Manzoni’s sixteenth-century ‘Quaderno Doppio’: The evolution of accounting education towards modern times

Libero Mario Mari, Francesca Picciaia* (Corresponding Author), Alan Sangster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


This article responds to a scarcity of literature on pre-nineteenth-century accounting education and addresses calls for more research into what gave rise to how we teach accounting today. The sixteenth century was when double entry began to extend beyond its Italian roots and the first printed bookkeeping manuals began to appear alongside Pacioli’s of 1494. Yet, it is the least covered period in our literature. We address this lacuna using hermeneutic analysis to critically analyse Dominico Manzoni’s seldom studied manual of 1540 to discover what he hoped to achieve, what he did, and identify what impact his manual had on how accounting education and accounting practice developed thereafter. We find Manzoni’s objective was to replace school and apprenticeship with the printed book; and that his experience as an accountant and teacher of bookkeeping resulted in his adopting a highly innovative pedagogy that led, taught, and engaged students through the written word. Finally, we identify Manzoni’s manual as the foundation of a dominant genre of bookkeeping manuals that adopted an approach to accounting education which led to the widespread adoption of Pacioli’s definition of double entry and the double entry system in accounting practice that has lasted to the present day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-601
Number of pages22
JournalAccounting History
Issue number4
Early online date16 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • sixteenth century
  • accounting education
  • Italy
  • Manzoni
  • worked example


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