We don't know exactly when Peter became an accountant but from his children's baptism records, he was certainly describing himself as such from 1834 onwards.
Double entry bookkeeping began in 14th century Italy and the fundamental principals haven't changed much since then. Indeed, accountancy wasn't considered a profession until Queen Victoria granted a royal charter to the Institute of Accountants in Glasgow in 1854. Even then, it was very minor compared to other recognised professions. Charles Booth, who I have written about in connection with his survey of the London streets, analysed the 1851 - 1871 census to gauge the growth in middle class occupations. Although Law, Medicine and Religion were given their own classifications, accountancy was included in "Commerce : clerks, accountants, bankers". An accountant was probably a glorified bookkeeper in those days.
William Pitt the Younger had introduced a form of income tax in 1799 to help pay for the war with Napoleon. At first the tax was highly unpopular and was widely evaded, particularly among merchants and manufacturers. It was thought to be too intrusive into people's private financial circumstances. In time, though, the tax came to be accepted as a vital price for winning the war against France and, indeed, many regarded paying tax as a patriotic duty. However, following the end of the Napoleonic War in 1815, the public mood of compliance with income tax rapidly evaporated. It was denounced as 'repugnant' and in 1816 the government was narrowly defeated on the issue and was forced to abandon it.
In 1842, Sir Robert Peel re-introduced income tax to help pay for ongoing government expenditure. It was always intended to be a temporary tax. However, increasing costs and the Crimean War of 1853-56 made this an increasingly remote prospect. In 1858, the then Chancellor, Benjamin Disraeli, described income tax as 'unjust, unequal and inquisitorial' and 'to continue for a limited time on the distinct understanding that it should ultimately be repealed'. This never happened !
- good hand writing
- been careful, steady and industrious
- a knowledge of double entry bookkeeping
- a respectable appearance and obliging disposition
- proven integrity and sobriety, and
- been willing to carry out other office duties
None of the adverts I found actually required the ability to add up or spell ..... but then, neither can the modern accountancy student !