We shall now point out some of the advantages of the horizontal system of keeping the Waste-Books.
First. As all the receipts and payments of money, i.e. coin, are entered individually in the Received and Paid-Waste-Books, and the amounts added together, it will not be necessary that these sums be copied individually into the Money-Book. The total amount only of each column is entered in the Money-Book at the close of the day's business, and the Money-Book is balanced. Thus, all the time employed in making the entries individually in the Money-Book is saved.
Secondly. As all the credits to current accounts are added together in the Received-Waste-Book, it is not necessary they should be entered individually in the Day-Book.
They can be individually posted direct into the Ledger, and the total only be entered in the Day-Book. The same remark will apply to the Paid-Waste-Book. This is another saving of time and labour.
Thirdly. Every Waste-Book, as we have already intimated, is a check upon itself. We have spoken of a Received-Waste-Book, and a Paid-Waste-Book, as though a bank had but one-and in small banks this is the case. But in large banks, there are seven or eight cashiers or more, each having a Received-Waste-Book and a Paid-Waste-Book for the town department, and another Received-Waste-Book and Paid-Waste-Book for the country department, with a Supplementary-Received-Waste-Book, and a Supplementary-Paid-Waste-Book, and a Money-Book besides. Now, it is a great advantage to have the means of keeping all these books free from errors during the day, and to know at night that they are all correct. If the "Balance" be wrong, the field of inquiry is thus very much limited, and the time that would otherwise be employed in checking the Waste-Books is devoted to the examination of the other books of the bank.
Fourthly. This plan gives the means of checking separately those items that have a column appropriated to them. Take, for example, the column of bank notes. If we add to the amount of bank notes on hand last night the amount received to-day, and deduct the amount paid away, the remainder should be the amount on hand tonight. When this is the case the bank notes are right. In the same way we may check the money columns, the clearing columns, etc. Thus, when the trial balance is wrong, we can check these items separately, and thus more readily discover the error. Without this expedient we should have to "mark off" the whole business of the day.
It will be observed that the above Waste-Books refer only to receipts and payments on current accounts. All other receipts and payments are entered in a Supplemen-tary-Receipt-Book and a Supplementary-Paid-Book. These books are ruled in the same way as the other Waste-Books, and they embody entries in connection with deposit receipts, received or paid, credits or debits to interest accounts, debits to salaries, taxes, incidental accounts, etc. etc. All these items are then entered in the Day-Book, from whence they are posted into the General-Ledger. A book is also provided, usually called a Transfer-Book, in which are entered all the cheques on the bank paid in by other customers, as these merely cause a transfer of the amount from one customer to another.
Books which are designed chiefly as registries or summaries should be kept on the horizontal system. Thus, a London bank which keeps an account with the Bank of England, will have to lodge to its credit notes, gold, silver, post-bills, cheques, dividend warrants, etc.
To keep a registry of this, a book may be opened horizontally-the first column at the left hand being the date; then the articles entered over separate columns, at the top of the page; afterwards a column for the total amount of all these items-then a credit column for the cheques drawn each day-and then the daily balance. If this book be made of such a size as to contain about thirty lines, then each page will contain the transactions of a month. And, by adding up the columns, the figures at the bottom of the page will show the separate amounts of notes, gold, silver, etc, paid into the Bank of England in the course of a month. By comparing the different pages, it will be seen on what months the largest or the smallest sums are paid into the bank.
In constructing Tables it is also best to follow the horizontal system. Thus, to keep a record of the weekly returns of the Bank of England, it is best to arrange the items into columns, with the heading at the top of each column-the first column containing the dates of the several returns. It will then he easy to trace the fluctuations in any one item; such, for instance, as the "Public Deposits," "the Private Deposits," "the Rest." etc. etc. Some of the Returns published in the Appendix to the Parliamentary Evidence of 1847 have been arranged on this principle.
We will now notice some further improvements that have sometimes been adopted by large banks in their system of book-keeping. The great object of all these improvements is, as we have already mentioned, either to save time directly, in making the entries, or indirectly, by preventing or discovering errors. These are-
1. The abolition of the Discount-Register. Here the bills are entered at once in the Discount-Ledger, under the names of the respective parties for whom they are discounted; and the total amount of bills discounted each day is entered in the Day-Book from the Interest-Book, which contains the calculations of discount. The only objection to this plan is, that the space in the Discount-Ledger does not admit of so full a description of the bill as is usually given in the Discount-Register. The Bill-Register is also abolished in the same way.
2. The adoption of a Check-Ledger facilitates the discovery of errors, and thus diminishes the time employed in searching for them. Though this book is called a Check-Ledger, it is not kept ledger-wise. It is ruled with a cash column on each side the page. In the column opposite your left hand you enter, from the cheques themselves, all the cheques paid during the day. In the right-hand column you enter, from the Received-Waste-Books, all the credits of the day. When you add up these two columns, they will of course agree with the amounts of the Paid-Waste-Book and the Received-Waste-Book. Thus the accuracy of the Check-Ledger is insured. Now, where the balances of the Current-Account-Ledger are checked every week, you employ the Check-Ledger to test their accuracy in this way. If to the amount of the balances of the Current-Account-Ledger last week, you add the total credits entered in the Check-Ledger during the week, and deduct the total debits entered in the Check-Ledger during the week, the remainder will show the total amount of the balances of the Current-Account-Ledger for the present week. Each Current-Account-Ledger will have a Check-Ledger, and thus each Ledger will be checked separately, so that when the total balance is wrong, it will at once be seen in which Ledger the error has occurred.