Our time spent in Italy was focused on the roots of Accounting. We took a day trip to Sansepolcro, Italy, which is the birthplace of Luca Pacioli. He is considered to be the father of double-entry bookkeeping for his written work, Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et proportionalita. Interestingly enough, this small town is also the hometown of other well-known figures of the Renaissance such as Piero della Francesca. Although Pacioli’s exact birthdate is unknown, we saw the street he was born on and the house he spent most of his time growing up in. During our visit we had an interpreter and a professor join us on our tour. Having the Italian professor join us, made the tour much more exciting. Not only was he a Pacioli expert, he was also very well-known around town and it was like he was a local celebrity in Sansepolcro. He really valued us as his guests and was even able to get us into different museums for free.
For me, the most memorable part of our trip was our visit to the Sansepolcro public library. The Italian professor accompanying us gave a brief lecture on Pacioli history and he was able to show us the original Summa which was published in 1494! All I could think about was what an amazing opportunity to be able to see the original book that even in present day has such a big influence on the Accounting community and in the history of mathematics. We were able to see the chapter on double entry bookkeeping which is important because this was one of the first books of its time to have material on Accounting. Accurately tracking financials has always been important and this approach to bookkeeping was especially important in that time period because it helped document the financing of the Renaissance.
Being able to hear all this history gave me a deeper appreciation for the career I am pursuing. The importance of accountants is too often overlooked. Sitting there during the lecture, I remembered something we heard at one of our firm visits in London – “Accountants are the future of the world.” It was fascinating to learn about the impact of Accounting in history which made it much more exciting to think that I have the opportunity to shape what is to come from the Accounting profession in the future.