Double-Entry Bookkeeping in Early-Twentieth-Century China
Rare materials recently released by the Zigong City Archives shed light on the accounting system that was created by salt-mining businesses in Zigong. The materials include forty-seven accounting books prepared by eight firms in the industry from 1908 to 1930. In this study, the materials are used to reveal how the Zigong salt-mining firms used the double-entry system. The study draws on the archival documents to reveal how the firms' innovative reporting methods enabled them to calculate profit and loss, and it explores the ways in which improved accounting information guided the decisions of Chinese proprietors who were operating in a business environment characterized by inadequate financing, considerable risk, and long intervals between investment and return.
Business History Review