The balance sheets of transportation companies, banks, trust companies, insurance companies, etc., are regulated by statute or by custom, and need not be considered here. In all balance sheets, however, it is desirable that some uniformity of purpose, if not of arrangement, be observed.
Many different orders of procedure have been laid down for the items of the balance sheet and, unfortunately, there is no Herald's College clothed with authority to decide which shall prevail. The form given on pages 278, 279 is based upon those principles which appear to the writer to be the most strongly founded.
Regarding the assets, which, as a rule, are of a more varied nature than the liabilities, the weight of practice prescribes that the arrangement be based either upon the importance or the liquidity of the various items.
If we arrange in order of liquidity, "Cash" will head the list; yet there are few cases in which the cash appearing on the balance sheet is important as compared with other items. Similar conditions are likely to exist as to other quick assets, as, for example, "Bills Receivable," the final result being that if the items are marshalled in order of liquidity, the more important items may be found scattered throughout the statement instead of being brought together. To obviate this, the order of importance is preferable and is here adopted.
In doing so, however, it must not be forgotten that the quick assets should be clearly shown by themselves, for it is frequently in them that the banker may have his chief or only interest. These can be shown as indicated on pages 278, 279, without interfering in any way with the main arrangement.