Accounting History

There is now an emerging literature that focuses on accounting practices in colonial processes of imperialism. This historical study theorizes accounting’s involvement in collectivistic social arrangements within a colonial regime. It analyses the colonial functions of accounting in Fiji During the pre- independence period. We define colonialism by an official emphasis on the customary in 19th century utopian community-type ideas. The paper focuses on the moments and processes including that of accounting that produced such an expression of cultural difference. Rather than taking the communal division as given, this paper analyses the construction of such
An identity and the role played by accounting from a political economy perspective. Archival documents highlight the emphasis on revenue that led to exploitative colonial labour policy for
indigenous taxation and its attendant requirement for exacting unremunerated labour from the indigenous population. The paper also shows how accounting calculations were indiscernible from exploitative and oppressive acts of organizing indigenous labour for colonial taxes as well as for the collaborating Chiefs’ personal services.


Scholars of the relationship between accounting practices and forms of colonial imperialism
are few. This is surprising given the impact of colonialism on the redrawing of the political
map of the world and its cultural, social, economic, and political influence on societies. It was examined how accounting calculations and explanations reinforced, reproduced and perpetuated colonial structures of power. It was also examined that intersection of accounting and colonialism’s genocide acts in Fiji. In another study, highlighted accounting as an imperial process “enmeshed within colonial systems of government” to rationalise land purchases. Also   explored how accounting and imperialism became mutually constitutive for empire building. More recently, it was examined that...