Accounting has evolved over thousands of years from record keeping systems designed to document to systems designed to measure changes in economic activity. Similarly, the technology used to manage economic data has evolved from clay tokens and jars to punched card and computer systems. Throughout their development, changes in data processing technology and accounting frequently have been interrelated. Punched card and computer systems, in particular, have led to significant changes in many of the data management and information system functions of accounting. Current advances in information technology indicate that more profound changes may occur in the future. Insights into how information technology may impact accounting can be gained by examining the historical relationship between data processing technology and accounting.

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