chapter  1
17 Pages

The introduction of accounting machines at Guinness

WithCarmen M. Martínez Franco, Martin R. W. Hiebl

The existent literature is inconclusive on the question of whether new technologies have a material impact on management accounting practices and the work of management accountants. However, this literature is very much focussed on contemporary technological change, mostly on the adoption of ERP systems. We argue that the analysis of historical technological change has been overlooked so far in this literature. Hence, we provide a historical analysis of the adoption of new technology in accounting. For this purpose, we use data from the archival records of Guinness. Specifically, we analyse the introduction of Smith Premier Machines at the Accountant’s Department at Guinness from 1928 to 1929. Our analysis suggests that this historical implementation of new technology faced some specific but also many similar challenges, like contemporary introductions of new technology in accounting. Our case therefore highlights that the study of historical technological change offers much potential to enrich our understanding of the effects of such change on accounting.