples, where they kept track of taxes paid to religious authorities. They may have invented writing in the process, as a way to record receipts. Ancient tax records have been found on clay tablets there and in Egypt.

The importance of accounting expanded in the thirteenth century when Europe moved towards a monetary economy. This was followed shortly thereafter by Luca Pacioli's book. The first professional organizations for accountants were started in Scotland in 1854: the Edinburgh Society of Accountants and the Glasgow Institute of Accountants and Actuaries. The profession continued to grow and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants was started in 1887. Today, accountants who have passed certification exams may have titles such as Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant, and Certified Public Accountant. Their certifications may entitle them to certain responsibilities such as being able to certify financial statements. Most accountants work in commerce, industry, and the public sector, and the Big Four are the largest employers of accountants. Today we celebrate them and their profession, as well as the father of accounting, Luca Pacioli.

How to Observe International Accounting Day

Here are a few ideas to get you started on celebrating the day:

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