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The development of Chinese accountingand bookkeeping before 1850:insights from the Tŏng Tài Shēngbusiness account books (1798-1850)

Yuan, Weipeng, Macve, Richard and Ma, Debin (2017) The development of Chinese accountingand bookkeeping before 1850:insights from the Tŏng Tài Shēngbusiness account books (1798-1850). Accounting and Business Research. ISSN 0001-4788

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00014788.2016.1263182

Abstract

Claims have repeatedly been made for the importance of double-entry bookkeeping (‘DEB’) for capitalism’s development in the West, so it is valuable to explore the book-keeping and accounting practices of economically successful organizations elsewhere. Our paper reports our exploration into the original account books contained in the archive of Tŏng Tài Shēng (‘TTS’), a substantial Chinese ‘grocery / merchant-banking’ business whose surviving books span a period from the late 18th century to the middle of the 19th century. The TTS archive is the most complete and integrated surviving merchant archive from before China’s forced opening to the West in the mid-19th century. Our findings about its accounting processes and records (of which we give illustrations) shed critical light on the nature of indigenous Chinese bookkeeping and business organization and on the larger questions about Chinese commercial culture and the path of its development, for comparison with those about the West. We find no evidence in the surviving account books of TTS to support previous arguments in the literature that at this period Chinese accounting practice for successful businesses (must have) had its own 'Chinese double entry bookkeeping' ('CDEB') comparable to Western DEB.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rabr20/current
Additional Information: © 2016 Informa UK
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Sets: Departments > Accounting
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2016 12:42
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 12:49
Funders: Chinese Social Sciences Foundation
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/68321

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