Pacioli’s Forgotten Book: The Merchant’s Ricordanze
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Double entry bookkeeping emerged by the end of the 13th century and was adopted by, for example, the Datini of Prato during the 1380s. In the transition from single to double entry evident in the Datini Archives, initially accounting records were kept in an account book called a Ricordanze. Record books of this name were typical of Tuscany and, when such books were first used in Tuscany, businessmen began to use them also as a form of personal diary and autobiographical record. Others not in business followed suit and maintained purely personal biographical diaries of the same name. For those in business, the Ricordanze thus developed into a hybrid, partly autobiography and personal and, partly a place to record matters relating to his business, including details of transactions and of other matters he did not wish to forget, such as promises, obligations, and conditional agreements. As revealed in the Datini archives for the 14th and 15th centuries, use of a Ricordanze for this purpose was discontinued in the accounting system and the book was replaced with another called a Memoriale, which contained details of all business transactions. By the time Pacioli wrote the first published description of double entry bookkeeping, the Memoriale was identified as one of the three principal account books of that system. The others were the Giornale (journal) and the Quaderno (ledger).
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