Accounting Controls at the Kelheim Brewery in the Seventeenth Century–Single Entry Accounting as Fit for Purpose
Winner of the James Soltow Award for Best Paper in Essays 2021
Prior to the arguably superior double-entry system of accounting, single-entry accounting was used widely. Extant literature on single-entry accounting suggests it remained in use well after the advent of double-entry, with ease of use cited as a key reason. However, there may be other reasons which have not been revealed in the literature. This study explores how single-entry accounting was utilized at the Kelheim brewery in Bavaria, Germany during the seventeenth century. It finds an organizational field in which single-entry accounting was fit for purpose. Single-entry accounting provided sufficient information and accountability, implying the more sophisticated double-entry accounting system was not used although it was known in Germany at this time.