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Several specimens of the mode of entering up the Ledger accounts are herewith given, (though not in double columns). The index to the Ledger, may, for conciseness' sake, be supposed to be, so far, the same as that prefixed to the Day Book, (to which I would, therefore, beg to refer), with the additional names mentioned at the commencement of the Ledger.
The Solicitors keeping the present supposed set of books may be considered to be Messrs. Reynolds and Thrupp, whose names are mentioned in the index to the Ledger.
Whatever business they would transact for themselves, payments only, of course, in respect thereof, would be entered in the Day Book. Joint and separate accounts appear in the Ledger, under their names.
Separate accounts also are entered for each of the Clerks, as well as for Counsel, Stationer, and Laundress. Also an account for general office payments.
Specimens of “ Profit and Loss” and “Balance” Accounts, and “ Trial Balance,” are given.
The “ Trial Balance" is the readiest mode of ascertaining the amount available for private use, as profits,
All that is required is simply to ascertain the exact balance at the bankers (after examining the bankers book to see that all the items on each side are entered up), then to deduct the moneys in hand, (if any), belonging to other parties; the balance will show how much may be drawn for use -leaving, of course, what is sufficient for the purpose of business.
Separate Account Books should be kept in respect to Executorships and Trusteeships, and in connection with the receipt of the rents and management of large estates, and the moneys should be placed to separate accounts at the bankers, if not at once paid over to the parties.
As a general rule, however, all moneys received and paid, passing through the Solicitor's hands, should be entered both in the Cash Book and Ledger. The cheques drawn on the “ Separate Accounts” need not
at any time.
be so entered. They should be entered only in the separate account books connected with the executorships, &c.
The Ledger accounts should not be too much crowded.
Very often bills are payable by other parties than the client on whose behalf the business is transacted. In such cases it is proper to enter the bill in the client's account in the Ledger, though this is not always done, but may be entered in the name of the party liable to pay the amount.
When business is done by an agent, the items contained in his account current should be entered in the Ledger (but not in the Cash Book) of the principal, under their
heads. It is much better to keep separate books as to private property, rather than to mix matters connected therewith in the books relating to business.
The amount of capital with which business is carried on, should properly be allowed to remain the same, if business require it, because, in such a case, if all or any part of it be withdrawn, it necessarily turns an equal amount of profits into capital, and hinders those profits from being so soon available as they otherwise would be ; as no business can be properly carried on without capital. The income derived from business forms, generally, very good interest on the capital used therein. If, however, the capital be withdrawn, when sufficieni profits have been received, it is, of course, clear that all future income must consist of profits only.
The mode of " Heading" the accounts in the Ledger is shown. When, however, an account is made up and copied for delivery to the party, the heading of the copy is different from that in the Ledger. For instance, instead of “Dr. Jacob Ingoldsby, Esq.Per Contra. Cr.," as in the Ledger, the heading of the account would be “Dr. Jacob Ingoldsby, Esq., in account with Reynolds and Thrupp [the Solicitors from whose Ledger the account is copied], Cr."
In some instances it may be found advantageous to head an account with the title of a cause, a particular trust, or an estate ; and it may also sometimes be suitable to have separate accounts for different matters transacted for the same client.
In regard to rents received and paid over, for a client, the total amounts may be entered, with a reference to a rental, or, otherwise, each rent may be shown in the Cash Book and Ledger.
“ Balancing” is the key to the proper arrangement of every ledger account ; and, therefore, whenever an item is placed on one side of an account, the question should be constantly present, whether or not a corresponding or relative item is required on the other side, so as that the result, or final balance of the account, shall be correct.
In some cases it is necessary to transfer a sum from one account to another.
Examples illustrative of these cases, and of Agency Accounts, are given.
Profit and Loss and Balance Accounts are considered “Extra Accounts,” being made up from the others, and only used to show the state of the business, with reference to its success, or otherwise, and the amount of assets. The “ Trial Balance” may be resorted to and made out, at any moment, for ascertaining the available sum in hand.
As regards Profits, it is evidently incorrect to consider “ Business done,” or “ Bills delivered," as profits. It is only in regard to “ Bills received” that profits can properly apply.
When an account is closed, it should be added up on both sides. If, when an account is delivered, any balance remain, it should be brought down, for the commencement of the next account.
It is advisable always to keep the Ledger posted up from the Cash Book as closely as possible, else, if an account be required in a hurry, there is a possibility of items being omitted.
It is also recommended that both the Cash Book
and Ledger be written and entered up by the same person, so as to avoid the unseemliness of different handswriting, and for other reasons.
The size of the Ledger had better be either a large or small folio, according to the extent of business.
SUBSIDIARY BOOKS-DIARIES. It is hardly necessary to say anything further respecting a Diary than that it should be attentively kept, and that in it should be entered short heads and memoranda of the business transacted, as it occurs, which should, every day if possible, be entered more at length, in the Bill Book, in the mode already specified.
Each partner, and every clerk who transacts any portion of the business, should keep a Diary.
PETTY CASH BOOK. This is an important little book, and is, in fact (with the “ Weekly Statements ”) an epitome of the Cash Book and of the Bankers Book, and saves the necessity of keeping a duplicate of the Bankers Book, by which circumstance much time is saved. The mode of keeping it is similar to the Cash Book, but more concentrated. On the left hand side are entered all sums received, and on the right hand side all sums paid, either to the bankers, to the other clerks, or otherwise, out of the petty cash received, and the balance in hand is carried forward at the end of every week.
A “weekly statement” should be appended at the end of each week's account of the Petty Cash Book, by adding to the balance at the bankers all the sums paid in during the week, and deducting therefrom all the cheques drawn during the same period, adding to the balance the petty cash in the hands of the clerks, the result being (if the accounts be correct) equal to the balance of the Cash Book.
Examples of the mode of keeping the Petty Cash Book and of making out the weekly statements are given, which it is hoped will appear sufficiently clear.
It should be remarked, that sums received and paid away at once, are entered on both sides of the Cash Book only, and not in the Petty Cash Book, as they do not influence the balance. Also, of the cheques drawn, only those for petty cash are entered in the Petty Cash Book, as they only affect the balance thereof. The other cheques drawn are only entered on the “paid” or Cr. side of the Cash Book, they affecting the balance of that book. All sums paid into the bankers and all cheques drawn must, however, be noticed in the weekly statement.
The Bankers Book should be, from time to time, examined, ticking off the items on each side, to see that it agrees with the weekly statements.
The Petty Cash Book is the cashier's or book-keeper's Disbursement Book. The other Disbursement Books are kept by those others of the clerks whose duties require them to make constant payments in connection with the business transacted by them. The nature and use of these books explain sufficiently the mode in which they should be kept ; but a specimen is given, to make their shape more apparent.
It is considered far more preferable to have all the disbursements entered in the Cash Book, instead of merely entering therein the cheques drawn for petty cash ; and, therefore, the items of payment in the Disbursement Books should be entered daily into the Cash Book, as already suggested, and a straight line should be drawn downwards across the items in the Disbursement Books, when so entered up, to indicate the fact of the entry.
The names of other Subsidiary Books explain the purposes for which they are used, and the mode in which they are kept, such as the “ Call Book,” “Cause Book,” Præcipe Book," " Letter Book," " Let