This section is from the "Practical Banking" book, by Albert S. Bolles.
The voucher or document given by the banks where we deposit is in the pass-book entries; it is made immediately in the case of deposits, but in checks not till the end of the month, when the pass-book is balanced. The lines of our specimen page of the daily cash book will be numbered, and each column forming it will be lettered, and in our explanation the two supporting vouchers of each line will be given in succession.
The intermediate transfers or interchanges between departments of the bank, which occupy so large an amount of the space of the daily cash book, do not, as a rule, go beyond its pages. The inner columns which we have spoken of as representing the relations of the institution to the public, contain all that enters into the general books of the bank, and, with the exception of the entries "deposits received," and "drafts paid," every item in these inner columns is supported by a voucher. These form two series, called the "general vouchers for receipts" and the "general vouchers for payments." Each series is numbered consecutively, but the vouchers for payments form two series. For the sake of convenience, vouchers relating to expense, either of management or of the banking premises, are numbered from 1 to 1,000, repeating these numbers when the thousand has been reached. The remaining vouchers for payment are numbered from 1,000 upward. Upon reaching No. 2,000, the numbers recommence at 1,001. The reason for this is that the series with smaller numbers or expense vouchers are subjected to a special analysis in a book called the "Expense Book," and it is therefore preferable to keep them, together. These two series of general vouchers for receipts and payments are the basis of all further records. No entries are made from book to book, but always from the voucher to the book, the fact of such record taking place being noted on the back of the voucher. Thus, a voucher for expenditures on real estate other than the banking house is recorded in the daily cash book, in the monthly cash book, under the heading "real estate," in the real estate ledger, under the head of the particular property, and in the general ledger, under the account of "real estate." These four entries are made each direct from the voucher. The letter "D" on the back of the voucher indicates that it has been transcribed in the daily cash book; the letter "M" that it has been entered in the monthly cash book; and the folio of the real estate ledger and of the general ledger are also noted on the back. These four entries must correspond, and any discrepancy between them will be detected by the operation of the trial balance.
The practice of requiring signed vouchers for payments of money has long been an established rule of mercantile practice, but strange to say, where value of some other kind is paid or given, and money received, it has not usually been customary to insist upon a voucher. In this bank the principle is rigorously carried out that in every transaction involving an interchange of values, there shall be a corresponding interchange of documentary evidence between the parties.*
As the entire accountability of the bank rests upon these documents, so their arrangement in convenient form for examination and reference is of importance. The vouchers for each month are arranged in two series—the receipts and the payments, and each of these has a list, the form of which is printed on strong manilla paper. The inside of the list of vouchers for cash payments contains, first, a certificate from the auditing committee that they have examined all the vouchers mentioned in the list below, amounting to $ , and have passed the same as correct. The committee not only signs this, but one of its members marks, with his initial or otherwise, each particular voucher, in order to prevent its being again presented. When the examination is completed, this list serves as a wrapper or jacket, within which the vouchers themselves are tied up. On the outside of the wrapper is a printed form, giving the amount as classified for posting aggregates to the general ledger. The total of this outside list will be the same figures as the total of the numerical list verified by the committee, but it gives simply the aggregate to be charged to each ledger account. For example, the list inside may contain a number of vouchers for money loaned on mortgage. The classified list will simply state—" Mortgages, $ ." These lists, on the outside of the bundles of vouchers constitute what might be called a grand voucher, which authorizes the secretary to record the transactions in bulk.
An examiner would not, for the great mass of transactions, require any books in order to ascertain the past history of the institution since this method has been in practice. He would simply be handed a number of bundles of vouchers—two for each month— with the authenticated list on the inside of the wrapper and the classified list on the outside, and from these he could himself make up an authenticated history of all the substantial transactions of the bank during the period covered. These are the real records of the bank. All the books are simply transcripts in various convenient and ingenious forms, in which the order of the vouchers is changed for obtaining special results. The vouchers are the history—the books are philosophical combinations of, and deductions from, the facts.
* See Lecture on Documents as Related to Accounts, published in The Bookkeeper, No. 58.