Reflections on the Contributions of Sir Charles Rey to the Development of Financial Control and Accountability in the Bechuanaland Protectorate (1929-1937)

Percy M. D. Phatshwane


This essay examines the diaries of Sir Charles F. Rey, Resident Commissioner of Bechuanaland, covering the years 1929-1937. The paper summarizes and reviews the accounting thoughts, activities and practices during a period of British colonial rule in Bechuanaland Protectorate. It illustrates early accounting and budgetary practices, as well as their role in influencing and shaping political and socio-economic development. The paper reveals that nuances of accounting history are contained in literary and archival documents, and that accounting practitioners and researchers should explore these scripts in order to understanding the introduction and development of accounting in the African continent. It further suggests that Sir Charles Rey’s memoirs show him to be a financial manager and administrator of note, albeit one who used financial management techniques to maintain control over natives, European businesses, and colonial administrators. This notwithstanding, this paper encourages researchers and practitioners to locate accounting history from such writings.

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