Chapter VII - Who Should Keep Accounts?

  • 1. An account with crops.
  • 2. Workingman's account.
  • 3. Other records.
  • 4. Copies.

To have any value, business accounts, whether of a great or a small concern, must be accurately kept.

Every man and woman, having unsettled dealings with others, should keep some sort of book accounts.

Storekeepers must keep accounts, and every farmer and mechanic, who would know just what he owns and what he has spent during the past month and year, should keep an exact account of every cent received and paid out.

Lawyers and doctors know how to keep accounts, or if they do not they are neglecting their own side of their professional duties.

Workers, skilled and unskilled, and even the hired girl who is paid by the month, should keep a record of the compensation received, and how the whole or the part has been expended.

No woman can be called a really good housekeeper who does not know to a penny what has become of the money she has received for the upkeep of her establishment, whether she have a score of servants or does all her own work.

In order to keep such accounts, as have just been indicated, it is not necessary to be a trained bookkeeper, or to know anything more about the art than a good common school education gives.

Another word as to the farmer. I am not thinking in this connection of the old-time, deep-in-the-ruts farmer, who never learns and knows nothing to forget, but of that wide-awake producer who tries to keep up with the times.

Not only should the farmer keep cash accounts, the form may be quite simple, but all his business affairs should be kept in the best possible trim.

Personal agreements without some kind of writing to back them up, are dangerous.

Verbal contracts feed the lawyers.

All transactions involving labor or money should be recorded in black and white.

Don't trust to your memory.

Don't rely on the memory of another.


Every farmer should keep an account with each crop he raises and even with every field he cultivates.

Against the farm should be charged--

1. Its annual rental value. 2. What all the labor would cost if hired. 3. New machinery. 4. Wear, tear and repair of old machinery. 5. Taxes. 6. Insurance. 7. Doctor's bills. 8. Interest on mortgage if any. 9. The cost of fodder, fuel, etc., consumed.

The farm should be credited with--

1. The rent. 2. The cost of everything produced and consumed on place. 3. The farm products sold. 4. The stock sold. 5. Increased value of stock. 6. Increased value of property, if any.

Such accounts you say will cause trouble; well, you cannot do anything of value without trouble. The question is will the effort pay? Those who keep such accounts say it does, and they are usually the successful, progressive farmers.


The working man, skilled or unskilled, and the working man's wife as well, should keep some form of cash book that will show from week to week the receipts and expenditures.

One can be thrifty without being miserly.

Where did the money go?

Look at your book, where every cent expended has been set down, and you will be surprised to find how the little sums total up.

Look over the list of little things bought and you will be surprised to see how many were not needed.

Here is a simple form for a home record:

Cash Received 1910. Jan. 2. Balance on hand.........$45.50 " 3. Work for Mr. Jones....... 1.75 " 3. Smith paid bill......... 13.75 " 9. Work for Mr. Brown....... 7.50

Cash Paid 1910. Jan. 2. Two shirts...............$1.50 " 3. To wife for house........ 8.50 " 4. Doctor C's. bill......... 6.00 " 5. Fare to Troy............. 2.25 " 6. Horse car................ .20 " 6. Postage.................. .06 " 7. Church Contribution...... 1.00 " 8. Shoes mended............. 0.60 " 9. Newspaper bill........... 1.00

Never "lump" what you receive or what you spend.

Set down each item separately, even to one cent.

When you have filled out each page of "received" and "paid" foot it up and carry it to the next page set apart for the purpose.

An account book will cost but a few cents. Use the left-hand side for receipts and the right for expenditures.

At any time the excess of the left hand over the right should show the amount on hand.

Strike a balance at least once a month.


Never mix up another's accounts with your own.

John Smith, treasurer of some church, society, or club, is a different person before the law from John Smith, the trader or mechanic.

Funds not your own, and which may be added to or decreased from time to time, as in the case of a society, say like the Odd Fellows, should be kept in the bank not as John Smith's but as the funds of "John Smith, Treasurer of Washington Lodge 110, Independent Order of Odd Fellows," or whatever the name of the society, club, or church may be.

In the same way, "a treasurer's book" should be kept and all the receipts and expenditures carefully recorded.


If a business proposition is made to another by mail, or if you hand another in writing your proposition as to a certain contract you are willing to undertake, for the consideration named, be sure to keep a copy of the letter or contract; such a precaution may save trouble.

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