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The growing literature on the history of cost and management accounting has left virtually unexplored the developments prior to the British industrial revolution. Recently the business notebooks of Daniel Hechstetter, the German manager of an English copper works from 1597 to 1633, have been transcribed and published, making available what is probably the most detailed set of business records for a British-based industrial enterprise in this period. This paper examines Hechstetter's background and role at Keswick, and translates a sample of the calculations into modern English. These calculations show that a number of modern cost accounting concepts and procedures were in use by c. 1600. The significance of this in relation to our understanding of the development of cost and management accounting is assessed, and it is shown that there is a strong case for claiming that German enterpreneurs involved in this enterprise were responsible for introducing a range of cost accounting techniques to Britain.



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