Accounting has always been utilitarian in nature. It adapts to the changes in the business environment by meeting the need for new types of information. The change in waterborne transportation in the U.S. during the 19th century provides an example of such an environmental change that led to a need for accounting adaptation. With the advent of the steamboat, old accounting methods were modified and new ones created to meet the changes in the business environment. In the process, a standardized ship-accounting model was developed. The model can be seen in the accounting records of three ships that sailed at the beginning of the 20th century.
Heier, Jan Richard
"Development of American ship-accounting practices to 1900: A comparative study of three vessels,"
Accounting Historians Journal: Vol. 26
, Article 3.
Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/aah_journal/vol26/iss1/3