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Ten to Fifty Dollars.--Accounts of this size may be handled either as given above or through the local bank. Where parties are good but slow, bank methods are usually satisfactory.
Fifty to One Hundred Dollars. To get immediate results turn over to a collector, preferably one connected with or vouched for by the house. Where a debtor is in danger of becoming insolvent a bank or attorney will often protect local creditors against enforcement of claims of an outside house. A collector may often make a settlement by being on the ground and obtaining security and so protect his house from an assignment or failure of the debtor.
Upwards of One Hundred Dollars.-Collections of this size and importance require personal attention. If the debtor is within a reasonable distance, by telephoning the correspondent of the house or a bank, information can be obtained, often more valuable than would be written, and the condition of the debtor can be judged accordingly, and the campaign mapped out to conform to conditions reported. A rule in all collections should be to get the cash-if not, then unquestionable security, security that may be banked at not to exceed 10 per cent discount.
City collections are materially different from country collections, as the percentage of losses is much larger, from removals and the better facilities afforded the dishonest or careless to avoid their obligations. An energetic and tactful collector will affect the largest share of city collections when the amounts are small. When large collections come slow, a careful investigation should be made to determine the cause..
Suit.—Suit as a rule is not advisable, except in certain cases, as when a debtor has the reputation of not paying back accounts except when sued; when a debtor has property which may be reached by an attachment, etc.
BOOKKEEPING Bookkeeping is the art of making a systematic record of business transactions, so as to exhibit the resources and liabilities of the business. The system in use in a business, the business itself or more often the adaptation of the method of accounting to the requirements of the business, determine kind and number of books used. When but a single book is used, it is usually a simple book, similar in form to the common day-book, in which are set down in the order of their happening such transactions as are necessarily recorded. As it is not to advantage to bulk too many accounts in one book, the cash-book, purchase-book and sales-book are often used together. The principal book of accounts is the ledger, it showing in classified form all the records of the original books of entry.
Systems of Bookkeeping.-Two systems of bookkeeping are in use, single entry and double entry.
Single entry is most commonly used by retail merchants and other similar tradesmen. It keeps no account of property, personal accounts alone being shown in the ledger, which, consequently balances only when the business is closed out. Saving in labor over double entry, it furnishes fewer checks against error. One of its fatal objections for some classes of business is the lack of detailed information shown regarding the sources of gain or loss. This information, as clearly exhibited by the double-entry balance-sheet is often an absolute essential in the determination of profit. In single entry, to determine capital at any time, the inventory of resources and liabilities is taken; the difference between the totals indicating the capital. The difference between present and former capital gives the loss or gain.
Double entry bookkeeping requires that every transaction be entered twice, first on the debtor side of one or more accounts, and second, on the creditor side, thus keeping the ledger in balance perpetually.
Debit and Credit.—The first law of double entry is that every debit amount in one account must have a corresponding credit amount in some other account, and vice versa. The rule of debits and credits may be thus summarized:
(1) Debit that which into the possession of the busness and costs value. (2) Credit that which goes out of the possession of the business and produces value.
Rules for Journalizing.-Besides the above general rules the following specific ones may be given:
The proprietor is debited: (1) For withdrawals from the business for personal use; (2) for liabilities assumed by the business; (3) for net loss when the books are closed. He is credited (1) For all investments in the business; (2) for net gain when the books are closed.
Property is debited, under its given name, when it comes into possession of the business. It is credited, under its given name when the busines parts with it.
Persons are debited (1) when they get into our debt; (2) when we get out of their debt and are credited: (1) When we get into their debt and (2) when they get out of our debt.
Expense account, including rent, salaries, insurance, etc., is debited for money paid out to carry on the business and credited for the proceeds of the sale of any item previously debited to expense account.
Bills receivable are debited when received by the business and credited when the business parts with them.
Bills payable are debited when redeemed by the business and credited when issued by the business.
Allowances, as interest, discount, collections, etc., are debited under their given names, when allowed to us by others, and similarly credited when allowed by others to us.
Trial Balance.—The taking of a trial balance frequently causes the student or bookkeeper a great deal of waste time, such mistakes commonly arising from errors in posting, though there is chance for an infinite variety of mistakes to arise. The following rules are of use in tracing errors: . Go over the additions of the trial balance.
Go over all additions of the ledger accounts. · If not located, check your posting as follows: Trace each item from the journal to the ledger, and if found to be correct, place a check mark at the left of the first money column in the journal and at the left of each date column in the ledger.
Find the exact amount of error; if ten or some power of ten, the error is usually in addition.
If the amount is exactly the same as some amount in the journal, the error is probably with that amount.
If the amount of error is divisible by nine, the error is probably in transposition of figures.
If dollars have been written as cents or vice versa, dividing the difference by 9, 99, or 999, respectively, will locate a figure which has been misplaced one, two or three orders to the right or left.
Closing Set of Books. Before attempting to close a set of books, a correct trial balance must be had, and a statement of the business should be made out. The state ment of the business will give the figures to be used in closing the ledger accounts, and by its use all errors will be avoided. The following definition should be kept in mind:
Inventories show the value of the goods and property remaining on hand.
Non-speculative accounts are those on which we do not directly gain or lose. They are cash, personal bills, payable and bills receivable.
Speculative accounts are those whose nature it is to produce gain or loss. Merchandise, expense, and like accounts belong to this class.
If the work of closing a set of books is performed in the following order, there will never be any trouble as to the result:
1. Enter inventories, in red ink, on the credit side of the accounts to which they belong.
2. Close all speculative accounts to loss-and-gain account.
3. Close loss-and-gain account to proprietor's account.
4. Rule all accounts that balance.
5. Bring down all inventories and the balance of the proprietor's account.
A trial balance of the ledger at this point should ex. actly agree with the resource and liability division of the statement of the business.
The reason for taking a trial balance at this time is that we may be sure that the books are in balance before we put any new business on them. For, when we next attempt to take a trial balance, and it does not balance, we would naturally look for the error in the work of the month, when, quite likely, it would be in the closing of the accounts or in the bringing down of the balances, which a trial balance as just suggested would have brought to light and all trouble from such an error have been saved.
When a new business period is to be begun and the old books used, no opening entry is necessary, as all the accounts that would appear in such an entry are already on the books.
PRICE MARKS The use of a set of secret marks with which to mark the price of goods is in universal use. As a rule the buying price only is marked in these characters, the selling price usually being in plain figures.
Arbitrary signs are sometimes taken to designate the numerals, but as a usual thing a keyword is used, the letters of which stand for the numerals. Following are examples:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
V A N DER BIL T In a similar way "MAKEPROFIT,” “CALEBSMITH,” or “CHELMSFORD,” could be used. A repeater is sometimes used instead of writing a character twice.
INVESTMENTS Those having money to invest may be classed in three groups: First, those persons who wish absolute safety of principal, permanency of investment, and regu. larity in the payment of dividends; second, those persons who are willing to take some risk, looking to a higher dividend rate, and other incidental benefits, such as business association with other stockholders, gain of knowledge of corporation affairs, etc., to indemnify them for lack of absolute security of the principal; third, those having a comparatively small amount for investment and willing to risk their money in concerns openly promoted for the purpose of enriching the backers if