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The New Stuff


But just because it was originated for a one-person business is no reason why any person, no matter how large their concern, can't adapt at least some of it to save time.
"I keep a complete set of books—but I never spend much time at them," said one business man. He drew from one of the upper drawers of his desk an ordinary page-a-day diary and a small file box containing a number of 3 by 5 cards. "Here are my 'books'," he continued, displaying these two items. "This diary is what I call my day book. The box contains my time sheets and ledger. When I started out several years ago I found that every minute a man takes for bookkeeping usually cuts into his income, for it reduces his productive hours. But I always have wanted to know just where my affairs stand at any time. So as a result I began to experiment, and finally worked out this method."

The engineer happens to have an office comprising in all perhaps not more than two hundred square feet. His only employee is a stenographer. His time is valuable because he draws his profit from the work he personally turns out. There are hundreds of offices of about this size and character, and for that reason the unusually interesting and helpful set of records which this business man has developed for his work will probably prove of general interest.

"I inherited the diary-day-book idea from my father, who was a lawyer," he says. "It affords, in my opinion, a much easier way to put down entries than the formally ruled day book, and what's more to the point, it encourages me to make more complete comments, for I have an entire page of the book to use daily. This completeness of my book of original entry has been of value to me in court on several occasions."

He opened it, displaying a page with several entries showing receipts and disbursements. On the margin he had printed with a rubber stamp all the hours from eight in the morning to six at night. "I seldom get down before 8 o'clock or stay after 6, you see," he continued. "When I start on a job I scratch my pen through the hour of starting—that's what these rubber-stamp figures are for. Then I write in, alongside, the name of the job. By keeping this upon every job I tackle I have a complete record on my time. I even mark the time I take for lunch. That isn't essential, of course, but I do it because it gives me an absolute itemized account of my working day."

In this man's card index, which is alphabetically arranged, the individual-job time cards are filed with the ledger cards—the ledger account first, and the time card whose entries are charged under that account behind it.

He posts his time from the day book to a time card. He totals these cards weekly, and multiplies the totals by the hour rate which he charges. This charge he places against the customer on the ledger card. This gives him an accurate charge against each job.

Ledger entries have to be made only at the first of each month. Statements go out at the same time. Since the time cards are already in the file box behind the ledger cards, it is a simple job to make the entries. This man keeps one ledger account here for general expense, and his experience shows that most of the day-book entries go into it, unless these entries can be charged to specific jobs. He says that his system has been worth hundreds of dollars to him.