. . many methods of "keeping the books" were used. But, in the 15-century the burgeoning commerce of Florence and Venice demanded a unified and systematic approach. The double-entry system was created and codified to meet the need. Its design in 1494 is attributed to Luca Bartolomes Paciolli - at about the time of Columbus's epic crossing of the Atlantic Ocean! The principles of the system are in use today.
The purpose of bookkeeping and accounting was to provide Italian merchants information. To give them clarity and control over their many transactions, and confidence in their financial positions for future trading.
Accounting software was developed and refined after the widespread adoption of personal computers in the last quarter of the last century. Software removed the enormous manual chore of data entry into journals and ledgers.
Today, the purpose of bookkeeping & accounting is the same as it was 500 years ago:
To provide usable information.
Bookkeeping and accounting is data analysis, with the results presented on financial statements. It was data analysis in 1494 before data analysis was invented! Today the process is essentially the same, but for the intervention of computers.
And, by the way, for a time Paciolli lived with Leonardo da Vinci to whom he taught mathematics.
In the Beginning . .