Accounting Fraud in a Pre-Modern Historical Context: An Accounting Investigation on the Use of Market (Fair) Value in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century in Venice
28 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 3, 2017
The paper examines accounting practices, institutions’ role and the possible ways of defining accounting fraud in pre-modern historical context through the micro-analysis of a Venetian case. The three fraudulent financial statements, investigated in this paper, refer to the years 1781, 1782, and 1783, and regard Geminiano Cozzi’s porcelain factory, an enterprise active in Venice in the second half of the eighteenth century. Their preparation was required by a government official (the Inquisitorato alle Arti) that, after the investigation of the statements, issued a report (called “Riflessioni”), emphasizing the reasons of the accounting fraud. In particular, the Inquisitorato highlighted the wrong evaluation of fixed assets at (historical) cost, arguing that it was far from the market (sale) value of such assets. The present paper examines the accounting criteria sought by the government official and fills part of the gap characterizing accounting history about the Italian peninsula.
Keywords: accounting fraud, Venetian Republic, 18th century, pottery
JEL Classification: M41, N83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation