The usefulness of accounting information for decision-making purposes in an Italian company from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century

Author/s Stefania Veltri, Romilda Mazzotta, Vittorio Palermo
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2022/2 Language English
Pages 24 P. 29-52 File size 180 KB
DOI 10.3280/CCA2022-002003
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Introduction: Accounting history research on cost accounting theory and practice is still at an early stage in Italy for two main reasons. The first relates to the im-portance that the double-entry bookkeeping technique assumes in Italy, charac-terised by a typical financial focus, and the second to the delay with which Italy en-tered the industrialisation process. Aim: The main aim of this study is to investigate the bookkeeping accounting sys-tems of an established, southern Italian family and long-lived firm, namely Amarelli, still operating in the liquorice industry, from the late nineteenth to the early twen-tieth century to unveil whether accounting information was used by Amarelli man-agers for control and decision-making purposes. Methodological approach: We used document analysis of the reports related to the Amarelli bookkeeping system and semi-structured interviews with one of the present-day owners. Main findings: The findings highlight that the different reports in which Amarelli’s bookkeeping system was articulated, and specifically the reports related to Ama-relli’s industrial activity, can be regarded as a response to the necessity to calcu-late and control the ‘cost’ of the different ‘processes’ as well as the specific ‘per-formance’ of any single activity of Amarelli, together with the overall ‘perfor-mance’ of the Amarelli factory. Originality: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that investigates the accounting systems used by a food industry firm in southern Italy, an under-developed territorial area, from an industrialised point of view during 1875-1925.

Keywords: accounting information, decision usefulness, monitoring, decision-making purposes, southern Italy, food industry, case study, liquorice juice, macro- and micro-factors

  1. Antonelli V., Boyns T. and Cerbioni F. (2006). Multiple origins of accounting? An early Italian example of the development of accounting for managerial purpose. European Accounting Review, 15, 3: 367-401.
  2. Antonelli V., Boyns T. and Parbonetti A. (2009). The development of cost accounting in Italy, c.1800 to c.1940. Accounting History, 14, 4: 465-507.
  3. Antonelli V., Boyns T. and Cerbioni F. (2005). The Development of Management Accounting in Italy: Ansaldo in the Early Decades of the Twentieth Century. In Proceedings of the International Workshop on Accounting History in Italy, Rome: RIREA, pp. 37-77.
  4. Antonelli V., Boyns T. and Cerbioni F. (2008). The Development of Management Accounting in Europe in the Era of Scientific Management: The Italian Engineering Conglomerate, Ansaldo, c.1918-c.1940. The Accounting Historians Journal, 35, 1: 49-81.
  5. Antonelli V., Cerbioni F. and Parbonetti A. (2002). The Rise of Cost Accounting. Evidence from Italy. Accounting, Business and Financial History, 12, 3: 461-486.
  6. Argenziano A., Bruno S. and Sperotti E. (1914). Le aziende agricole a conduzione diretta. La mezzadria e le forme speciali e locali di conduzione dei fondi. I monti frumentari, le Casse rurali di prestiti. I consorzi agricoli. Unione Tipografico – Editrice Torinese, Turin.
  7. Bergamin M. (2005). The development of the management accounting in Italy: a comparison with the Anglo-Saxon context. In AA.VV. Proceedings of the International workshop on Accounting History in Italy. Pisa, Italy, 27-28 January, Rome: Rirea, pp. 165-184.
  8. Bergamin M., Collini P., Quagli A. (1996). Management Accounting in Italy: Evolution within tradition. In Bhimani A.., Management Accounting: European Perspectives, Oxford University Press.
  9. Berry A.J. and Otley D.T. (2004). Case-based research in accounting. In Humphrey C. and Lee B. (Eds.). The Real Life Guide to Accounting Research, a behind-the-scenes view of using qualitative research methods. Elsevier, pp. 231-255.
  10. Bourdieu P. (1972). Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge University Press.
  11. Bourdieu P. (1980). The Logic of Practice. Stanford University Press.
  12. Bourdieu P. (1984). Distinction. Harvard University Press.
  13. Bowen G.A. (2009). Document analysis as a qualitative research method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9, 2: 27-40.
  14. Boyns T. and Cerbioni F. (2006a). The development of the rise of accounting for managerial purposes: Lardello, c. 1900-c.1939. The eighteenth Accounting Business and Financial History Conference, Cardiff, 14-15 September.
  15. Boyns T. and Cerbioni F. (2006b). Organisational developments, strategy and accounting in an early Italian firm: Lardello 1818-1858. The eleventh Word Congress of accounting Historians, Nantes, 19-22 July.
  16. Boyns T. and Edwards J.R. (1996). The development of accounting in mid-nineteenth century Britain: a non-disciplinary view. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 9, 3, 40-60.
  17. Bronzetti G. and Mazzotta R. (2015). Business succession and Intellectual Capital Management in family firms. Management Control, 1: 45-72.
  18. Brun R. (1930). A Fourteenth-century Merchant of Italy. Journal of Economic and Business History, 2, 3: 451-466.
  19. Carmona S. (2007). The History of Management Accounting in France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In Chapman C.S., Hopwood A.G. and Shields M.D. (eds.). Handbook of Management Accounting Research. Oxford: Elsevier, 2, pp. 905-922.
  20. Carnegie G. (2014). The present and future of accounting history. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27, 8: 1241-1249.
  21. Castronovo V. (1980). L’industria italiana dall’ottocento ad oggi. Milan: Mondadori.
  22. Cinquini L. and Marelli A. (2007). Accounting history research in Italy, 1990-2004: an introduction. Accounting, Business & Financial History, 17, 1: 1-9.
  23. Cinquini L., Marelli A. and Tenucci A. (2007). An Analysis of publishing patterns in accounting history research in Italy, 1990-2004. IN-SAT working paper, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.
  24. Cinquini L., Giannetti R., Tenucci A. (2016). The making of uniform costing in a war economy: The case of the Uniconti Commission in Fascist Italy, Accounting History, 21, 4: 445-471.
  25. Cinquini L., Marelli A. (2002). An Italian forerunner of modern cost allocation concepts: Lorenzo De Minico and the logic of the ‘flows of services’. Accounting, Business & Financial History, 12, 1: 95-111.
  26. Coronella S. (2007). La Ragioneria in Italia nella seconda metà del XIX secolo. Profili teorici e proposte applicative. Milan: Giuffrè.
  27. De Granges De Rancy E. (1860). Petite Traité de comptabilité agricole en partie simple. Paris: Lacroix et Baudry.
  28. De Granges De Rancy E. (1857). Traité de comptabilité agricole. Paris: Librairie agricole.
  29. De Granges ESr. (1795). La tenue des livres rendue facile. Paris.
  30. De Rosa L. (1980). La rivoluzione industriale in Italia. Bari: Laterza.
  31. Doni F. (2007). La teoria personalistica del conto. Aspetti evolutivi ed approfondimenti critici, Milano: Giuffrè editore.
  32. Gualerni G. (1982). Lo stato industriale in Italia: 1890-1940. Milan: Etas Libri.
  33. Hopwood A.G. (1983). On trying to study accounting in the contexts in which it operates. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 8, 2/3: 287-305.
  34. Hopwood A.G. and Miller P. (ed.) (1994). Accounting as Social and Institutional Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  35. Hoque Z., Cowaleski N.A. and Gooneratne T.A. (2013). Theoretical triangulation and pluralism in research methods in organizational and accounting research. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 26, 7: 1170-1198.
  36. Melis F. (1950). Storia della ragioneria-Contributo alla conoscenza e interpretazione delle fonti più significative della storia economica. Bologna: Cesare Zuffi.
  37. Merzario R. (1975). Signori e contadini di Calabria. Corigliano Calabro dal XVI al XIX secolo. Milan: Giuffrè.
  38. Modell S. (2005). Triangulation between case study and survey methods in management accounting research: An assessment of validity implications. Management Accounting Research, 16: 231-254.
  39. Moll J., Major M. and Hoque Z. (2006). The qualitative research tradition. In Hoque Z. (Ed.). Methodological Issues in Accounting Research, Theories and Methods. Spiramus, pp. 375-398.
  40. Mussari R., Magliacani M. (2007). Agricultural accounting in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: The case of the noble Rucellai family farm in Campi. Accounting History Review, 17, 1: 87-103.
  41. Mussolino D., Pugliese A., Viganò R. (2005). Evolution in bookkeeping in the Amarelli company between 1880 and 1920. In AA.VV. Proceedings of the International workshop on Accounting History in Italy. Pisa, Italy, 27-28 January 2005, Rome: Rirea, pp. 499-522.
  42. Parker L.D. (2012). Qualitative management accounting research, Assessing deliverables and relevance. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 23: 54-70.
  43. Parker R. H. (1990). Regulating British Corporate Financial Reporting in the Late Nineteenth Century. Accounting, Business & Financial History, 1, 1: 51-71.
  44. Piccioni L. (2009). Liquorice juice production in Calabria XVIII-XX centuries. Daedalus, 2: 1-15.
  45. Piccioni L. (2010). Le manifatture locali: uno sguardo al lungo periodo. In Branda R. and Cersosimo D. (eds). Il Cosentino. Cento pagine di storia, imprese e territorio. Rome: Sipi, pp. 59-70.
  46. Qu S.Q., and Dumay J. (2011). The qualitative research interview. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 8, 3: 238-264.
  47. Quinn M., Hiebl M., Mazzotta R., Veltri S. (2020). Accounting for family and business overlaps. Journal of Management History, 26, 2: 249-276.
  48. Rabbeno A. (1895). Manuale pratico della Mezzeria e dei vari sistemi della colonia parziaria in Italia. Milan: Ulrico Hoepli Editore.
  49. Rathbone D. (1994). Accounting on a large estate in Roman Egypt. In Parker R.H. and Yamey S.B. (eds). Accounting history: Some British contributions, pp. 13-56. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  50. Romeo R. (1961). Breve storia della grande industria in Italia. 1861-1961. Bologna: Cappelli.
  51. Rubino F., Mazzotta R., Veltri S. (2016). Context-specific and firm-specific factors and their impact on the Amarelli book-keeping system between 1874 and 1920. In D’Amico L., Di Pietra R. and Sargiacomo M. (eds). Accounting and Food. Routledge.
  52. Ryan B., Scapens R., and Theobald M. (2002). Research Method and Methodology in Finance and Accounting. London: Thomson.
  53. Vollmers G., Antonelli V., D'Alessio R., Rossi R. (2016). Cost Accounting for War: Contracting Procedures and Cost-plus Pricing in WWI Industrial Mobilization in Italy. European Accounting Review, 25, 4: 735-769.
  54. Yin R.K. (2003). Case study research, design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage CA.
  55. Zambon S. and Zan L. (2007). Controlling Expenditure, or the Slow Emergence of Costing at the Venice Arsenal, 1586-1633. Accounting, Business and Financial History, 17, 1: 105-128.
  56. Zan L. (1994). Towards a History of Accounting Histories: Perspectives from the Italian Tradition. European Accounting Review, 3, 2: 255-307.
  57. Zan L. (2004). Accounting and Management Discourse in Proto-Industrial Settings: The Venice Arsenal in the Turn of the 16th Century. Accounting and Business Research, 32:145-175.

Stefania Veltri, Romilda Mazzotta, Vittorio Palermo, The usefulness of accounting information for decision-making purposes in an Italian company from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century in "CONTABILITÀ E CULTURA AZIENDALE" 2/2022, pp 29-52, DOI: 10.3280/CCA2022-002003