Pacioli, Luca


An Italian mathematician who is sometimes described as ‘the father of accounting’ because he wrote the first printed treatise on double-entry bookkeeping. Pacioli was born in Sansepolcro (formerly Borgo Ssan Sepolcro), Tuscany, circa 1445 and died in the same town in 1517. He was a Franciscan friar who spent most of his life teaching mathematics at various universities in Italy including those at Perugia, Naples, Rome, Milan and Pisa. He published several works on mathematics and on chess and translated Euclid into Latin. Pacioli was a friend of Leonardo da Vinci, who illustrated one of Pacioli’s books on mathematics. His important work for the history of accounting was Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita, which was published in Venice in 1494. Written in Italian, it contains a general treatise on theoretical and practical arithmetic, elements of algebra, a table of moneys, weights and measures, a summary of Euclid and the treatise on double-entry bookkeeping which is called De Computis et scriptures. Double-entry bookkeeping was for some time known as the ‘method of Venice’, reflecting the widespread dissemination and popularity of Pacioli’s work.


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