Accounting systems and state owned entities definition in the second half of the nineteenth century: the meaningful contributions from Villa, Cerboni and Besta The paper aims to rediscover the value added produced by the so-called "precursors" of the "Economia Aziendale" studies on the evolution of public administration accounting studies, in the period between the first of the three Independence Wars (the second half of the nineteenth century) and the consolidation of the Italian unitary state (first decade of the twentieth century). The rediscovery of these contributions, as will be seen, lays itself open to wide-ranging reflections about the current studies in management, organization and accounting in public sector. To this end, we will analyze the most relevant theoretical contributions made by Francesco Villa, Giuseppe Cerboni and Fabio Besta. Often the theorization of the concept of public entity emerges mainly as a logical consequence of the theories set out by the authors. The authors analyzed have had the privilege to communicate directly with politics and administration. Hence, their theories were applied in practice. What we learnt from that times? Given that, the main theme of this paper is to outline what of those events can be useful in the current situation in the public sector where, in a world more complex than that, public entities need additional efforts to give their positive contribution to the economy. At the end, we are waiting for answers capable to produce an improvement in the condition in which the production processes are played.
Keywords: Public sector accounting, financial accountability, Economia aziendale, public governance, public administration, agency theory.