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Accounting history

Explore our work in accounting history, one of our 4 areas of expertise in Accounting

Accounting is often seen as a discipline that focuses on contemporary issues, but many of the issues in accounting are not new. 

Our accounting history research explores the past – through archives and historical documentation – to learn more about the accountancy issues experienced by previous generations, and enables us to reflect on the history of the discipline in a meaningful way.

And by developing a better understanding of how historic accountancy issues were addressed, we're able to draw valuable insights that can help us deal with the challenges posed within modern accounting.

Our research covers the following topics

  • The historical development of accounting thought and practice
  • Providing a historical perspective on contemporary accounting issues
  • The relevance of accounting history to present day problems and solutions

We rely on a variety of theoretical, archival and empirical research methods – including case studies, biography, cliometrics, content analysis, hermeneutics, oral history, prosopography, and social networks.

Partnerships and collaborations

Our research is frequently collaborative in nature, and we have academic partnerships with other universities with accounting history specialisms.

We also have strong links with Portsmouth's Royal Maritime museum library, and the Royal Army Pay Corps museum, Winchester, each of whom providing access to their specialist data and expertise.

Projects and publications

The outputs of our research are frequently published in leading academic journals within the field, such as the Business History Journal, Accounting History Journal, Accounting Historians Journal, and the British Accounting Review.

Our current research projects include studies of Royal Navy accounting and controls in the 18th & 19th century, World War II costings, Samuel Pepys work in the 17th century, and Standard Costing in Russia 1930s.

Discover our areas of expertise

Accounting history is one of our 4 areas of expertise in our Accounting research area. Explore the others below.

Interested in a PhD in Accounting?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Accounting postgraduate research degrees page.


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