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Records of cash, commodities, and transactions were kept scrupulously by military personnel of the Roman army.An account of small cash sums received over a few days at the fort of Vindolanda circa AD 110 shows that the fort could compute revenues in cash on a daily basis, perhaps from sales of surplus supplies or goods manufactured in the camp, items dispensed to slaves such as cervesa (beer) and clavi caligares (nails for boots), as well as commodities bought by individual soldiers.
It has been hypothesized that Italian merchants likely learned the method from their interaction with medieval Jewish merchants from the Middle East, however this question remains an area for further research.
The oldest discovered record of a complete double-entry system is the Messari (Italian: Treasurer's) accounts of the city of Genoa in 1340.
In India Chanakya wrote a manuscript similar to a financial management book, during the period of the Mauryan Empire.
His book "Arthashasthra" contains few detailed aspects of maintaining books of accounts for a Sovereign State.
The Phoenicians invented a phonetic alphabet "probably for bookkeeping purposes", based on the Egyptian hieratic script, and there is evidence that an individual in ancient Egypt held the title "comptroller of the scribes".
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There is also evidence for an early form of accounting in the Old Testament; for example the Book of Exodus describes Moses engaging Ithamar to account for the materials that had been contributed towards the building of the tabernacle.The people of that time relied on primitive accounting methods to record the growth of crops and herds.Because there was a natural season to farming and herding, it was easy to count and determine if a surplus had been gained after the crops had been harvested or the young animals weaned.The inscription was an account to the Roman people of the Emperor Augustus' stewardship, and listed and quantified his public expenditure, including distributions to the people, grants of land or money to army veterans, subsidies to the aerarium (treasury), building of temples, religious offerings, and expenditures on theatrical shows and gladiatorial games, covering a period of about forty years.The scope of the accounting information at the emperor's disposal suggests that its purpose encompassed planning and decision-making.Debit in Latin means "he owes" and credit in Latin means "he trusts".Jewish bankers in Old Cairo, for example, used a double-entry bookkeeping system which predated the known usage of such a form in Italy, and whose records remain from the 11th century AD, found amongst the Cairo Geniza.Accounting began to transition into an organized profession in the nineteenth century,"another part of the explanation as to why accounting employs the numerical metaphor is [...] that money, numbers and accounting are interrelated and, perhaps, inseparable in their origins: all emerged in the context of controlling goods, stocks and transactions in the temple economy of Mesopotamia." The early development of accounting was closely related to developments in writing, counting, and money.In particular, there is evidence that a key step in the development of counting—the transition from concrete to abstract counting—was related to the early development of accounting and money and took place in Mesopotamia Other early accounting records were also found in the ruins of ancient Babylon, Assyria and Sumeria, which date back more than 7,000 years.The basic needs of the fort were met by a mixture of direct production, purchase and requisition; in one letter, a request for money to buy 5,000 modii (measures) of braces (a cereal used in brewing) shows that the fort bought provisions for a considerable number of people.The Heroninos Archive is the name given to a huge collection of papyrus documents, mostly letters, but also including a fair number of accounts, which come from Roman Egypt in 3rd century AD.