History of Accounting Medieval Europe, Early England

History of Accounting > Accounting in Medieval Europe, Early England

The Medieval Retrogression
After the overthrow of Rome and before the building up of a new civilization almost from its foundations, for a time attention was centered on the future spiritual life rather than on the affairs of the material world, and this may account for the loss of these records of the Romans. However, the Pope as the head of a vast and growing organization, required records of various sorts and Charlemagne had an elaborate system of accounting for income and expenditure and required detailed reports from all his subordinates.

Early English Accounting
In England the earliest system of accounting on record was that of the exchequer, established about the time of Henry I (1100-1135). The basis for this accounting was the Domesday Book which showed all taxable estates in the country. From this the treasurer’s Great Roll—the Pipe Roll—was made up and each sheriff was intrusted with the collection of his portion. Twice every year he rendered an account. At the first accounting he received the half of a tally stick with notches showing the amounts. The other half of the tally stick with its corresponding notches was retained by the treasurer. Upon his next accounting, the sheriff’s tally stick was turned in as evidence of the payments already made and must exactly fit into the half retained by the treasurer.

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