The Australian Small Business Blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What is the oldest profession?

by Dr. Greg Chapman

The answer to the question of what is the oldest profession may not be what you think. One way of discovering the answer to this question is to and the name of the first person mentioned in recorded history. This person would have had some standing in their community and the record must have handsome value for it to have been written down in the first place and to have been preserved for thousands of years.

You might believe that this would be about the life of a famous king, the glories of a successful general, or even a highly popular poet whose rhymes where repeated over generations. But you would be wrong.

Yuval Noah Harari, in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, found the oldest recorded name was on a 5000 year old tablet from Mesopotamia. It is a receipt for shipments of barley, signedwith the name Kushim. Not heard of him? It’s believed the person recording this transaction was an accountant.

Even in ancient times people traded goods with each other, and records had to be kept. What was traded and what was owed and payments made.

So stand up and be proud accountants, you are the oldest profession!

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

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