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Keeping Accounts By The Book: The Revelation(S) Of Accounting

  • Vassili Joannides

    ()

    (GDF - Gestion, Droit et Finance - Grenoble École de Management (GEM))

  • Nicolas Berland

    ()

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)

Our paper addresses what the moral foundations of accounting are, regardless of capitalistic operations, as we are seeking to trace a genealogy of accounting thinking disconnected from coincidence with Capitalism. We demonstrate that the three monotheisms have bared the core of accounting. We purport to explicate how the three monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity divided into Roman Catholicism and Protestantisms, and Islam) have successively revealed the nature of accounting to moralise people's day-to-day conduct. Our approach to the revelation of accounting is informed with practice theory to study how accounting was used in believers' day-today activities and faith management. To this end, we read theological debates on accounting from Rabbinic, Islamic, Catholic and Protestant literatures raised at the time of the Reformation. Our study reveals that, in the four religions, bookkeeping serves as routine and rules to account for daily conduct, its content being contingent upon common understandings (viz. God's identity, capabilities and expectations) and teleoaffective structures (viz. definition of and ways to salvation). Through this paper, we demonstrate that accounting issues have always served as a sub-practice in moral practices and is therefore not necessarily coincidental with economic operations. Ultimately, we contribute to literature on the genesis of accounting, accounting as situated practice and accounting as moral practice.day-today activities and faith management. To this end, we read theological debates on accounting from Rabbinic, Islamic, Catholic and Protestant literatures raised at the time of the Reformation. Our study reveals that, in the four religions, bookkeeping serves as routine and rules to account for daily conduct, its content being contingent upon common understandings (viz. God's identity, capabilities and expectations) and teleoaffective structures (viz. definition of and ways to salvation). Through this paper, we demonstrate that accounting issues have always served as a sub-practice in moral practices and is therefore not necessarily coincidental with economic operations. Ultimately, we contribute to literature on the genesis of accounting, accounting as situated practice and accounting as moral practice.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) with number hal-00477759.

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Date of creation: 10 May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:hal:gemptp:hal-00477759
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