Andrekos Varnava Peter Clarke


Compared to many developed countries in the former British Empire, little has been written about the accounting history of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This article attempts to fill this void. It focuses on the transition in accounting practice from the last four decades of Ottoman rule to the first four decades of British rule. The main focus is on the significant influences on the development of accounting practice on the island during the four decades from the start of the British occupation and administration in 1878, ending with the Great War in 1918. This period constitutes the ‘source phase’ of the theory proposed by McKinnon (1986), and therefore the beginning of modern accounting practice in both the public and private sectors. Like other studies on the history of accounting in various states, this paper argues that the practice of accounting evolved in response to political, economic, legal, social and military changes and challenges.



Ottoman Cyprus, British Cyprus, Colonial development, economy, accounting practice

UK National Archives, Kew Gardens,
CO 67/44/2481
CO 67/46/11126
CO 67/98/6463
CO 67/98/6444, No. 61
CO 67/98/7413, No. 70

National Archives:
War Office 405/1

State Archives:
Nicosia, Secretariat Archive 1/722/1916

About Cyprus (2009) Nicosia: Press and Information Office.

Adams, T. (1964) US Army Area Handbook for Cyprus. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.

Argyridou-Dimitriou, C. and Kanaris, E. (2012) ‘The Financial System of Cyprus’, in The Cyprus Economy – Historical Review Prospects Challenges. Nicosia: Central Bank of Cyprus.

Amirayan, G. (1906) Ottoman Commercial Code. Nicosia: Cyprus Government Printing Office.

Aymes, M. (2014) A Provincial History of the Ottoman Empire: Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean in the Nineteenth Century. London: Routledge.

Bank of Cyprus (2010) Bank of Cyprus Chronicle: 1899–2009. Nicosia: Bank of Cyprus Historical Archive.

Board of Education (1905) Special Reports on Educational Subjects, Vols. V and XII. London: Wyman and Sons, HMSO.

Brock, D. and Richardson, A. (2013) ‘The Development of the Accounting Profession in the Holy Land since 1920: Cultural Memory and Accounting Institutions’, Accounting History Review, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 227–252.

Burrows, G. and Cobbin, P. (2011) ‘Budgetary and Discontinuities: Iraq 1920–1932’, Accounting History Review, Vol. 21, No. 3, (November), pp. 247–262.

Carnegie, G. (1993) ‘The Australian Institute of Incorporated Accountants (1892–1938)’, Accounting, Business and Financial History, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 61–80.

Carnegie, G. and Parker, R. (1999) ‘Accountants and Empire: The Case of Co-Membership of Australian and British Accountancy Bodies, 1885 to 1914’, Accounting, Business and Financial History, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 77–102.

Census 1901 (1901) Cyprus: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1901 Taken on the 1st April 1901. Prepared by Alexander Mavrogordato, Superintendent of the Census. Nicosia: Government Printing Office.

Census 1911 (1912) Cyprus: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1911 Taken on the 2nd April 1911. Prepared by Alexander Mavrogordato, Superintendent of the Census. London: Waterlow and Sons Limited.

Chacalli, G. (1902) Cyprus under British Rule. Nicosia: Printed at the Office of ‘Phoni tis Kyprou’.

Chua, W.F. and Poullaos, C. (1993) ‘Rethinking the Profession – State Dynamic: The Case of the Victorian Charter Attempt, 1885–1906’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. XVIII, No. 7/8, pp. 691–728.

Chua, W.F. and Poullaos, C. (1998) ‘The Dynamics of ‘Closure’ Amidst the Construction of Market, Profession, Empire and Nationhood: An Historical Analysis of an Australian Accounting Association, 1886–1903’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. XXIII, No. 2, pp. 155–187.

Chua, W.F. and Poullaos, C. (2002) ‘The Empire Strikes Back? An Exploration of Centre-periphery Interaction between ICAEW and Accounting Associations in the Self-governing Colonies of Australia, Canada and South Africa, 1880–1907’, Accounting Organisations and Society, Vol. XXVII, No. 4/5, pp. 409–445.

Clarke, P. (2008) ‘The Teaching of Book-Keeping in Nineteenth Century Ireland’, Accounting Business and Financial History, Vol. XVIII, No. 1 (March), pp. 21–33.

Clarke, P. (2011) ‘Exploring the History of Accounting in Cyprus’, Global Business and Economics Review, Vol. XIII, No. 3/4, pp. 281–295.

Clarke, P. (2013) ‘Nevvar Hickmet: The First Cypriot to Qualify as a Chartered Accountant’, Journal of Cyprus Studies, Vol. 17, No. 40 (Spring), pp. 15–34.

Clarke, P. and Varnava, A. (2013) ‘Accounting in Cyprus during the Last Four Decades of British Rule: Post-World War I to Independence: 1918-1960’, Accounting History, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 293–315.

Companies Law (1951) A Law to Consolidate and Amend the Law Relating to Companies. London: Roworth Limited, Grafton Way.

Companies (Limited Liability) Law (1922) An Act to Provide for the Formation of Companies with Limited Liability, Act XVIII of 1922, Cap 191. Nicosia.

Co-operative Credit Societies Law (1914) An Act to Provide for the Constitution and Control of Cooperative Credit Societies. Nicosia: Government Printing Office, No. XIII.

Craig, R., Ó hÓgartaigh, C. and Ó hÓgartaigh, M. (2004) ‘“Clowns of No Account?”: Reflections on the Involvement of Four Irishmen in the Commercial Life of the New South Wales Colony, 1788–1818’, Accounting History, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 63–86.

Cyprus Gazette (1888) 24 February. Nicosia: Government Printing Office.

Cyprus: Weekly Journal (1878) ‘Cyprus: A Weekly Journal of Agriculture and Commerce’, Thursday 29 August, No. 1. Larnaca.

Damala, D. (2008) American Academy Larnaca: Centenary 1908–2008. Larnaca: Published by American Academy.

Davie, S. (2005) ‘Accounting’s Uses in Exploitative Human Engineering: Theorising Citizenship, Indirect Rule and Britain’s Expansion’, Accounting Historians Journal, Vol. XXII, No. 2, pp. 55–80.

Dyball, M., Chua, W. and Poullaos, C. (2006) ‘Mediating between Colonizer and Colonized in the American Empire: Accounting for Government Monies in the Philippines’, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. XIX, No. 1, pp. 47–81.

Dyball, M., Poullaos, C. and Chua, W. (2007) ‘Accounting and Empire: Professionalisation as Resistance, the Case of the Philippines’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, pp. 415–449.

Graham, G.S. (1929) ‘Imperial Finance, Trade and Communications: 1895–1914’ (chapter XXII), in Bevians, E., Butler, J. and Carrington, C. (eds), The Cambridge History of the British Empire Vol. III: The Empire-Commonwealth 1870-1919. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Güvemli, B. (2012) ‘Industrialisation and Investment Cost Calculations in the Ottoman Empire in the Mid-19th Century’. A paper presented at the 13th World Congress of Accounting Historians. Newcastle University, 17–19 July.

Güvemli, O. and Güvemli, B. (2006) ‘Development of Accounting Thought from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic’, Journal of Financial Analyze (Special issue). Available at [http://journal.mufad.org/attachments/article/478/35.pdf], accessed on 6 January 2014.

Hadjianastasis, M. (2009) ‘Cyprus in the Ottoman Period: Consolidation of the Cypro-Ottoman Elite, 1650–1750’, in Michael, M., Kappler, M. and Gavrie, E. (eds), Ottoman Cyprus: A Collection of Studies on History and Culture. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, pp. 63–88.

Herrick, M. and Ingalls, R. (1914) Rural Credits, Land and Cooperative.New York/London: Appleton and Company.

Hill, Sir G.F. (1952) A History of Cyprus, Vol. IV. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hopwood, A. (1983) ‘On Trying to Study Accounting in the Contexts in Which it Operates’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. 8, pp. 287–305.

Hopwood, A. (1987) ‘The Archaeology of Accounting Systems’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 207–234.

Katsiaounis, R. (1996) Labour, Society and Politics in Cyprus during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century. Nicosia: Cyprus Research Centre.

Keshishian, K. (1985) Famagusta Town and District, Cyprus: A Survey of its People and Places from Ancient Times. Nicosia: Famagusta Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Kim, S. (2004) ‘Imperialism without Empire: Silence in Contemporary Accounting Race on Race/Ethnicity’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. XV, No. 1, pp. 95–133.

Lang, R.H. (1878a) Cyprus: Its History, its Present Resources and Future Prospects. London: Macmillan.

Lang, R.H. (1878b) ‘Cyprus’ (Part I)’, Macmillan’s Magazine, Vol. XXXVIII (August).

La Salle (1922) Higher Accountancy: Principles, Practice and Procedure. Chicago: La Salle Extension University.

Lee, D. (1931) ‘A Memorandum Concerning Cyprus 1878’, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 3, No. 2 (June), pp. 235–241.

Lee, T.A. (1995) ‘The Professionalization of Accountancy: A History of Protecting the Public Interest in a Self-Interested Way’, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 4, pp. 48–69.

Lemythou (2011) (website) Available at [http://www.lemythou.org/english/people.shtm], accessed on 23 October 2011.

Lemythou (website) Available at [http://www.lemythou.org/english/history.shtm], accessed on 31 December 2013.

Luke, H. (1965) Cyprus under the Turks: 1571–1878. London: Hurst and Company. First published in 1921 and reprinting authorised by the Clarendon Press, London.
Macdonald, K. (1984) ‘Professional Formation: The Case of Scottish Accountants’, The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. XXXV, pp. 174–189.

Martin, Admiral Sir W.F. (1879) Cyprus as a Naval Station and a Place of Arms. London: Harrison.

McKinnon, J. (1986) The Historical Development of the Operational Form of Corporate Reporting Regulation in Japan. New York: Garland Publishing.

McLeay, S. (1999) ‘Accounting Regulation in Europe’, in McLeay, S. (ed.), Accounting Regulation in Europe. London: Macmillan Press, pp. 366–386.

Meyer, A. (1962) The Economy of Cyprus. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Michael, M.N., Kappler, M. and Gavriel, E. (2009) Ottoman Cyprus. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Miranti, P. (1986) ‘From Conflict to Consensus: The American Institute of Accountants and the Professionalization of Public Accountancy, 1886–1940’, Business and Economic History, 2nd Series, Vol. XV, pp. 93–100.

Municipal Councils’ Ordinance (1882) Ordinance VI. Nicosia: Government Printing Office.

Napier, C. (1989) ‘Research Directions in Accounting History’, British Accounting Review, Vol. 21, pp. 237–254.

Napier, C. (2009) ‘Defining Islamic Accounting: Current Issues, Past Roots’, Accounting History, Vol. 14, No. 1/2, pp. 121–144.

Neu, D. (2000) ‘‘‘Presents” for the “Indians”: Land, Colonisation and Accounting in Canada’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. XXV, No. 2, pp. 163–184.

Orr, C. (1918 [repr. 1972]) Cyprus under British Rule. London: Zeno Publishers. First published in 1918 in London by Robert Scott.

Oksuzoglu, M. (2008) Rustiye’den Gunumuze: Lefkosa Turk Lisesi [From Rustic to our Present Day: Nicosia Turkish High School]. Nicosia: Ajans Yay Ltd.

Ozbirecikli, M., Aslan, U. and Odabas, Z. (2008) ‘The First Course Book on the Double-Entry System in Turkey’. A paper presented to the 12th World Congress of Accounting Historians, 20–24 July, Istanbul, Turkey.

Pamuk, S. (2000) A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Phylaktis, K. (1988) ‘Banking in a British Colony: Cyprus 1878–1959’, Business History, Vol. XXX, No. 4 (October), pp. 416–431.

PIO (2004) The Co-operative Movement in Cyprus: Co-operative Societies’ Supervision and Development Authority. Cyprus: Press and Information office. Website accessed 21 September 2012 but no longer accessible on Website.

Poullaos, C. and Sian, S. (2010) Accountancy and Empire: The British Legacy of Professional Organization. New York: Routledge.

Quataert, D. (2000) The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Reformed Presbyterian Church (1911) Minutes of the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, Session LXXXII. Pittsburg: Printed by J. Tibby.

Rokopou, T. (2002) ‘Audit Profile: Office of the Auditor General of Cyprus’, International Journal of Auditing, Vol. XXIX, No. 3 (July), pp. 14–17.

Saygili, A. and Cabuk, A. (2012) ‘Transition from Stairs Method to Double-Entry Bookkeeping for State Accounting Applications in the Ottoman Empire’. A paper presented at the 13th World Congress of Accounting Historians, Newcastle University, 17–19 July.

Sian, S. (2006) ‘Inclusion, Exclusion and Control: The Case of the Kenyan Accounting Professionalisation Project’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. XXXI, No. 3 (April), pp. 295–322.

Storrs, R. (1937) Orientations. London: Nicholson and Watson.

Tinker, T. (1980) ‘Towards a Political Economy of Accounting’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. V, No. 1, pp. 147–160.

Tinker, T. (1991) ‘The Accountant as Partisan’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. XVI, No. 3, pp. 297–310.

Toraman, C. and Ogreten, A. (2013) ‘From the First Corporate Accounting Practices in the Ottoman Empire: Eregli Coal Company and Accounting Book Records’, available on Internet web-page of Dr Toraman at Cengiz Balikesir University. Accessed on 12 December 2014.

Varnava, A. (2005) ‘Recreating Rural Britain and Maintaining Britishness in the Mediterranean: The Troodos Hill Station in Early British Cyprus’, The Cyprus Review, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Fall), pp. 47–79.

Varnava, A. (2009) British Imperialism in Cyprus, 1878–1915: The Inconsequential Possession. Manchester: Manchester University Press (Studies in Imperialism Series).

Walker, S.P. (1991) ‘The Defence of Professional Monopoly: Scottish Chartered Accountants and “Satellites in the Accounting Firmament”, 1885–1915’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. XVI, No. 3, pp. 257–283.

Walton. P. (1986) ‘The Export of British Accounting Legislation to Commonwealth Countries’, Accounting and Business Research (Autumn), pp. 353–357.

Willmott, H. (1986) ‘Organising the Profession: A Theoretical and Historical Examination of the Development of the Major Accountancy Bodies in the UK’, Accounting, Organisations and Society, Vol. XI, No. 6, pp. 555–580.

Wolff, H. (1910) People’s Bank: A Record of Social and Economic Success. London: P.S. King.

Yayla, H. (2011) ‘Operating Regimes of the Government: Accounting and Accountability Changes in the Sultan Süleyman Waqf of the Ottoman Empire (the 1826 experience)’, Accounting History, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 5–34.

Zeff, S. (1971) Forging Accounting Principles in Five Countries: A History and Analysis of Trends. Illinois: Stipes Publishing Company.

How to Cite

“Accounting in Cyprus During Late Ottoman and Early British Rule, 1840 to 1918”. 2017. Cyprus Review 26 (2): 33-55. https://www.cyprusreview.org/index.php/cr/article/view/94.