This paper uses the archival records of three entities successively carrying on coal and ironmaking activities at Staveley between 1838–1900, together with the findings from earlier research, to explore the costing information generated over the period 1690–1900. We find a system of cost accounting, broadly defined, in operation throughout the period, a large measure of continuity concerning its basic features, and innovations made from time to time presumably designed to improve its usefulness. The paper uses the results of this and earlier research to explore the nature of accounting change and draws attention to possible differences in the path of development between countries. Further, we assess the significance of our findings for present ideas concerning the development of cost accounting systems in Britain and the U.S., and argue for a broader view to be taken by researchers into the nature of management accounting's development.

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