So at last I’ve finished my new book, right down to the details of cover design and end pages, and it’s being published in Australia next month. Just as I didn’t set out to write my first book about accounting – Double Entry, which I thought was going to be a book about Renaissance art and business, and the monk and mathematician Luca Pacioli – so I didn’t set out to write this second book about accounting, Six Capitals: The revolution capitalism has to have – or can accountants save the planet?
But after Double Entry was published I was thrown into the world of contemporary accounting in most unexpected ways. I became fascinated by accounting all over again, especially, now, by its implications for the future of the planet. It started with an invitation in May 2012 from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia to a round table discussion on the future of accounting. By accepting that invitation I unknowingly embarked upon a journey into the cutting edge of accounting which eventually became this book. At that meeting I discovered there was an upheaval taking place in the world of accounting which was only the third such momentous change since the birth of accounting in Mesopotamia around 7000BC. That was the beginning of my researches into the new accounting paradigm – and its implications for corporations, nations, capitalism and the planet – that is the subject of Six Capitals. Here’s a quote from the book’s back cover:
‘I found I had stumbled into what I would soon realise was a revolution. A quiet revolution taking place in the least likely realm of all: our accounting systems. And it had been brewing for some thirty years. The “revolutionaries” were not the usual sort; instead they were accountants, a former judge, a Harvard professor. Their mission was the overthrow not of kings, tsars or states, but of capitalism itself. In the name of capitalism.’
I plan to write more about Six Capitals and the new accounting paradigm here when I write about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It seems ‘capital’ is the mot du jour.