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matter was about being settled, the Solicitor referred to declared he had not received the £100, as he could find no note of its having been paid to him. At length, however, after considerable research, he found a memorandum of its receipt, in his own handwriting, on a scrap of paper, which, of course, put an end to the difficulty.] Other Solicitors defer making entries at the proper time, of business done, and, instead thereof, trust to the papers and letters and loose memoranda made thereon, from which, when required, they make out their bills. Such a mode of keeping accounts must surely be very uncomfortable and unsatisfactory ; besides which, it is an undoubted fact, proved from extensive experience, that a great deal is lost, as regards proper charges, by neglecting to keep a copious diary, and in not making entries of business done, from time to time, as it occurs.
Such a want of proper system, in regard to accounts, ought not to exist amongst those who are connected with so much of the business of this country, and of “ this great city, which is the centre of the wealth and enterprise of the world, and which regulates the commercial affairs of almost every country on the face of the earth.”
We often see advertisements by clerks seeking situations, who state that they “can keep the usual books ;” but it is impossible for them to conjecture what the usual books, or want of books, may be, in an office in which they have not yet been engaged, as almost every establishment has a system in some respects different from others : and when a certain mode of procedure has been adhered to for any length of time, it is difficult and inconvenient, amidst the hurry of business, to effect any considerable change, even for the better, and such a state of things will be likely to continue until that attention and consideration are bestowed on the subject which its importance deserves.
Various works have already, from time to time, been written on the subject of book-keeping ; but as greater attention seems now to be given to the matter than formerly, I have thought it right to submit the present simple and concise system to the Profession, with the hope that it may be of some service. I beg to add, that I can speak to the efficiency of the system from thirty years experience and superintendence.
Although primarily intended for the Legal Profession, a similar plan of book-keeping is suitable, in its leading features, for other parties also. Almost all lines of business, however, require certain variations in the mode of keeping their accounts.
Accounts being generally considered "a dry subject,” I have prefixed and appended certain observations and notes, which may perhaps tend to make the matter more interesting As was, however, said by Euclid to Ptolemy, long since, (with reference to “ learning” in general) “there is no royal road to learning” bookkeeping, and those who would master its difficulties, and gain a proper knowledge thereof, must apply themselves thereto with patient thought and painstaking assiduity
and perseverance. It is not, however, the existence of difficulties, but the “want of application to the subject,” that hinders proficiency therein, as has been lately testified by the Examiners connected with the Society of Arts, in the examinations held by them,
with reference to this branch of learning. · The system of book-keeping contained in this work will be found, on examination, to be the simplest and most suitable yet brought forward for the use of the Profession.
It cannot, however, be expected that, in houses where another particular system has long been adhered to, that system would be readily changed ; but it may be hoped, with respect to the younger members of the Profession, on their joining its ranks, that the following system (being so concise and simple, and coupled with the notes appended) will be of considerable service, especially now that the subject is receiving so much more attention than formerly.
Indeed, I would venture to suggest that a knowledge of arithmetic and book-keeping should form part of the examination of articled clerks. These subjects are scarcely less important, and certainly far more useful, to the Profession than classical learning. It seems now to be admitted, on all hands, as an axiom, that “the prosperity of a Solicitor's office depends on good bookkeeping, and attention to bills of costs." These remarks, however, are not meant in derogation of the value of classical learning, which undoubtedly gives its possessor a confidence and position in society which scarcely anything else can supply. I would merely
add this self-evident proposition, viz., that the more varied and extensive the acquirements are which it is considered the members of a particular class should possess, the higher will be the standard of excellence to be attained.
SOME OBSERVATIONS ON SINGLE AND DOUBLE ENTRY AND THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF BOOK-KEEPING.
Book-keeping is the art of recording and classifying the transactions of persons engaged in business, and of keeping accounts of their property and debts.
In book-keeping by single entry, each item in the Ledger is entered only once, to some particular account, hence the term “single” entry. In “ double” entry each item is posted to two different accounts in the Ledger, that is to say, an item entered to the debit of one account in the Ledger, is entered to the credit of some other account therein, and vice versa, so that the accounts should always balance, that is, the debits and credits of all the accounts taken together should be equal in amount. Their correctness is, from time to time, ascertained by what is called a “ trial balance,” in which all the debits are put in one column and all the credits in another, and when the amounts of both columns are equal, the accounts are considered correct.
Single entry is suitable for professional men, retail dealers, tradesmen, manufacturers, &c.
Double entry is specially applicable to merchants.
Various books are used according to the necessities of the business carried on.
In single entry, the Day Book, Cash Book and Ledger are the three principal books.
In double entry, the chief books are the Waste Book, Journal and Ledger. The waste book is now, however, generally subdivided into various books, such as the day