Accounting historians have provided several accounts of monastic life and accounting's role in it, considering important settings such as Montecassino and San Pietro abbeys in Italy and Durham Cathedral Priory in England. Research has shown how their governance arrangements and common values enabled the Benedictines to manage their monasteries in an efficient manner which was essential in tackling the misappropriation of resources by organisational actors, including abbots. Other studies have shed light on the use of practical and effective accounting practices by the Benedictines to manage their considerable wealth and pursue their spiritual and temporal goals. Nevertheless, this body of literature is yet to explicitly consider the dimensions of time and space and their relationship with accounting practices. This study begins to address this oversight by analysing the surviving accounting records of the Benedictine abbey of Nonantola in northern Italy from 1350 to 1449. In the accounting books of Nonantola Abbey linear and cyclical conceptions of time coexisted and had an impact on the way in which transactions were reflected in the accounts. At the same time, the abbey was at the centre of a complex network of accountabilities which included lay accountants, farmers and the lessees of the abbey's properties. The main characteristic of this system was not the accuracy of the records in detailing the assets, liabilities, expenses and revenue of the abbey but the maintenance of a control system to administer an extensive agricultural network and the identification of the relationships between the abbey and the stakeholders inhabiting its space.

Time, space and accounting at Nonantola Abbey (1350–1449)

Ferramosca S.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Accounting historians have provided several accounts of monastic life and accounting's role in it, considering important settings such as Montecassino and San Pietro abbeys in Italy and Durham Cathedral Priory in England. Research has shown how their governance arrangements and common values enabled the Benedictines to manage their monasteries in an efficient manner which was essential in tackling the misappropriation of resources by organisational actors, including abbots. Other studies have shed light on the use of practical and effective accounting practices by the Benedictines to manage their considerable wealth and pursue their spiritual and temporal goals. Nevertheless, this body of literature is yet to explicitly consider the dimensions of time and space and their relationship with accounting practices. This study begins to address this oversight by analysing the surviving accounting records of the Benedictine abbey of Nonantola in northern Italy from 1350 to 1449. In the accounting books of Nonantola Abbey linear and cyclical conceptions of time coexisted and had an impact on the way in which transactions were reflected in the accounts. At the same time, the abbey was at the centre of a complex network of accountabilities which included lay accountants, farmers and the lessees of the abbey's properties. The main characteristic of this system was not the accuracy of the records in detailing the assets, liabilities, expenses and revenue of the abbey but the maintenance of a control system to administer an extensive agricultural network and the identification of the relationships between the abbey and the stakeholders inhabiting its space.
2021
Bigoni, M.; Maran, L.; Ferramosca, S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1074750
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