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The birth of modern public sector accounting in France and Britain


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  • Marc Nikitin

    (Laboratoire Orléanais de Gestion)


Under the Ancien Régime France, collecting taxes was a business affair confided by the King to businessmen. After several unfruitful attempts to have his revenue under control, the King finally imposed, in 1788, the centralisation of the Treasury and the use of double entry bookeeping in that institution. The Révolution confirm this orientation and a modern public sector accounting system was progressively set up, completely dedicated to the service of the nascent nation. Double entry progressively spread in all the wheels of the State, under the instructions of Count Mollien and Marquis d'Audiffret from 1806 onwards. The influence of the former spread itself outside France, and the system was imitated in Naples (1806-1815), under the rule of the Napoleonic army. In Great Britain, after 1829 the movement towards a modern and democratic system of Public Accounts was initiated, beyond doubt under French ifluence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratoire Orléanais de Gestion - université d'Orléans in its series Working Papers with number 2000-1.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:log:wpaper:2000-1

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Keywords: accounting in France; accounting in Britain;


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Cited by:
  1. Timothy Irwin, 2013. "Shining a Light on the Mysteries of State: The Origins of Fiscal Transparency in Western Europe," IMF Working Papers 13/219, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Malcolm Anderson, 2002. "Accounting History publications 2001," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 505-512.
  3. Marc Nikitin, 2008. "Les auteurs comptables: une élite à géométrie variable," Post-Print hal-00493619, HAL.
  4. Garry D. Carnegie & Christopher J. Napier, 2012. "Accounting's past, present and future: the unifying power of history," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 328-369, February.
  5. Yves Levant & Olivier de La Villarmois, 2004. "Georges Perrin and the GP cost calculation method: the story of a failure," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 151-181.
  6. Yannick Lemarchand & Laure Pineau-Defois & Cheryl Mcwatters, 2011. "Comptes et récits de la maison Chaurand, retour sur les liens entre comptabilité et capitalisme," Post-Print hal-00650546, HAL.


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