The purpose of this paper is to explore special features of the diffusion of ideas and, subsequently, of innovative practices in Chinese accounting and then to examine early instances of the introduction of auditing. Three general periods of accounting innovation are identified which coincide with the establishment of certain dynasties. Some conclusions are then drawn about the main reasons underlying accounting changes occurred during this long period of time. Also examined are relationships between the long-term evolutionary conditions for the growth of Chinese accounting. Possible phases of development in the present of generally accepted practices of financial accounting and reporting are traced to opportunities for innovation which have arisen in the past.

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