Friday, November 24, 2017

Old Bookkeeping Methods, Part 1.

Every business whether large or small should keep a correct record of its activities and to facilitate the keeping of such record the science of bookkeeping has been evolved until today a well kept set of books will reveal every transaction of business down to the smallest detail. 

There are two kinds of bookkeeping commonly called single and double entry. 

Single entry method of keeping books is very unsatisfactory and the practice is rapidly disappearing as it has no advantages.  Books commonly used are the Day Book, Cash Book and Ledger. 

In the Day Book all transactions other than cash receipts and disbursements are entered daily with no regard as to debits and credits. 

Cash Book is used to record all transactions where cash is involved. Receipts being entered on the left side and disbursements on the right, difference between the total on left and that on the right side representing cash on hand and in bank. 

Ledger is used to keep a record of customers and creditors, few if any other accounts being kept, such as Inventory, Machinery, Expenses, etc. 

With this method in use it is impossible to balance books, locate errors, guard against embezzlement or theft, arrive at cost of doing business and numerous other elements which have an important bearing in a well conducted business. 

A Double entry system requires the keeping of an account with every element of the business, not only of the assets and liabilities, but also the Expense, Merchandise and Profit and Loss. Every debit must have an equivalent credit and vice versa. In this manner a balance is maintained.

Previous entry: How To Collect Debts Next entry coming soon - pester to let him know you read this!

Monday, December 26, 2016

How To Collect Debts

Debt collection: "The man who is in debt carries a world of trouble."  A blog post from the New American Business Cyclopedia of 1924.
"The man who is in debt carries a world of trouble." - Burke.


Pay as you go, or a strictly cash business, is the best and safest method of doing business.  But certain conditions or customs in trade make this sometimes impractical or impossible and credit must be given.  Under this method dishonest, careless or unfortunate people contract debts, then refuse, neglect or are unable to pay them, and collections, peaceable or forced, become a necessity.

The requisite steps to collect such debts are a matter of great importance and should be understood by everybody, but they are not, and much unpleasantness and heavy losses are often the result.

Methods by Which Debts are Contracted

Goods are bought on credit, to be paid for at a definite or indefinite future time.  Labor is employed, to be paid for at certain periods.  Lands, houses and other property are purchased under contract of future payment.  Money is borrowed, under notes, mortgages or other securities, and many other transactions in business and trade call forth occasions or present temptations to contract debts.

Suggestions for Avoiding Debts

1. Do a Strictly Cash Business. — Better small profits and quick sales, than large profits and long credits.

Mark your goods as low as possible and adhere unswervingly to your cash principle. This is best for buyer and seller. It avoids collections and prevents losses. It saves the time and labor of keeping accounts. This enables the seller to sell cheaper and the buyer to buy for less than on credit.

2. Cautions. — Goods sent abroad should be paid for before the purchaser takes possession.

The time of credit should be as short as possible and the bills collected when due.  When working for others collect your wages weekly or monthly, in accordance with the agreement to pay, unless your employer is quite responsible, thus making your dues safe.

In renting lands or houses, a duplicate lease should be made, one for each party, the rent paid promptly when due, at the house or business place of the landlord, and the payment credited on the back of the lease.

In receiving or making payments, a receipt should always be made out; it is a voucher and may save trouble.

Hotel and boarding-house keepers cannot be too prompt and strict in collecting their dues, as their customers are mostly transient, making forced collections sometimes impossible.

Never loan money without requiring a note or a duebill, if the amount is small; this is safest even between the most trusted friends.

When the loan is large, have the note secured by a mortgage on real estate; but see to it that the same is not encumbered by previous claims, which would render your security worthless.  It is safest to require an abstract of title and then have your mortgage recorded immediately.

This precaution should also be observed where a chattel mortgage is taken on personal property.

If a small amount of money has been loaned without security and it can apparently not be collected without legal process, it may be best to drop the matter and consider the loss so much paid for a lesson in business prudence.

First Steps in Making Collections 

These depend very much on circumstances.  The debtor may have met with reverses or a misfortune, rendering him unable to pay at the time specified, and deserving of patience, others may be careless and need a sharp reminder, a third party, inclined to be dishonest, may need close watching.  Thus discretion is necessary as to the form and tone of the letters requesting payment.

The composition of a letter requesting payment of an account is often a perplexing task, particularly if the person or firm is capable of paying, but careless about it. Such a letter, to be perfect, must not only obtain the money due, but do so without giving offense. Such letters should not, as a rule, be blunt or abrupt, but should courteously and clearly state the reasons for the request. If it becomes necessary to suggest placing the account in the hands of a collector, the suggestion should not be put in the form of a threat but in such language as will show your reluctance about using such means.

Generally speaking, a statement of the debtors account is usually all that is necessary to remind him that payment is expected when due.

If necessary to request prompt payment, something similar to the following may be used:

                                                                                             New York, N. Y.,  May 1, 1916.

Mr. D. C. GOWAN,
         Oswego, N. Y.

Dear Sir:—Inclosed please find statement of your account for April, which we trust you will find correct.

We would appreciate it if you will kindly check same at your earliest convenience and send us a N. Y. Draft for the amount.

Yours truly,

Smithson & Dewsnap.

If the debtor is tardy a second request might be worded as follows:

Mr. J. G. Homes,
          Newark,  N.J.

Dear Sir:— We respectfully call attention to your account, which is now some time past due, and ask if you cannot favor us with your check by return mail.


Not hearing from you regarding the amount of your account, now past due, we take the liberty of drawing on you at three days' sight, and trust that you will kindly honor the draft when presented.  
Thanking you in advance, we are,           Yours truly, 
                                                               Connor & Blaine. 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Examples of Writing A Business Letter.


Letter containing a Remittance

Canton, Ohio, Feb. 10, 19-


                                                   Williamsport, Pa.

Gentlemen:-- Enclosed please find N.Y. Draft for Sixty-five Dollars ($65.00), in settlement of your invoice of January 13th, which you will kindly and return.

                        Yours truly,
                              PETER SCHRADER.


 Letter Acknowledging Above

                                                                     Williamsport, Pa., Feb. 12, 19-


            Canton, Ohio.

     Dear Sir: Yours of the 10th inst., containing N.Y. Draft for sixty-five Dollars ($65.00), came to hand this morning.
     We enclose bill properly receipted, and wish to thank you for prompt settlement of your account.

                       Yours respectfully, WILLIAMSON & CATON.

 Letter Ordering Goods

                         120 Penn St. Scranton, Pa., May 1, 19-


        110 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Ill.

    Gentlemen: Please ship by freight over the Penn. Line the following books:

     50 copies Handy Encyclopedia, Cloth Binding

     10 copies Handy Encyclopedia, Half-Morocco Binding

     27 copies The Business Educator, Cloth Binding

     13 copies The Business Educator, Morocco Binding

     10 copies Bible Symbols, Cloth Binding

  Enclosed you will find P.O. money order for Fifty-seven Dollars ($57.00) in payment of above. Kindly ship as promptly as possible, and oblige.          Yours for success,

Calling Attention to Error in Invoice

Hamilton, Ohio, Jan. 27, 19-


    Cincinnati, Ohio.

Gentlemen:-- I find in checking your Invoice dated the 10th inst. for shipment of biscuits that you have overcharged me 15 cents per box on the plain sodas.  I herewith return said invoice and ask you to kindly send me a corrected one.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Writing Business Letters, Continued; Opening Letters; Rules for Writing a Postal (Postcard).

An old Royal typewriter, used for writing business correspondence.


Opening Letters

Letters are properly opened by inserting a knife or other convenient instrument under the flap at the end and cutting across the top of the envelope.


1. Be brief and to the point without being blunt or offensive.

2. Be courteous in your requests and polite in your demands.

3. Never write a letter with a lead pencil; always pen use and ink.

4. Avoid the use of flourishes.

5. Blots and errors due to slovenliness are inexcusable.

6. Avoid interlining; rather rewrite your letter.

7. Aim to write as legibly as you know how.

8. Never discuss or refer to matters of a social nature in a business letter.

9. Never write a letter when angry or vexed.

10. Write on one side of the sheet only.

11. When requesting information always enclose stamp for reply.

12. If your letter contains money or an enclosure always state the amount, or what the enclosure is.

13. Take a copy of all letters containing matters of importance. It may save you trouble.

14. Be prompt in acknowledging the receipt of a business letter, mentioning its date.

15. Never write an anonymous letter; it is the coward's weapon.

16. See that your letters are divided into paragraphs and properly punctuated.

17. Write as though your correspondent was at your side and you were talking to him.

18. Letters ordering goods should state plainly the articles wanted, giving full directions for shipping, and the name and address of the person ordering.

19. Money should be remitted by draft, P.O. order, express order or registered letter.

20. Money orders or other enclosures should be folded in the letter; not put in the envelope separately.

21. Do not use figures in the body of a letter, except to denote sums of money, dates, street or P. O. box numbers.

22. Do not forget to sign your name. 

23. &c means “and so on in the same manner.” Etc. is entirely different and means “and other things.” Use them only in their correct sense.

24. In requesting payment of money due you, avoid being offensive. Remember, it is better to have a person a friend, than an enemy.

25. Do not mix up an order for goods in the body of a letter. Either use a separate sheet, or make it a separate part of your letter with only one style or kind of goods on a line.

26. Use care and neatness in addressing your envelope, and if writing a number of letters be sure that John Smith's letter does not go in Tom Brown's envelope.

27. Never write a dun, or any matter of importance, on a postal card. To make a threat of any kind on a postal card renders it unmailable, and to use indecent language thereon is a criminal offense, under the laws of the United States.

28. A prompt acknowledgment of the receipt of an order for goods is a commendable practice.

29. Avoid abbreviations and the use of postscripts.

30.  Never write a threatening letter; in most of the States it is made a criminal offense by statute.


1. A card should be dated either on the upper right-hand corner, or on the lower left-hand corner.

2. Always sign your name in full.

3. If you wish an answer, give your full post office address, unless it is well known by the person to whom you are writing.

4. Never write a demand or a request for on a postal. It is disrespectful to the person receiving it.

5. Never write an invitation on a postal. Society prescribes polite forms for this purpose.

6. Do not important matters to a postal card, for it is open to inspection, and the law does not provide for its return to the writer if it fails to reach its destination.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Parts of a Letter.

The Complimentary Closing follows the body of the letter, on the line below the last line of the letter, and consists of the words of respect or regard used to express the writer's feelings toward the person written to. They are in a sense conventional and are often used without thought as to their meaning. The most common forms in business use are: "Respectfully," "Respectfully yours", "Yours very respectfully," "Yours truly," "Yours very truly," "Yours faithfully," "Sincerely yours," etc. "Gratefully yours" may be used if the writer is under obligation to the one written to, or "Fraternally yours" if a member of the same order or society.

In official letters a more formal style is used: as, "I have the honor to be, Yours very respectfully."

The complimentary closing should always be consistent with the salutation. For example: to begin a letter with a formal "Sir" and close with "Sincerely yours" would show very bad taste.

The Signature is the name of the writer or the firm or company he represents. It should be written under the complimentary closing and should end just at the right-hand edge of the sheet.

It should be written very plainly. Many writers have a habit of making their signature the most unintelligible part of their letters, presuming that because their name is familiar to themselves it is to everybody else.

A lady writing to persons with whom she is not acquainted should always prefix the title, Miss or Mrs., in parenthesis, to her signature.

Folding.-- The letter sheet should be folded so as to nearly fill the envelope. To fold a sheet of letter paper to fit the No. 6 or 6½ envelope, turn the bottom of the sheet up to the top, making one fold, then fold equally from the right and from the left, making the letter, when folded, a little narrower than the envelope. If the envelope is held with the left hand, back up, and the letter inserted as folded, all the receiver has to do when he opens the envelope is to withdraw the letter and turn back the folds, and he has it before him right side up. This is important.

Sealing.-- Be particular to seal your letter properly especially if it contains money or other enclosure.

A letter of introduction or recommendation should never be sealed when entrusted to bearer.

The Envelope Address.-- The name and title should be written on the center of the envelope lengthwise. When street and number are given, or the direction "In care of Mr. ______" they follow on the second line, the city or town on the third, and the state on the fourth or lower right hand corner of envelope.

The envelope should be placed before the writer with the flap farthest from him, otherwise it will be addressed upside down and the letter should not be inserted until after the address is written.

More than five million letters and packages reach the dead letter office at Washington every year because they are improperly directed, therefore great care should be exercised in addressing envelopes.

See examples of addressed envelopes.

The envelope used for business purposes should have either written or printed upon its upper left-hand corner the name and address of the sender, with the request to be returned in a certain number of days if not called for.

Opening Letters.-- Letters are properly opened by inserting a knife or other convenient instrument under the flap at the end and cutting across the top of the envelope.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

32 Common Faults in Writing and Speaking Corrected.

I admire the elegance of older grammar standards, but I have to wonder how anything was ever accomplished keeping a bus full (busful? ha) of rules together.

"I shall walk no further" should be "I shall walk no farther." Further refers to additional quantity.

"I have no farther use for it" should be "I have no further use for it." Farther refers to distance.

"Is that him?" should be "Is that he?"

"If I was him" should be "If I were he."

"Better than me" should be "Better than I."

"I am very dry" should be "I am very thirsty."

"Both of these men" should be "Both these men."

"He had laid down" should be "He had lain down".

"I have got the book" should be "I have the book."

"If I am not mistaken" should be "If I mistake not."

"It was her who called" should be "It was she who called."

"Lay down or set down" should be "Lie down or sit down."

"When I get off from a car" should be "When I get off a car."

"It spread all over the town" should be "It spread all over the town."

"If I was him I would do it" should be "If I were he I would do it."

"He is down in the basement" should be "He is in the basement."

"I know better; that ain't so" should be "Pardon me, I understand differently."

"I see him every now and then" should be "I see him occasionally."

"I never play it if I can help it" should be "I never play if I can avoid it."

"His works are approved of by many" should be "His works are approved by many."

"I went to New York, you know, and when I came back, you see, I commenced attending school," should be "I went to New York, and when I returned I commenced attending school."

"It is me" should be "It is I."

"We enter in" should be "We enter".

"I don't think so" should be "I think not."

"What are the news?" should be "What is the news?"

"He fell on the floor" should be "He fell to the floor."

"He is in under the wall" should be "He is under the wall."

"Two spoonsful of tea" should be "Two spoonfuls of tea."

"A new pair of boots" should be "A pair of new boots."

"I had rather ride" should be "I would rather ride."

"I only want five dollars" should be "I want only five dollars."

"Continue on in this way" should be "Continue in this way."

"I expected to have seen him" should be "I expected to see him."

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Thursday, July 8, 2010


The Materials.--
Good pen, ink, and paper. For business correspondence three styles of paper are in general use, viz.: commercial note, about 5x8 inches; pocket note, about 5½x8¾ inches, and letter paper, which is usually 8½x11 to 13 inches. The smaller sizes for short letters and the larger for long ones.

The envelopes most commonly used are Nos. 6 and 6½.

Parts of a Letter. -- for convenience in explaining the form of a letter we call the different parts by the following names:

1. Heading (Place and Date). 4. Body of Letter.
2. Address. 5. Complimentary Closing.
3. Salutation. 6. The Writer's Signature.

The following diagram will show clearly their position.

Heading.-- The heading indicates where and when the letter was written and should contain information the person written to will need in directing his reply. It should be written to the right-hand side of the sheet and about two or two and one-half inches from the top. There is no objection to using two or more lines for the heading if required.

The Address of a letter consists of the name and title of the person or firm to whom you are writing, the residence, or place of business, as the case may be, to which the letter is to be sent.

The inside address, as this may be called, will be the same as the address on the envelope, excepting that on the inside address the city and state may be written on the same line. Begin the address on the left-hand side of the sheet, one inch from the edge of the paper and on the line following the one on which the heading is written. The second line of the address should begin an inch farther to the right than where the first line is begun.

The Proper Use of Titles.-- Two titles of courtesy should not be joined to the same name; as, Mr. John Hartley, Esq.; nor should a title of courtesy be used with a professional or official title: as, Mr. J.B. Wilson, M.D., or Hon. Henry Weston Esq. One exception to this rule, however, is permitted where a clergyman's initials or first name is not known, to write Rev. Mr. (----), giving only the surname.

The Salutation is the complimentary form used to begin the letter. The forms most in use are Sir; Dear Sir or My Dear Sir. In addressing a firm, Sirs, Dear Sirs, Gentlemen or My Dear Sirs. If the person addressed be a lady, Madam, or Dear Madam. If she be a young, unmarried lady, Dear Miss, or it is quite correct to omit the salution where doubt exists as to whether she be married or not, or if the writer has no acquaintance with her.

Follow the salution with a comma and dash, and never write Gents for Gentlemen, or Dr for Dear, etc.

The Position of the Salutation depends somewhat on the number of lines in the address. The examples on next page will illustrate this and the form of letters in general.

The Body of the Letter is that part which contains the message or information to be imparted. In this, good form, penmanship, spacing and paragraphing should receive due care.

The body of a business letter should begin on the same line following the salutation.

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