Recent work has shown that cost accounting has been an important part of government financial management since at least the turn of the 20th century (Rivenbark, 2005; Williams, 2004). The research has shown that at different periods, it has been important for budgeting, accounting, and performance measurement. In spite of its historical significance, it has never been a completely unifying financial management tool that some have projected it to be (Premchand, 2006). This chapter looks to contextualize cost accounting from the lens of history and to see what cost accounting tools or techniques developed during different periods. It also seeks to understand why cost accounting has struggled to live up to its potential to support various aspects of government financial management.