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The birth of modern public sector accounting in France and Britain


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Nikitin, 2000. "The birth of modern public sector accounting in France and Britain," Working Papers 2000-1, Laboratoire Orléanais de Gestion - université d'Orléans.
  • Handle: RePEc:log:wpaper:2000-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Sylvie Rascol-Boutard & Pascale Amans & Ariel Eggrickx, 2015. "La comptabilité publique au défi des frontières organisationnelles Le cas du traitement des immobilisations corporelles dans le secteur public local," Post-Print hal-01630733, HAL.
    2. 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.
    3. Marc Nikitin, 2008. "Les auteurs comptables: une élite à géométrie variable," Post-Print hal-00493619, HAL.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Malcolm Anderson, 2002. "Accounting History publications 2001," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 505-512.
    7. Timothy C 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.


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