Professor of accounting Jeremy Cripps, Ph.D. recalled his metaphorical introduction to Luca Pacioli, which took place 50 years ago while celebrating the completion of orientation with fellow Articled Clerks studying to become accountants. They were at a London pub called Pacioli, and Cripps was intrigued by the name. No one at the time seemed to know why the pub was named Pacioli and the barman claimed no one had ever asked before.
His curiosity of the Pacioli bar stuck and when he was completing research at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Library a week later, the librarian introduced him to the Father of Accounting and his work.
Accounting is a profession among many that is continuously enhanced by the evolution of technology, allowing companies to collect data, crunch numbers, and produce meaningful information more efficiently every day. However, the math behind today’s technologically generated results has not changed. 500 years after his death, Pacioli known as the ‘Father of Accounting’ and creator of accounting principles is still recognized.
In commemoration of Pacioli’s contribution to accounting and the 500th anniversary of his death, an international conference took place in Italy this summer where Cripps was invited to present “Translating Pacioli: Recounting the Experience.”
In Cripps’ presentation, he talked about how his interest in Pacioli led to translating “Summa,” Pacioli’s book on mathematics written in Italian.
In school, Cripps thought that the accounting text they read was dry. However, Latin authors including Caesar, Ovid, Cicero and Virgil were enjoyed, Cripps explained.
“They (Latin authors’ writings) were real and alive. I hoped Pacioli would prove as exciting,” said Cripps. “Pacioli did. Translating his writing was a great way to learn about my profession..”
According to Cripps, Pacioli is often recognized for founding double-entry, also known as bookkeeping, but banks were using it 100 years prior.
“Everybody credits Pacioli with double-entry, but the key feature is that he mathematized it,” Cripps explained. “There is a distinction between accounting and bookkeeping and the distinction is the managing element. Bookkeeping is input and accounting is output and what you do with the data. Pacioli introduced that.”
The conference honoring Pacioli took place throughout four cities in Italy symbolic to Pacioli’s teachings which allowed attendees to imagine Pacioli’s life hundreds of years later.
“The highlight was reliving Pacioli’s journeys through Tuscany, enjoying what remains of Renaissance art and architecture, and sharing experiences with colleagues near the olive groves and vineyards that are Toscana.”
Cripps’ speech was published in the October issue of the Translation Journal.
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