The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 17, No. 2 December 1990
Marc Nikitin TOURS, FRANCE
SETTING UP AN INDUSTRIAL ACCOUNTING SYSTEM AT SAINT-GOBAIN (1820 -1880)
Abstract: In 1820, the Manufacture Royale des Glaces, founded in 1665 and also named Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, opted for double entry bookkeeping and cost accounting. At that time, both economic (indus-trial revolution) and juridical (abolition of the privileges and emer-gence of competition) events explain that change of accounting meth-ods. From 1820 to 1880, the accounting system was progressively im-proved; most of today's cost accounting problems were discussed by the Board of Directors and in 1880 the accounting system was already very similar to today's full cost method.
Industrial Accounting: a New Information System. Modern ac-counting was popularized in 1494 when Luca Pacioli published The Suma; it was such an outstanding work that most French accounting historians suppose there has been no prominent theo-retical discovery since that time. For J. H. Vlaemminck , every improvement since Pacioli's time was only a minor amend-ment to the master s work. The emergence of cost accounting was never considered as a significant breakthrough in accounting tech-nique.
The industrial revolution brought new accounting systems. These systems have been studied [Johnson, 1972; McKendrick, 1970; Stevelinck, 1976; Stone, 1973; Jones, 1985; Fleischman & Parker, 1990; and Porter, 1980] as well as the text books [Edwards, 1937] of that period. French authors such as Payen, , de Cazaux, , and Godard,  were among the first to pro-pound that accounting systems integrate the factory accounts into the old double entry bookkeeping system. This was quite surpris-
This article has been translated from the French and read at the 11th Con-gress of the A.F.C. (French Accounting Association) on 4th May, 1990. I express my thanks especially to Professor J. L. Malo and Professor B. Colasse for help and encouragement.