The Accounting Historians Journal
Vol. 13, No. 2
A. Mills INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
FINANCIAL REPORTING AND STEWARDSHIP ACCOUNTING IN SIXTEENTH-CENTURY SPAIN
Abstract: This paper examines an early modern contribution to the literature on stewardship accounting, the Tratado de Cuentas or Treatise on Accounts, by Diego del Castillo, a sixteenth-century Spanish jurist.
The delegation of authority and the stewardship function have been the subject of written comment for centuries. It is the intent of this paper to explore the accounting implications of an early modern contribution to this body of work, the Tratado de Cuentas or Treatise on Accounts written by Diego del Castillo, a sixteenth-century Spanish jurist. [Del Castillo, 1522].
Despite its preeminence in politics, commerce and culture during the sixteenth century, Spain lagged behind most other European powers in its contribution to the literature on double-entry book-keeping. Indeed, by 1590 when the first major native work on the subject — Solóranzo's Libro de caxa y manuel de cuentas — ap-peared, Italian, German, Flemish, English, Dutch, French and Yugoslav books on the newest system already had a wide audience [Hernández Esteve, 1983, 139-40]. Although Spanish authors largely neglected the double-entry system for most of the sixteenth century, a number of indigenous works on pre double-entry techniques and other accounting usages appeared at this time. The earliest of these texts was the Tratado de Cuentas.
We know relatively little about the author of the Treatise other than a few biographical details. A native of Molina de Aragon in the province of Guadalajara, Diego del Castillo began the study of law in 1515 and acquired the doctorate six years later. He ap-parently returned at some time in his career to his native city to write, sending his completed manuscripts away to printers in various cities for publication. The date of his death is unknown, but it is thought to be around 1551 [Hernández Esteve, 1981, p. 108].