Accounting and the critical area of financial control are central to the management of any business and banking is no exception. Without good accounting and control systems banks would not know how they were performing or whether individual divisions were making a profit. They would not know whether they were in a position to pay dividends to shareholders or bonuses to management and staff – and they would find it impossible to comply with modern regulatory requirements.

Despite all this, banks somehow managed to survive and thrive for hundreds of years without the levels of sophisticated accounting and control systems that were  commonplace in industrial companies throughout the 19th century.

Dramatic change came in the 1980s.