Rosita S. Chen and
SHIPPENSBURG STATE COLLEGE
FREDERICK WINSLOW TAYLOR'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO ACCOUNTING
Abstract: Taylor's system of accounting was formulated in the 1880s, basically completed in the 1890s, and implemented in various manufacturing companies up until the 1920s. The rapid growth of business and the accompanying change in capital structure in this century led to an income-statement emphasized financial accounting system on the one hand, and a decision-oriented managerial account-ing system on the other. In either system, some influence of Taylor's work is still discernable.
In the early years of this century, the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) generated a great interest in efficiency that swept the United States and influenced industrial life all over the world. His innovative ideas and comprehensive experiments led not only to his receiving numerous patents, but also to his earning a reputation as the father of scientific management. He is well-known, of course, for his work on task standardization. He is scarcely recognized, however, for his work in accounting. Perhaps this lack of recognition of his contributions to accounting is simply because Taylor, always busy as an industrial consulting engineer, did not publish anything on accounting per se. Nevertheless, Taylor's disciples often spoke of his cost accounting and general accounting systems with very high regard. But until now, very little specific information about these systems has been available.
Our research in the Taylor Collection of the Stevens Institute of Technology has uncovered several unpublished manuscripts from the 1880s and 1890s in which Taylor described in great detail his accounting systems. In the following pages we describe the ac-
Acknowledgement is made to Dean V. K. Zimmerman and Professor R. I. Dickey of the University of Illinois, Dean Emeritus Paul Garner of the University of Ala-bama, and the anonymous reviewers of this paper for their comments and encour-agement. Great appreciation is extended to the Stevens Institute of Technology for the use of the Taylor Collection, without which this paper would have been impossible.