« PreviousContinue »
An author is moved to say in his preface many things which cannot well be said in the text proper, things which occur to him in justification of the methods employed in the development of the subject and its pedagogical presentation. The varying opinions among teachers of bookkeeping as to how the subject should be taught make it particularly advisable for the author of a bookkeeping text to discuss frankly and informally the motives which have actuated him in writing the book, as well as the methods which he has used in an attempt to accomplish his purpose.
The present text, while nominally a revision of the last edition of Modern Illustrative Bookkeeping, is essentially a new book. Those teachers who were acquainted with the earlier text will recognize certain familiar features, but practically the only material which has been retained is certain routine practice units in which the same transactions and names, but not the figures, have been used. The "story" by means of which life and interest are imparted to bookkeeping routine is entirely new, as is the complete presentation of the fundamental principles on which rests the structure of bookkeeping.
The method followed in the early part of the text is one which it is felt will meet with favor among all teachers who believe in the laying of a broad and secure foundation and in the teaching of sound theory. It has not been the intention of the author to present the subject of bookkeeping at the outset through the medium of a complete set of books. While this may perhaps be a more popular method it undoubtedly conflicts with good pedagogy.
An attempt has been made throughout to impress both teacher and student with the idea that bookkeeping is a study of principles as well as of practices; that the mechanics of the subject should not be the major accomplishment; that while classification of transactions by books is important, such classification is distinctly less important than that in accord with sound bookkeeping theory; that certain fundamental principles and processes must be mastered before the student can undertake intelligently anything in the way of bookkeeping which approaches actual practice.
As a means of presenting these principles at the beginning the ledger method is used. The account may be regarded as the unit in bookkeeping; it illustrates in a graphic manner the theory of opposing debits and credits; it directs the attention of the student to one thing at a time; it emphasizes the point that a knowledge of the account is absolutely essential to the intelligent recording of business transactions; it represents the goal in all bookkeeping.
Following this, the books of original entry are considered in logical sequence. First, the journal is taught through the medium of two or three short practice sets; next, the cash book is introduced; then follow the purchases and sales journals. Each book is studied intensively by means of special drills, prior to its use in conjunction with other books.
No excuse is offered for giving particular attention to the theory and practice of journalizing, and for regarding it as the fundamental process in bookkeeping. The mastery of the journal as the primary book of original entry is an invaluable aid in the introduction of other books of original entry. Such books can then be taught as special journals built up on the principle of the equation between debits and credits. The sales book thus becomes the sales