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The various forms of accounting practice have a long history. However, the focus of historical accounting scholarship examining premodern times has tended to be the genesis of double-entry book-keeping techniques. In particular, very few scholars have examined influences on the adoption of management accounting techniques in the ancient periods of India’s long history. We respond to this lacuna by examining management accounting at an organizational level within an ancient and economically successful society, namely the Mauryan period (322–185 BC). The aim is to explore management accounting practices implicated in the enforcement of economic and ethical behavior in the daily lives of Mauryan organizational actors. Drawing on a translation of original records in the form of a collection of texts known as the Arthasastra (lit. the science of wealth), this paper explores the intended uses of management accounting and, in particular, controls to persuade organizational actors to adapt the values and norms of wealth generation within the boundaries of socially acceptable roles. Our contribution is to highlight the society-oriented role of management accounting within Mauryan organizations.
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- The Role of Management Accounting in Ancient India: Evidence from the Arthasastra
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