What Civilization Owes Accountants

The rise of language began with accounting.  This may seem counterintuitive as accountants are not always noted for their eloquence or interpersonal gifts.  Yet, it still remains, civilization owes accounting.  The history of language demonstrates that early civilizations in places like Uruk in Sumeria developed symbols to account for common items that needed to be tallied in temple collection and trade.  Some examples include sheep, wheat, oil, perfume etc.  As you can see in the above chart, tokens were originally used to represent physical objects.  It wasn’t too long before someone thought to use written representations of these images for their accounting practices.  The first column shows pictographic Sumerian representing physical tokens on the left.  Each unique token stood for a different corresponding object. The same remained true when pictographic representations replaced physical tokens.  This breakthrough in the depiction of ideas through written images is what effectively set off the writing revolution.  Civilizations developed more and more signs, using different implements like reeds in moist clay to create impressions.  Kings made it a sign of prestige to have scribes recording the events of their kingdom and sent letters to other rulers to maintain diplomatic relations.  All of this because some bean counters had the forethought to create ways to account for items in the mundane daily activities of trade.  So if you know an accountant, be kind to them and be sure to say thanks for their service to civilization.