IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Progenitors of modern management accounting concepts and mensurations in pre-industrial England

Listed author(s):
  • Michael Scorgie
Registered author(s):

    Edwards and Newell (1994: 407) noted that 'the application of accounting techniques in business management continues to be a largely unexplored area of business history'. Outcomes of this lack of research and knowledge are simplistic conclusions such as 'accounting systems for managerial decisions and control can be traced back to the origins of hierarchical enterprises in the early nineteenth century' (Johnson and Kaplan, 1987). In contrast, the case and conclusion presented in this paper hold that innovative measurements for decisions and control attributed to industrial revolution managers were adaptations of concepts used by auditors, stewards and bailiffs who, on behalf of lords of the manor, controlled agricultural activities on landed estates. In addition, evidence is presented which shows that concepts of production standards and standard costs were used in pre-industrial England to control the manufacture and sale of bread. Much of the evidence used to build the case was drawn from translations of medieval management, accounting and legal treatises and is presented under six headings. In each of the six sections evidence of the use of a progenitor of a modern management accounting concept and associated mensuration (action of measurement) is presented and discussed. The headings are: production capacity; production standards; standard costs; cost allocation; performance analysis; and relevant costs.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Accounting History Review.

    Volume (Year): 7 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 31-59

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:acbsfi:v:7:y:1997:i:1:p:31-59
    DOI: 10.1080/095852097330757
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Dyer,Christopher, 1989. "Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521272155.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:acbsfi:v:7:y:1997:i:1:p:31-59. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.