The rather extensive and complex collection of accounting and related materials of the East India Company may be viewed in four distinct periods. Paradoxically, the first period (1600–1663) is marked by an absence of account books. The second period (1664–1697), however, provides us with a near-complete set of books. The maintenance of three separate sets of accounting records distinguishes the third period (1698–1712) when three East India Companies (London, English, United) were operating simultaneously. From around 1712 until final liquidation of the Company in 1858 - fourth and last archival period - record keeping assumed certain features of modern accounting.

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