Using Pacioli's pedagogy and medieval text in today's introductory accounting course

Alan Sangster*, Ellie Franklin, Dee Alwis, Jo Abdul-Rahim, Greg Stoner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Students today see little relevance in learning double-entry bookkeeping and find it difficult to learn how to prepare journal entries correctly. In particular, they struggle with the first stage of the double-entry process: identifying which accounts are to be debited and which are to be credited for each transaction. This paper reports on an attempt to overcome this situation by using the first printed instructional text on the subject (Pacioli, 1494) as the principal textbook on a 20-hour component of the introductory financial accounting course in an undergraduate accounting degree program. Instruction followed the pedagogy presented by Pacioli and only minimal additional costs to faculty were incurred.The innovation was successful. In their assessment, students not only demonstrated that they had learned, understood, and were able to draft the correct entries to make into the Journal, they did so correctly to an extent that exceeded expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-35
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Accounting Education
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

This research was made possible by a Teaching and Learning grant from Middlesex University. Greg Stoner's involvement was supported by The Carnegie Fund for the Universities of Scotland.


  • Cognitive apprenticeships
  • Cognitive layout theory
  • Double-entry bookkeeping
  • Engagement
  • History
  • Pacioli


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