Inasmuch as in a properly designed system the number of accounts in the general ledger is small compared with the total number of accounts, a bound book can often be conveniently used. In the case of a large concern it is, however, usually advisable to use a loose-leaf book, particularly as certain accounts contain numerous items and it is almost impossible to predict how many folios they will cover.
The loose-leaf ledger is no more likely to lead to errors of carelessness than a bound book, and any bookkeeper capable of wilfully falsifying his books could do so with almost equal ease under either system. In many offices efficient safeguards can be provided by a properly arranged system of internal checking, the ledgers and cash books being kept by different bookkeepers who are occasionally changed from one book to another. An additional security is furnished when each sheet is initialed by an officer of the concern at the time the account is opened, and the rule enforced that no sheet may be removed until again initialed. If the books are subject to the audit of an accountant, the periodic initialing of balances and checking of items render any substitution still more difficult.
Whichever style of book is chosen, the ledger shown in
Form 7, which differs somewhat from that generally used, is strongly recommended. This form of ledger greatly aids in the preparation of monthly trial balances, and also facilitates the analysis of any account at any time.
In real estate accounts particularly, it is often desirable to find out how the monthly sales of some one subdivision have been running during a given period, and a glance at such a ledger shows this without further calculation. In a concern doing a large business, there is frequently a very short interval between the closing of the books and the preparation of the annual report, while at the same time there is an unusual amount of work in connection with the calculation of realized profits. Every hour saved in such work is of great value, and the advantages of this form of ledger are then manifest.
Form 7. General Ledger.