This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
EVERY person having occasion to keep an account with others, is greatly benefited by a knowledge of book-keeping. There are two systems of keeping books in use: one known as SiNGle Entry; the other, as Double Entry.
In this chapter it is the design to give simply an outline of Single Entry, a method of keeping books which answers every purpose with the majority of people, besides being a system so plain and simple as to be readily comprehended.
The books used in Single Entry are generally a Day-book, in which are recorded each day's sale of goods, or labor performed, and money, service, or goods received; and a Ledger, in which the sum total of each transaction is put in its proper place, so arranged as to show, on a brief examination, how the account stands. These books, of different sizes, may be found at the bookstores; though, in case of necessity, they can easily be made with a few sheets of foolscap paper, ruled as hereafter shown.
Persons having many dealings with customers should use a Daybook, in which is written each transaction; these being afterwards transferred to the Ledger. Where, however, accounts are few, the account may be made complete in the Ledger, as shown in several forms on the following page.
In making charges in a book and giving credit, it is necessary to keep clearly in mind whether the person of whom we write gives or receives. I f the individual gives he is a creditor, which is designated by the abbreviation, Cr. If the person receives, he is a Debtor, the sign for which is Dr. In the passage from the creditor to the debtor of any article, we get the word "To," with which the creditor commences the account. In the reception by a debtor of an article from a creditor, we get the word "By."
The following forms show the manner of keeping an account by Arthur Williams, a merchant, with Chas. B. Strong, a farmer, who buys goods and settles his bills, usually, at the end of every month; in the meantime taking to the store various kinds of produce, for which the merchant gives credit according to the market value. Mr. Williams keeps two books, a Day-book and Ledger.
Remarks Concerning the Ledger.
As will be seen by the example In the Ledger, the first column contains months; second, day of the month; third, "To D" means To Day-book. In the fourth column, the 14, 38, and 80 refer to the No. of the page in the Day-book which by reference fully explains the transaction. The fifth and sixth columns contain the totals of each purchase or sale as recorded in the Day-book. The Ledger should have an index in the first part which, under the head of S, will contain "Strong, Chas. B.," opposite which is the number 66, showing that Strong's account may be found on page 66 of the Ledger. When the account is balanced and closed, a sloping line is drawn down the space containing the least writing and double lines are made beneath the totals, indicating that the account is "closed."
In the foregoing example only Chas. B. Strong's account is shown on a page of the Day-book. This is, however, a long book usually, each page being of sufficient length to contain the accounts of several customers. At the top of each page, the day of the week, day of the month, and year, should always be written. If the day's entries commence in the middle of the page, write the day of the week and day of the month distinctly above the first, and thus at the beginning of each day's entries.
"When the total of the entry on the Day-book is transferred to the Ledger, the No. of the page in the Ledger where the account is kept, is placed beside the entry in the Day-book, which shows that the account has been "posted" to the Ledger.
importance of Book-Keeping.
Strange as it may seem, there are but very few people who can keep the simplest form of account correctly. Most individuals are evidently deterred from learning correct forms, from the supposition that the art of book-keeping is difficult to master. The fact is, however, all the bookkeeping necessary to be understood by people having few accounts, is very easily learned, as will be seen by studying, for a little time, the accompanying forms.
The importance of this knowledge cannot be over-estimated.
who would be prosperous keeps his books in such a manner, that he can tell at a glance what product is most profitable to raise, what he owes, and what is due him from any source.
who keeps himself free from litigation, and conducts his business successfully, has his dealings all clearly expressed in his accounts, and settles with his customers, if possible, once a month.
of an association, whose accounts are clear, explicit, and correct, is justly appreciated for the evident honesty of the financial exhibit, and is selected for other places of responsibility and trust.
who avoids misunderstandings with her servants, has her account written so clearly that no mistake is made, and no ill feeling is thus engendered in her settlements.
in short, who have occasion to keep accounts with others, should have a plain condensed form, which will show at a glance how the account stands.