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Title: Post Exchange Methods - A manual for Exchange Stewards, Exchange Officers, Members - of Exchange Councils Commanding Officers, being an - exposition of a simple and efficient system of accounting - which is applicable to large and to small Exchanges alike.
Author: Bunker, Paul D.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber’s Note: This book has two Figure 13s, but no Figure 29.

                          Post Exchange Methods

                         CAPTAIN PAUL D. BUNKER
                           UNITED STATES ARMY

           A manual for Exchange Stewards, Exchange Officers,
                 Members of Exchange Councils Commanding
                Officers, being an exposition of a simple
                and efficient system of accounting which
                   is applicable to large and to small
                            Exchanges alike.

                            _General Agents_
                    THE EAGLE PRESS Service Printers
                              Portland, Me.

                             Copyright 1915
                      The Eagle Press—Portland, Me.

                           All rights Reserved


Our Post Exchanges are usually in charge of officers with little or no
experience in book-keeping, their assistants are usually enlisted men and
not professional clerks and accountants, and there is, at present, no
codified or standard system prescribed for handling this business. Some
parts of the Post Exchange Regulations have become antiquated through
the developments of modern business methods such as the “Voucher Check

In view of these facts it is felt that there is a real need of this book,
and it is hoped that the methods herein set forth will prove to be a step
toward a uniform system that will be adopted in all Exchanges, one that
will reduce overhead charges, eliminate unnecessary labor and improve
unsatisfactory profits.

The writer intended discussing several other important points, such as
Journal Entries, Mail Order Business, Consignment, Adding Machines,
Loose-leaf and Card Index Filing, etc., but circumstances over which he
had no control prevent, at present, any addition to these pages.

It is desired to give credit to Captain Henry M. Dichmann 24th Infantry,
who by his work in connection with the Post Exchange at Fort Slocum, N.
Y., was the inspiration for this work, and to Mr. James Parker, Cashier
of the same Exchange, for valuable assistance rendered.

                                                  PAUL D. BUNKER,
                                          Captain, Coast Artillery Corps.

Fort Hancock, N. J., June 7, 1915.

       *       *       *       *       *



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    Post Exchange Methods                                                1


    Charge Sales                                                         2

        General—Method of Making—Daily Check
        Summary—Recording—Consolidating Credit
        Transactions—Settling Dead and Live Records.

    Cash Sales                                                          29

        General—Cash Book.

    Coupon Sales                                                        33

        General—Kinds of Coupons—Frauds—Regulations—Issuing—Pay
        Table Procedure—Coupon Sales.

    Stock Records                                                       50

        General—Inventories—Merchandise Purchased—Transfers Between
        Departments—Consolidating Transactions—Checking Stock and

    Purchase Records                                                    60

        General—Purchase Orders—Purchase Record—Payments—Voucher
        Check System—Cash Disbursements.

    The Ledger                                                          72

        General—Make-up—Ledger Accounts—Posting the

    Monthly Statements                                                  81

        General—General Balance Sheet—Surplus and
        Adjustments—Statement of Income and Profit and Loss.

    Pay Rolls                                                           87

    Figuring Selling Prices                                             89

    Laundries                                                           92

        General—Bills Receivable—Piece Work—Damage
        Report—Claims—Inventories—Pay Rolls—Miscellaneous Books.

    Auditing                                                            99

        General Duties Auditor’s Statement.

    Cash Registers                                                     103

    Conclusion                                                         106

       *       *       *       *       *


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Whatever is written upon the original appears fac-simile on the duplicate
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    _Portland, Me._


The general methods of conducting a Post Exchange are laid down in
official orders and considering the categorical nature of these orders it
would seem that the systems in all Exchanges should be almost identical.
Such, however, is far from the truth, as there are almost as many
systems as there are Exchanges, and a person in charge of one Exchange
might have to learn considerable new matter before he would be able to
administer the affairs of another Exchange. This variety of systems also
causes trouble to auditing officers, exchange councils and to inspectors
when they have occasion to go over the books. Some of the systems are
unsound in minor particulars, and most of them are poorly designed. All
trouble of this nature could be avoided by devising a standard system and
installing it in all Exchanges. The advantages of such a proceeding would
be manifold and there would be no important disadvantages. In this essay
an attempt has been made to evolve such a system, one applicable to any
Exchange, representing the best points of many Exchanges and including
at all possible points the labor saving results of modern methods. The
system here described is not the embodiment of theory alone, but has been
through the test of actual trial and has given thorough satisfaction.

In devising any such scheme we must presuppose certain desiderata:—

1. The Exchange Officer can spend but a small portion of his time in the
Exchange, and yet he must have accurate knowledge of what the business is
doing. It is therefore essential that our records shall show accurately
and concisely all the data that are necessary to a full understanding of
the condition and operations of the business.

2. It is not enough to have a system which will enable us to render a
clear statement at the end of the month, we should be able to close our
books at any time and get out our financial statement in the minimum time.

3. Our system should be such as to minimize the possibilities of
peculation. It is often said that there is no system which cannot be
beaten, but there are systems which cannot be defeated for any great
length of time. Therefore, our system must reduce to a minimum the time
during which graft or theft can work undisturbed.

4. The system must be so simple that it will not require exceptional
ability at any point in order that its provisions may properly be
carried out. This makes it easy to break in new clerks, and enables them
to perform their duties in a more satisfactory manner.

5. The system must not be so cumbersome that it will delay the making of
sales. This is highly important. Every reader of this will undoubtedly
have vivid recollections of his experiences in department stores,
“waiting for change.” It is better to lose a dollar than to disgust our
customers and drive them elsewhere.

The above requirements cannot but cause our system to be somewhat more
expensive than that used in a “one-man store”. In the latter instance,
as a proprietor will not cheat himself, the third requirement has, in
general, no effect. The other requirements, however, will still hold, and
even gain in importance. How many merchants have we seen who _thought_
they knew all about their business, but who in reality knew very little.
They did not even realize that slipshod methods curtail credit and beget
losses of various sorts.

In describing this system we shall take up the various features in the
order in which they will be found easiest to install. For instance,
charge sales are discussed first because, regardless of the system of
handling these sales that may be in use by any Exchange, it will be
found that to change to the system here described, before changing any
other part of the system, will cause no confusion in the other books. In
other words, if your system be changed according to the order in which
the different parts are discussed herein, you will find that you have
gradually installed a system which may be entirely different, yet you
have caused no confusion in your books by the transition.



This item includes the sale of merchandise to (1) officers, (2)
civilians, (3) enlisted men authorized to buy on credit. Such sales are
practically cash, being paid, usually, within a very short time.

The practice of extending credit to civilians is not encouraged by the
authorities and the Exchange Officer should secure permission beforehand
in case it is desired to transact this kind of business. In some cases
of isolated posts it is to the best interest of the government that
civilians employed or living on the post be allowed credit at the
Exchange, as it might otherwise be impossible for the Government to
retain their services or for the civilians to subsist themselves. It is
to take care of such cases that this feature is mentioned. In opening
a charge account with a civilian, care must be exercised to prevent a
probability of loss to the Exchange, as one bad account might wipe out
the profits from all such accounts for a considerable time. If a civilian
is deserving of the privilege of purchasing at the Exchange he should
have no objection to conferring with the Post Exchange Officer and making
satisfactory arrangements with his employer.

With enlisted men, the case is more difficult. In general, the soldier
makes his credit purchases by means of coupons. But if the Exchange
handles some such proposition as an ice delivery route, it is impossible
to do business with the patrons thereof by means of coupons of the
ordinary kind. The right method is to apply to the proper authorities for
permission to extend to married soldiers credit to such amounts as may
be recommended by their organization commanders. If this is not done,
and credit other than in the shape of coupons is allowed enlisted men or
if coupons or credit in excess of one-third of the man’s pay be allowed
him, the inspector will object to it, as either of these two proceedings
is held to be unauthorized. However, when there are no other stores in
the vicinity, it seems but reasonable to think that the Post Exchange,
instituted purely for the benefit of the enlisted man, should be allowed
to extend credit to such married soldiers of good reputation as may be
dependent upon it (and the Commissary) for the necessities of life. As
the married soldier is usually a non-commissioned officer of long and
honorable service (sometimes a first sergeant or non-commissioned staff
officer) with one or more children; as the bulk of his pay is usually
spent for articles ordinarily carried in stock by the Exchange; as the
Exchange is the result of beneficent legislation and the regulations
concerning same should therefore be interpreted in a liberal manner, it
follows that there is a great deal of justice behind a proper application
for permission to make charge sales to such selected men.

In case such permission is obtained, request should be made on the
various organization commanders to write a letter of the following

                                     FORT JAY, N. Y., Mar. 1, 1914.

    From C. O., Co. H, 57th Inf.
    To Post Exchange Officer.
    Subject, Credit to Enlisted Men.

    1. Request that the following named members of this
    organization be given credit at the Post Exchange not to exceed
    the amount set opposite their respective names:

        1st Sergt. James E. Sullivan      $ 20.00
        Sergt. Ralph R. Strouse             16.00


                                                (Sgd.) T. R. JONES,
                                                    Capt. 57th Inf.

Method of Making Charge Sales.

At the time each charge sale is made, the clerk notes the transaction on
a “Charge Sales Slip,” provided for the purpose, noting the date, name of
customer, name and number of articles sold, the total price of each item,
the total amount covered by the slip and the initials of the salesmen.
See Fig. 1.

[Illustration: Figure 1, (Reduced in size)]

It has become almost a rule that the purchaser shall receive a copy of
this record of sale. Sometimes, he does not receive it until after he
has paid his bill at the end of the month, a procedure followed in many
clubs and similar organizations. It is probably better in Post Exchange
work to furnish the purchaser with a copy of the charge sales slip at the
time the purchase is made, as most of our customers wish to keep track
of their accounts and also, as will be shown later, this method may be
made to promote honesty in salesmen who might be tempted to be otherwise.
As it is, of course, essential that we retain at least one copy of this
sales slip, it follows that the use of some sort of manifolding device
is necessary. There are many such devices on the market, among which
may be mentioned as representative, the manifolding sales book and the
autographic register. The former is shown in Fig. 2 and the latter in
Fig. 3, from which their methods of operation are apparent.

[Illustration: Figure 2.]

It is patent that some such scheme should be adopted for use in every
Exchange, no matter how small that Exchange may be. The advantages of
any of these systems (even a simple duplicating pad) over the painful
and inefficient method of recording all such sales in an old fashioned
sales record book must be evident to every one. The particular system
adopted is of minor importance so long as it is thoroughly adapted to
the circumstances of the case involved. The following table is arranged
for the purpose of permitting a comparison of two systems; one involving
the use of manifolding sales books and the other using an autographic

[Illustration: Figure 3.]



1. Can be carried by the salesman, thus saving steps for him.

    1. If a cash register is used the salesman must go to it to
    record every sale, and therefore if the Manifolder is located
    at the cash register no unnecessary steps are taken.

2. Cost of 100 duplicating books of simple design with total capacity of
5000 sales is $6.50. Triplicating books more expensive. No first cost for

    2. Rolls of paper are used; cost of rolls for duplicate records
    of 5000 sales is from $4.50 up, depending upon the amount of
    special printing on the rolls. Each machine like Fig. 3 costs,
    retail, about $15.00.

3. Practically no counter space is necessary for using a sales book.

    3. A convenient place must be left on the counter for use in
    recording sales.

4. Uniformity in size of slips results in facility in handling and filing.

    4. By exercise of reasonable care the size of the slips
    approaches uniformity closely enough.

5. The various copies of a slip made from a sales book are more apt to
be “in register”—that is, the various lines and spaces of a lower sheet
are more apt to be exactly under the corresponding ones of the upper or
original sheet.

    5. Sometimes trouble and the expenditure of a sales slip
    results from the various rolls getting “out of step”. This
    accident, however, is easy to remedy.

6. The slips can be tampered with, by dishonest salesmen, unless a
“slip-printing” cash register, or some special device is used.

    6. By using a machine in which the triplicate roll is wound up
    inside the machine as it is used, no tampering with the sales
    records is practicable.

                   (If triplicate records are desired)

7. We may use either two sheets of carbon paper[1] or only one
double-faced carbon sheet below a tissue duplicate and over an opaque

    7. We ordinarily use at least two sheets of carbon paper, and
    all copies are opaque. The machine is adjustable, and will
    either duplicate or triplicate according to the number of rolls
    used. It can also be used with a transparent roll.

8. If two carbon sheets are used, both must ordinarily be shifted for
recording each successive sale.

    8. The carbon sheets once fixed in the machine require no
    further attention except when they are worn out or the rolls

8a. By using a transparent duplicate and a double faced sheet of carbon
paper, the latter is the only sheet that requires handling.

    8a. But the slips do not protect us so well because the
    sales are not recorded on the back of each slip (by reversed
    impressions) as well as on the front.

8b. In this case, by leaving the transparent slips in the book we can
easily check the consecutive numbers of the slips and see that all are
accounted for.

    8b. By not tearing off the lowermost sales slip, but leaving
    it attached to the roll until the end of the day, we obtain a
    single strip of sales slips recording all the charge sales of
    the day. They need not be checked for consecutive numbering
    unless there is a break in the strip.

8c. By previously clipping off the corner of these tissue sheets the book
becomes self-indexing and in opening the book we turn automatically to
the place for recording the next sale.

    8c. In tearing off the record of each sale we automatically
    prepare the machine to record the next sale.

[1] Carbon paper is either single or double faced. By using the latter
between two sales slips it is evident that we record our sale on the
first and second slips and also secure a reversed copy on the back of the
original. It is said that salesmen who alter such slips for their own
gain are prone to forget or overlook this point and are caught thereby.
No alteration on a sales slip should be tolerated; if the clerk makes a
mistake he should be required to cancel and preserve all copies of the
erroneous slip and to make out a new one correctly.

It is seen that the advantages and disadvantages of these two systems
nearly counterbalance and that the particular system adopted must depend
greatly upon the opinions of those in charge of the Exchange. In the
following description, the use of triplicating records will be assumed.

In order to facilitate the assorting of the slips handed in by the
various “Departments” of the Exchange, it is a good idea to assign
distinctive colors to the original charge sales slips of each. (Of
course, if there is a very large number of departments, this idea would
have to be applied with discretion, as it is hard to recognize certain
colors at night by artificial light.) For example, let the original
sales slips used in the store be white; those in the market, buff; those
in the shoe shop, pink, etc. The duplicate slips should have their own
distinctive color and this color should be the same for all departments.
If a triplicate slip is used, it should be of still another color and the
same for all departments. Following out this scheme, the utility of which
will appear presently, a color scheme might be as follows:—


                _Original_        _Duplicate_     _Triplicate_
    Store         White           “Newspaper”        Yellow
    Market        Buff                 ”                ”
    Lunch         Salmon               ”                ”
    Tailor        Green                ”                ”
    Barber        Blue                 ”                ”
    Shoe shop     Pink                 ”                ”

If a system of distinctive colors similar to the above is not adopted,
one of two things will be necessary in order that we may identify the
slips of each department, unless we wish to do so by wasting the time
in deciphering the articles on each slip and decide therefrom the
name of the responsible department; we must either have the names of
the departments printed on their respective slips when they are made,
or these names must be marked on the slips when the sales are made.
Neither of these methods is as efficient as that involving the use of
various colors, which tells automatically to what department that slip
belongs. By using distinctive colors, the printer would set up only one
form for printing our whole assortment, and our printing bill would be
correspondingly reduced.

In this connection, it might be stated for the benefit of the uninitiated
that ordinarily the principal items in our bills for printing, especially
in the case of blank forms, will be found to consist of the cost of
“composition”, “make-up”, “lock-up”, and “make-ready”. These operations
are necessary if but one form is printed; they need cost us no more if
50,000 copies are printed. Paper is comparatively cheap, so it usually
costs us little more to print 5,000 copies than to print 1,000. So we can
see that in the case of blank forms the cost per unit varies inversely as
the quantity ordered at one time. Hence, if we need such forms as sales
slips, of which we may use hundreds per day, we should order, say, a
year’s supply at a time. Other forms or sheets that are used once a week
or once a month must be ordered in lots sufficient to last for a longer
time. As we take these up on our Stock Record, such purchases in large
quantities will not disturb the worth of the Exchange.

An appreciable amount in the cost of our printing can be saved by a
skillful arrangement of the matter on the form. An experienced man can
sometimes draft a form so that the charges for printing it will be half
what it would cost to print the same form arranged by a thoughtless or
inexperienced person. Tabular work costs money, and so also does “special
rulings”. Experience or consultation with a practical printer is the only
real guide in this matter.

If any form is used in large numbers, it will pay to have electrotypes
made, and “repeat orders” printed therefrom. Forms that are seldom used
should not be electrotyped, as they will probably require some alteration
by the time a new supply is needed. An electrotype costs about $0.25 for
the first square inch and about $0.04 for each additional square inch.
Here is another opportunity for the exercise of judgment. Suppose we have
a large form with printed heading and footing, but nothing in the middle
of the sheet; it would be wasteful to electrotype the whole form, only
the heading and the footing should be so treated. Now, let us consider
the money wasted by having the name of our post printed on each bit of
stationery! It is easy to see that this is in some cases a positive
disadvantage. Suppose, for example, that Form 8, Fig. 1, fills the
requirements of Exchange methods. If a dozen Exchanges order a supply of
these forms and (as they usually do) thoughtlessly require that the names
of their respective posts be printed on same, they each pay a great deal
more than they would if they allowed the printer to make an electrotype
of this form and run off all the jobs from the same plate. It is hard, if
not impossible, to find any real reason why this extra matter should be
placed on many of our forms. Coöperation in matters of this kind would go
far toward cutting down some of our “overhead charges” in Post Exchange
work, and to secure such coöperation is one of the objects of this paper.

Still another way to minimize our printing bill is to adopt standard
sizes for our forms and to use, wherever possible, the same kind and
color of paper. Paper comes in sheets of certain sizes and if the printer
has to waste a part of each sheet in printing our forms, we shall have
to pay for it. Uniformity in size also leads to facility of filing.
Incidentally, money may be saved, in some cases by having two or more
forms printed together. For example, suppose we have three forms, A,
B and C, to be printed on the same stock, and we wish 5,000 A; 10,000
B; and 15,000 C. If ordered separately, these would entail 30,000
impressions. Suppose, however, that they are ordered at the same time,
and that the forms are of such sizes (not necessarily equal) that they
may be printed together on one sheet and cut apart afterwards. In such a
case, a saving might be made as follows:—Set up each form once, make, one
electrotype of Form B and two of Form C; place these with the originals
and there will result, in one “form” three Forms C, two Forms B, and one
Form A, and a “run” of 5,000 impressions will print the lot ordered.
There is a saving of the cost of running 5,000 Form B and 10,000 Form C
less the cost of electrotypes (if they are not on hand) and of the extra
work of locking up and making ready same. Of course, such a procedure
assumes that a considerable supply of forms, say, not less than a total
of 5,000, is ordered at one time. For a fewer number, there would be no
saving unless electrotypes were already on hand.

To return, now, to our sales slips. It will be noted that our triplicate
copies are the same for all departments. They are kept in rolls, if
manifolding machines are used, or if triplicating sales books are used,
the tissue paper sheets that are left in the books form our retained
record. In the cases of both the triplicate and the duplicate copies,
a cheap grade of paper is allowable on account of the little handling
these copies have to withstand. Also, there is no reason for their being
susceptible of rapid assorting according to departments. The duplicates
are also identical for all departments, they go to the customer at the
time of sale. In case there is a discussion about any particular slip,
the items thereon will show conclusively to what department it belongs,
as will also the initials of the salesman. On the other hand, it is
a positive advantage to have all duplicates of a distinctive color,
different from that of the originals. Suppose a customer buys a pair of
shoes from the store and later returns them. We should then give him a
slip crediting him with the shoes at the selling price. To do this, all
that is necessary is to fill out a regular charge sales slip in the usual
manner except that the word CREDIT is plainly marked on the slip. The
clerk then gives the customer the _original_ of this credit voucher and
files the newspaper _duplicate_ in the usual way. Upon sorting the slips
that night, the duplicate would be noticed, on account of its difference
from the other slips handed in and would thus prevent mistakes. Likewise,
if it became necessary for, say, the lunch room to buy a ham from the
market, the market attendant could make out his charge sales slip as
usual, giving the duplicate to the lunch room attendant with the ham.
That night, the appearance of this grayish duplicate among the salmon
originals handed in by the lunch room attendant would immediately call
attention to the transaction. It might be stated here, at the risk of
lapsing into the axiomatic, that such a transaction, although favored by
some exchanges, is not good business. It should be of rare occurrence and
even then needs special treatment. The proper procedure in such cases
would be to have the Market turn the ham back to the Stock Room, receive
credit for it and then let the Lunch Room draw the ham at the cost price.
This point is more fully discussed in connection with Stock Records.

After the attendant has recorded the charge sale in the proper manner and
given the duplicate slip to the purchaser, he still has to dispose of
another copy (or two other copies if triplicating records are used). The
original should be speared onto an ordinary file, each clerk having his
own filing hook in a convenient but inconspicuous place. The triplicate
is left in the sales book or on the roll, as the case may be. In
addition, the clerk should be required to ring up the sale on the cash
register. This is, of course, very important, and heroic measures should
be adopted to insure the recording of every sale, of whatever kind, on
the cash register. Means to this end can readily be devised. The subject
of cash registers is a very important one and is discussed in detail

The above operations are described at some length, but in reality, they
are simple in the extreme: a customer makes a purchase, the clerk records
the sale, rings up the amount on the cash register, gives the customer
his goods and a copy of the sales slip and sticks the other copy on his
file. If the cash register prints tickets, he may drop the ticket in his
compartment of a box or drawer provided for the purpose, or preferably,
give it to the customer.

Daily Check of Charge Sales

After the day’s business is over, each clerk gathers up all his receipts
for the day and assorts them into three piles, representing the cash,
coupon and charge sales, respectively. He then makes out his sales report
on Form 5 as shown in Fig. 4. This report should be printed on the face
of an end-opening envelope measuring not more than 4¼ × 10 inches, thus
forming a convenient receptacle for the coupons, charge slips and cash
turned in. The printed form should be, say, 7½ × 3 inches. As these
envelopes are not subjected to rough usage, being used but once, any kind
of cheap paper will serve the purpose. It might be well in certain cases
to have the envelopes match the color of the original charge sales slips
for that department, but ordinarily, this would be found an unnecessary
refinement. After making out this sales report, the clerk places in the
envelope the cash, coupons, etc., and hands it to the Post Exchange
Officer or to the Steward, if so authorized. (For obvious reasons, the
Exchange Officer personally should receive and check the receipts the
night of pay-day and at intervals during the month, even if the Steward
is ordinarily authorized to do so.) The Steward or Cashier has meanwhile
unlocked the cash register, noted the readings of the record wheels and
taken out the tape showing the printed record of sales.

[Illustration: Figure 4. (Reduced in size)]

Now, assuming that triplicate records are used, the Steward takes the
triplicate copies—either book or roll—“throws” them or checks them for
numbering, to see that all are accounted for, and totals their value
on the adding machine. By comparing this total with that shown by the
appropriate wheels of the cash register, he ascertains if all charge
sales have been rung up. If these two agree, all is well, so far. If they
do not agree, a note is made of the discrepancy for use in connection
with the operations hereafter described.

[Illustration: Figure 5, (Reduced in size)]

By this time, the clerks should be ready to hand in their reports and
receipts. The Steward fills out the rest of Form 5 as called for by the
various columns and abstracts these reports to his Form 4 as shown in
Fig. 5. This form should be printed on a card measuring 3½ × 8⅜ inches,
to permit convenient filing. If printed on thin paper, it will have to be
filed on a Shannon file which is not so convenient in the long run. These
cards should be of fairly good stock, as they are a part of the permanent
records of the Exchange, but should be no heavier than necessary. The
Steward carries down the totals on Form 4 and compares them with the
three separate totals shown by the cash register. Restricting ourselves
to a discussion of the charge sales, we see that if the total of the
triplicate slips, the totals of the clerks’ reports and the total shown
by the cash register all agree then the charge sales statement shown
on Form 4 is correct. If there is any discrepancy in this or any other
column of Form 4 the mistake should be found and corrected before the
clerks are dismissed for the night. Suppose, for example, that the cash
register shows a total of $20.60 charge sales for the day and the total
on Form 4 is $21.90. The first step is to have the clerks make sure that
their reports correctly state the actual amount of charge sales slips
turned in. If they are correct, then some clerk has probably forgotten to
ring up one or more sales. To trace the fault, let the Steward read off
all the charge sales from the record tape of the cash register, calling
off at the same time the letter of the clerk who rang up each sale. These
can be compared with the triplicate copy of the sales slips, or the
assembled clerks can be required to note the sales accredited to them,
the grand total of which _must_ equal $20.60. In this manner, the error
is definitely located. On the other hand, suppose the cash register shows
$21.90 and the total on Form 4 shows $20.60. The effect is that produced
by a clerk being short $1.30 in charge sales slips after he has actually
made the sales. The same procedure as before will locate the mistake. If
he cannot produce the slips (or cash or coupons as the case may be) or
satisfactorily explain the mistake, the clerk in error should be required
to make good the discrepancy. Discrepancies in cash and coupons can be
located and remedied in the same manner. It is important that the clerks
be required to participate in the task of locating mistakes and to make
good on errors, otherwise there will be no incentive to careful work.

When the totals of the clerks’ reports check against the cash registers,
the next step is to check the former against the receipts in cash,
coupons and charge sales slips actually turned in by the respective
clerks. The cash should, in fact, be counted immediately upon being
turned in, checked O. K. on the clerks’ reports and put in a safe place.
The charge slips handed in by each clerk are compared with the strip from
the adding machine (on which the clerk has added up his slips before
making out his report) checked against the report and put aside for
filing. Coupons are handled in the same way except that they are sealed
in the envelope and put in a secure place until the Exchange Officer
personally can burn them. This matter of destroying coupons should
never be delegated to any other person. In view of the fact that the
receipts turned in by each clerk should, and usually do, check exactly
with his report, this particular routine is recommended, as it allows
the dismissal of the clerks before commencing the work described in this
paragraph. In case of mistakes, the simple expedient of making the clerk
at fault assist in the work for a few evenings, is usually sufficient to
prevent a repetition. In large Exchanges, where the coupon and charge
sales are large, it is not customary to total the charge sales slips and
count the coupons until the next morning. If the receipts turn out to
be greater than called for by the reports, the surplus can be taken up
by entering on a single line of Form 26 (described hereafter), whenever
the books are closed (or oftener, if desired) an item showing what
departments are credited with these excess coupons, exactly as if it were
another day’s transactions. Such entry should, however, be prefaced by
the words, “excess coupons”. Shortages should be collected from the clerk
at fault, thus making the reports correct. The Exchange Officer should
occasionally make the coupon and the charge sales counts himself.

It would be unbusinesslike, if the coupon or charge sales are heavy,
to require the Exchange Officer, the Steward or any other high priced
man to waste his time counting coupons or any other similar task.
A less expensive employee should be detailed for this purpose. For
such unskilled labor, a boy at $10.00 per month who can run errands,
etc., would be a profitable investment in many cases, thus leaving the
expensive employees free to do more important work.

Too much stress cannot be placed upon the importance of insuring the
correctness of the data entered on Form 4. If the above mentioned checks
have been applied, there should be no trouble in any phase of our charge

Daily Summary of Charge Sales.

[Illustration: Figure 6. (Reduced in size)]

For various self-evident reasons, we use Form 7, shown in Fig. 6, for
showing a month’s charge sales. This form gives us in a most convenient
shape, a summary of that part of our (daily) Forms 4 that relates to our
charge sales business, it safeguards us against the loss of any Form 4
and facilitates posting our ledger accounts. This form is kept up to
date, the charge sales from Form 4 being entered thereon daily, and
therefore, affords us a most efficient aid in closing our books at any
moment. At the end of the month, or whenever the books are closed, we
find the totals of the columns of Form 7 and post these totals as lump
sums into the ledger. For example, the total of column 1 is posted as a
debit in the ledger against Bills Receivable, Customers; the total of
column 2 as a credit to the same account. The total of column 3 should be
posted as a debit against the Store account in the ledger, this being for
articles returned to the store by our customers; the total of column 4
is posted as a credit to the store account, being for articles sold from
same, etc. These sheets, constituting Form 7 are 11 × 14 inches, and cost
$1.75 per hundred without printed headings; a sectional post binder to
fit them can be bought for $3.75. The sheet is the same on both sides and
will, therefore, take care of seven departments if we use the whole width
of the open book. This will be found ample in most cases. It is useless
expense to have the headings, etc., printed on the sheets, because a
single sheet with neatly written headings can be made to serve as a sort
of index for a great many sheets, provided they are mounted above it and
are trimmed off just below the headings “DR.” “CR.”, and also trimmed on
the outside margin so that the date figures on the lowermost sheet will
serve as an index to the lines of the upper sheets. This labor and money
saving point will be more fully discussed later.

Recording Charge Sales Slips.

After these slips have been checked against the clerks’ reports, they
must be sorted out and filed according to the names of the purchasers.
For this work, have two card index drawers, each fitted with a set of
guide cards marked on the tabs with the names of our charge customers.
As each slip is found, file it behind the proper name. We first take all
the “Store” slips and file them in this manner; we then go through this
“sorting drawer” and total the slips belonging to each customer and enter
these totals in the column representing that date on Form 9, (see Fig.
7) opposite the names of the respective customers. At the same time, we
insert the sales slips diagonally in their proper places in the other
or permanent filing drawer. The total of these entries on Form 9 should
equal the total charge sales credited that date to the Store on Form 7.
If it does, the slips that have been placed diagonally can be shoved down
into the proper places as we are through with them; if it does not, they
can easily be removed for further examination. This daily check should
invariably be made for each department. We proceed in like manner with
respect to the other departments, each department having its own sheet
or sheets like Form 9. It is evident that this form gives us a summary
of all the charge sales made each day from each department, showing the
amounts sold to each of our customers. At the end of the month, each
line is added across and the total entered. The “Total” column is then
added up and compared with the total obtained by adding together the
figures (representing the daily totals) on the bottom line. If these
two totals check against each other and against the total shown on Form
7, the account may be considered correct and is a record of the daily
transactions between our customers and the department considered.

[Illustration: Figure 7. (Reduced in size)]

The book in which we bind our Form 9 is known as the “Charge Book”, and
it may be well to explain here the physical make-up of this important
book of record. It is, of course, on the loose-leaf principle, being
of the type known as a “sectional post binder”. It costs $2.50 and the
ruled sheets (without special printing) cost $1.00 per hundred. It is,
however, to the manner of handling the sheets of the book that attention
is especially invited. The old fashioned way would be to enter the names
of our customers down the left hand margin of each sheet until all were
entered, put the name of the department and the month and year at the
top of the sheet and the days of the month at the tops of the successive
columns with the heading “Total” at the right of the sheet. Thus, if we
had five departments and enough credit customers to require six sheets
for the list, we should have to prepare thirty sheets in this manner
every month. Now, to show how we can eliminate unnecessary work by the
exercise of a little forethought, let us assume that we have started our
record in this manner. Now take six copies of Form 9, trim them along
the heavy broken lines shown in Fig. 7, and bind one of these sheets in
front of each of those we have previously prepared. It is obvious that
the book is now ready for another month’s entries without any preparatory
writing or numbering whatever other than labelling each new sheet in some
convenient place with the month and department to which it pertains. Of
course, to care for the five departments, we should have to do this for
all five sets of sheets that we originally prepared. It follows that,
provided our list of customers does not change, this same operation of
inserting trimmed sheets would constitute the only labor necessary to
continue this record for an indefinite period.

After considerable experimenting and actual trial in service, the
following described scheme has been evolved for handling this record in
an efficient manner. While no claim is made that it is perfect, it is
believed that it will give thorough satisfaction wherever it is given a
fair trial and will save many hours of labor in keeping the books.

1. Take a sheet, Form 9, and enter the names of your charge customers
in alphabetical order, commencing on a left hand page. To allow for
future changes, leave a blank line before each name and one or two blank
lines at the bottom of the page for sub-totals, etc. For clearness
and permanence, these names should be put in from a black “record”
typewriter ribbon. Write in the headings of the various columns as shown
on Form 9. The object in placing the “total” column near the outside
margin is to have it next the customer’s name, thus minimizing the
chances of error in taking out the wrong total when we make our postings
at the end of the month.

2. If our list of charge customers will require more than one sheet,
take another Form 9 which we shall call Sheet No. 2 and proceed in a
like manner, using the same side of the sheet as before. This should be
repeated until all our charge customers are entered. Several blank lines
are left at the bottom of the last sheet. Thus, when we have finished
and have inserted the sheets in our book, we shall have a complete list
of our charge customers all recorded on the left hand pages of our book,
that side of each sheet that forms the right hand pages of our book being

3. Now, in order to utilize these blank pages, thus avoiding unnecessary
waste, we proceed as follows:—Open your book between _Sheets_ 1 and 2;
_page_ 1 will then be on the left and _page_ 2 on the right. This page
2 should now be prepared in a manner exactly similar to that used in
preparing page 1, except that the customers’ names are on the right hand
margin with the total column next inside. This is clearly shown in Fig. 7.

4. Prepare the blank sides of the other sheets in a similar manner and we
shall then have two complete lists of our charge customers, one occupying
the left and the other the right hand pages of our book, the confronting
pages being practically symmetrical.

5. Let us assume that the Exchange has five separate departments in which
charge sales can occur. We cut five sheets along the heavy broken lines
shown in Fig. 7 and insert them between pages 1 and 2. Five more trimmed
sheets are inserted between sheets (whole sheets) 2 and 3, and so on for
the rest of the book. In order to identify these sheets if accidentally
removed from the binder and to facilitate the making of entries, we
print on each of them in large letters, the name of the department and
the month to which they refer. This is best done lightly with red ink as
shown (in black) in Fig. 7 where the sheet is marked STORE—AUG. This red
ink lettering will not obscure the black ink figures subsequently made.

6. Let us agree to use the left hand pages for the first month’s account
and the right hand pages for the next month’s account. Let us take the
first trimmed sheet and mark it “STORE—JAN” on one side, and “STORE—FEB”
on the other. Do similarly for the sheets reserved for the “market”,
“lunch room”, and other accounts. The sheets containing the typewritten
headings are not used for recording sales, but are used for guide sheets,
for reasons to be set forth later.

It is easy to see from the preceding description that our charge book is
a running account, and being always up to date, can be closed at short
notice. When two months’ records have been entered, the trimmed sheets
are lifted and filed, as will be described hereafter. Fresh trimmed
sheets are again inserted in the proper places and the record proceeds as

Consolidating Charge Sales Monthly.

The form in which we have placed our daily records of credit sales lends
itself very readily to a process of summation or consolidation. The
manner of doing this is as follows:—

1. Prepare a second double list of our credit customers exactly as
described above, except that the columns, instead of being headed with
the days of the month, are labelled with the names of the various
departments, as shown in Fig. 8. Let us call this Form 6. Blank sheets
trimmed along the heavy broken lines, shown in Fig. 7, are inserted as
before, no recording being done on the typewritten sheets—they are simply
guides or indices to the various lines and columns.

[Illustration: Figure 8. (Reduced in size)]

2. All these sheets are bound in a separate book to facilitate the work
of posting at the end of the month. Experiment seems to prove that this
is better than binding these records in the same book with the charge
sheets just described. This, for the reason that a clerk is apt to waste
too much time in continually turning pages back and forth and is also
more liable to make errors in posting.

3. Immediately after the end of the month, Form 7, is checked against
Form 9 as previously described. We then take, say, the “store” charge
sheets (Form 7) and enter on Form 6 the total that each customer owes
the store. We do the same for every other department, also entering the
balance remaining unpaid from last month in the column provided for the
purpose. We also record in the proper column any credit we have given our
customers during the month for goods returned, overcharges, etc.

4. By using the adding machine, we find the total of each department’s
column on Form 6; it should equal the total charge sales for that
department reported on Forms 7 and 9. If it does not, the error must
be found and corrected before proceeding further. These totals, when
correct, are entered at the foot of their proper columns on the last
sheet of the record. Now add these column-totals on the machine and enter
the result in pencil at the foot of the “Total” column on the same last
sheet of this Form 6 record; it should check against the grand total of
the charge sales for the month reported on Forms 7 and 9.

[Illustration: Figure 9. Actual size]

5. When all postings to our Form 6 are complete, we station one clerk
at the adding machine and one is prepared to make out our monthly bills
or statements of account, using Form 1, shown in Fig. 9. Some person
reads off Form 6 the name of each customer and the total charges
against him by each department. These items are added on the machine and
simultaneously entered by the bill clerk on Form 1. The adding machine
operator reads the total of the items he has added, which total is
entered by the bill clerk on his Form 1 and by us in the column headed,
“Total” on our Form 6.

6. Any credit due the customer is read off to and entered by the bill
clerk on the statement. He then figures the balance due the Post
Exchange, which balance should agree with that figured independently by
the person reading from Form 6.

7. When the last bill has been made out, take the printed strip from the
adding machine and find the sum of all the totals that have been read off
by the operator. This sum should equal the pencil total described in Par.
4 above and checks the correctness of the account. If a “Duplex” adding
machine is used, this does not require extra work. If the accounts do not
“jibe” and the error cannot be found, take in rotation the charge slips
that you have filed against each customer and add them on the machine,
making a separate total for each customer. This should locate the error.
If the accounts check, however, (and they should if the previous checks
have been made properly) this laborious operation is unnecessary.

All our bills are now ready for mailing, and they are made out correctly.
In order to obtain the full benefit of this method, our bill forms should
require the minimum amount of writing. The form shown in Fig. 9 gives
satisfaction. It is a 3 × 5 inch card and therefore fits standard size
card index drawers; it is easily handled and will go into a note size
penalty envelope without folding. The appropriate month can be stamped
in and the name of the customer entered during spare moments throughout
the month, so that the only work necessary at this time is to write in
the figures. If the lines of Form 1 are “typewriter spaced”, that is, six
to the inch, and the form is not too heavy, it can be placed directly in
the adding machine and the various amounts printed on the card. The names
of the various departments should be printed on this card in the same
order in which they occur on Form 6. In fact, much work will be saved if
some specific scheme of sequence or relative order among the different
departments is invariably followed.

The writer does not know of a more economical or efficient system of
handling the bug-a-boo of “getting out our monthly bills” than that
just described. Sometimes, a “duplicating bill-book” is used, but it
is a wasteful and inefficient method when compared to this. One of
the principal advantages of the system lies in the fact that it is
unnecessary to keep a private ledger account for any of our charge
customers. If we were to do so, we should simply repeat information
that we already have. It will be remembered that we have filed away our
triplicate record of each day’s charge sales, which record describes in
detail the particulars of every sale made on that day. From this, should
the necessity arise, we can reconstruct our whole charge sales record for
the month. We have also on file (until the bill is paid) another copy
of each charge sales slip, filed according to the names of customers,
which, in itself, constitutes one side of the ledger account that would
be kept under the old system. These, together with the records previously
described, amply warrant the abolition of customers’ private ledger
accounts. Another great advantage of this system lies in the ease and
rapidity with which the books can be closed at any time.

Attention is invited to the note at the bottom of Form 1. This is a
labor saving item that is in accord with the practice of many up-to-date
houses—to regard a canceled and endorsed check as the best form of
receipt. Hence, if a customer pays his bill by check, it is unnecessary
to receipt the bill and return it to him, our endorsement on his check
constitutes his receipt. This same procedure can be made to apply to
companies, etc.; also, if the company commander will use the sales slips
as his sub-vouchers for the expenditure.

Credit Transactions.

We shall now take up the procedure to be followed in recording any and
all credit which we allow to customers for overcharges, goods returned,
etc. It is apparent that such transaction must occur in any business.
Accurate track should be kept of them and they should be handled in the
most efficient and time-saving manner possible. Each such transaction
results in a credit against our Bills Receivable and a charge or debit
against the particular department involved.

As before stated, the clerk who receives the goods that are returned
to us makes out a charge sales slip, marks it “CREDIT” and keeps the
duplicate, giving the original to the customer. It is usually the rule
that nobody other than the Steward or the Exchange Officer himself has
authority to give customers credit in this way. In the evening, the clerk
hands in these credit slips with his report. When the Steward makes up
his report on Form 4, after verifying the clerks’ reports, he simply
enters these credits in the last column on his Form 4, totals them and
describes each separate credit transaction on the back of his report. All
the data relating to the charge sales (and credits given) during the day
that are shown on the face of Form 4 are abstracted to the appropriate
line of Form 7, which latter sheet gives us in concise form all the data
we need concerning our charge sales for the month. The credit slips are
gathered up and placed with the filed charge sales slips relating to the
person who returned the goods to us. At the end of the month, preparatory
to making out our bills, all credits are entered in the column headed
“Credit” on Form 6, and are checked against the totals shown on Form
7. This avoids the necessity of entering each credit transaction on a
separate line of Form 7 as such transaction occurs. Even if the credit
slip were lost, no error should result, because we check the total
credits entered on Form 6 against the total credits on Form 7 before we
start making out our bills. If these do not agree, we must check both
Forms 6 and 7 against the credits shown daily by the various Forms 4. We
also have another check in the triplicate copy of the credit slips that
has been filed away.

Below is a graphic chart which shows how to handle this system of charge
accounts. It shows how the various records experience a continuous
process of summation until they finally reach the ledger and the
customer’s bill, and how the accounts can be checked as we go along, thus
avoiding errors. Solid lines show posting operations, broken lines show
possible checking operations.

Settling Charge Accounts.

When any of our charge customers pays his bill, we make an entry in our
cash book, giving to each such payment a separate line. We enter the
amount of the payment in the column headed “Net Cash” and also in the
column headed “Customers”. We do _not_ enter any of this amount in the
columns referring to the various departments because they have already
been credited for their proper shares through the charge sales records
and to do so again in the cash book would manifestly give them double
credit for each charge sale. We also stamp “Paid” in the “Cash” column
of Form 6, using a dating stamp that will fit neatly into this column.
One using red ink is preferable. If only a part of the bill is paid,
we enter in this column the amount received, extend the balance to the
proper column and, at the proper time, carry it forward to next month’s
account. Some book-keepers of the old school will keep a “blotter” or
some such book wherein these payments are first noted, copying them at
their leisure into the Cash Book. As the Cash Book is a book of original
record, this is not only wrong, but is incidentally unnecessary labor and
hence to be avoided. When payments like these come in, they should be
taken directly to the book-keeper, who should immediately enter them in
the Cash Book.

[Illustration: Figure 10.]

All such payments occurring on any one day are entered in a lump sum
under “Collections,” on the Form 4 for that day. In fact, all cash
received, whether from paymasters’ collections on payrolls or any source
other than cash sales by any of our departments, is taken up on Form
4 as “Collections”. If a bill is paid before the end of the month, it
is treated exactly the same as if it were paid afterward, except that
the date is stamped in a different colored ink. It does not confuse our
accounts, because the amount paid is entered in the “Customers’” column
of the Cash Book and the total of this column is posted at the end of the
month to the credit side of Bills Receivable, Customers, in the ledger.
The “Customers’” column in the Cash Book is solely for receipts from our
charge customers and for nothing else.

If, at any time, we wish to find the total charge sales, we simply find
the total of the amounts shown on Form 7, subtracting credits, if any.
We also use the total sales credited to the various departments on Form
7 in making up our monthly statement for the auditing officer and for
the Inspector. To find out at the end of the month the amount due us on
account, we turn to Bills Receivable, Customers, in the ledger, where the
balance should show the correct amount. This amount should check with the
“Total” column on Form 6 reduced by credits allowed and payments received
prior to the end of the month.

Dead and Live Records.

It will be remembered that all our Forms 9 were placed in one book and
our Forms 6 in another, and that each Form 9 was to be used for two
months, that is, used on both sides. After both sides have been used
these forms are transferred bodily to the book containing our Forms 6,
and placed between the Forms 6 referring to these months. Fresh Forms 9
take the place of those transferred, thus keeping our book “alive” and
placing our dead records where they will be less in the way. The logic
of this is evident when we remember that we use our Charge Book (Form 6)
only at the end of the month, whereas, we use our Form 9 book every day.

As regards Form 8 (charge sales slip) our rolls of triplicate sales slips
for the month should be marked on the outside of each roll with the
date and the name of the department to which each pertains and kept in
a convenient place until the auditing officer has finished his work for
that month, when they should be stored together in some place where they
can be consulted if desired. They should be preserved for such length
of time as may be required by regulations or local laws, depending upon
which is the greater. The original slips may be treated in one of two
ways; they may be sent to the customer with his bill at the end of the
month, or they may be sent to him after he pays his bill. It is felt
that the first method is by far the better.

Forms 5 for the month should be preserved until the auditor has finished
with them, and it is perhaps advisable to keep them until after the next
visit of the inspector. Our Forms 4 are very important and should be kept
until after the inspector has inspected the accounts of the Exchange, if
not indefinitely. Forms 6, 7 and 9 are a part of the permanent records of
the Exchange and should be preserved indefinitely.

The foregoing description of this system of handling charge accounts
may sound formidable to the layman, but in reality, it is not so. As
shown in the graphic chart (Fig. 10) it is a logical system, proceeding
in a simple, orderly way from the charge sales slip to the ledger and
the customer’s bill. It belongs to the class of book-keeping called
“controlled accounts”—each part of the system knits evenly into the
others, and there is a continual process of summation going on throughout
the records. There is no duplicated work and every step is one of
definite progress towards the goal. It will be found to fulfil the
requirements we imposed at the beginning of this essay. It has actually
proved its worth wherever installed. It is equally adapted to the large
and to the small Exchange. Due to the many available opportunities for
checking the correctness of results, mistakes are easily located and
corrected. However, if the checks described are applied, especially those
relating to Form 4, there should be little excuse for a mistake to appear
in any of the higher accounts.


In the light of the preceding discussion of charge sales, our methods
of handling cash sales can be disposed of in a few words. In all cases
of such sales, the clerk simply gives the customer his goods, receiving
the money therefor, makes change if necessary, rings up the amount of
the sale on the cash register and places the cash therein. The most
important part of this transaction, insofar as our system is concerned,
is described in the next-to-last clause. If the salesman once rings up
the correct amount on the cash register, the store is sure that the
transaction is closed, and closed properly. Means to this end will be
discussed under the heading of “Cash Registers”.

It is customary to loan, secured by various kinds of receipts, a suitable
sum to the heads of the various departments of the Exchange for the
purpose of making change. In some cases, it may be advisable to require
them to make a cash deposit to cover these amounts. When the Cashier or
Steward is under bond, it is feasible to turn the “change money” of the
whole Exchange over to him, taking his note for it.

After closing at night, each clerk enters his cash sales on his sales
report (Form 5, Fig. 4) and hands it, together with the cash receipts,
to the Steward or other authorized recipient. The latter counts the cash
immediately, checks it on the clerk’s report and places it one side
until the total cash is checked. He then transfers the item to his own
Form 4, (Fig. 5) and compares the totals for each department with the
cash register readings for those departments, entering the latter, if
they are shown separately for each clerk, on each clerk’s report in the
spaces provided for that purpose. Discrepancies are handled as previously
explained under Charge Sales.

Cash Book.

When the cash is checked and the Steward’s report is correct, he copies
the amounts of cash sales for each department into the Cash Book, putting
each amount in its proper column. All the cash receipts from all the
departments for any one day go on the same line in the Cash Book. On the
other hand, credit nothing in the Cash Book to a department except a cash
sale. Every other receipt of cash from whatever source is recorded in the
Cash Book, also, a separate line being given to each transaction. For
instance, as before explained, whenever one of our charge customers pays
his bill, we give him a separate line in the Cash Book, entering this
amount in two columns, first under “Net Cash” and also under “Customers”.

The Cash Book should have on the “Received” or debit side (the left side)
columns for the following items:—Date, Explanation, Vou., Net Cash,
a column for each department of the Exchange, Customers, Creditors,
Interest and Discount, and at least two spare columns for entering the
pay-day collections, etc. The books should not be too bulky as many cash
books are, and should, of course, be built on the loose leaf plan. A cash
book cannot be designed to suit all cases because of the varying number
and kind of departments pertaining to different Exchanges. However, it
is easy to secure uniformity of principle and method, which is the main
thing. The only point that need vary between different Exchanges is the
number of columns in the book and the headings to same.

[Illustration: Figure 11. (Reduced in size)]

A cash book will be rather expensive if we have it made precisely as we
want it, especially if we have the column headings printed in. There is
no doubt that printed headings make a neater book, but in many cases, the
advisability of incurring the extra expense is open to doubt. Considering
the great variety of stock pages published by various manufacturers,
there is rarely an excuse for ordering specially ruled and printed
sheets. Special ruling are very expensive, especially when we can order
but a small supply. It is found that the sheets shown in Fig. 11 give
perfect satisfaction. The lower sample, having 20 columns, will take
care of almost any Exchange, and by trimming off the two outer columns
of the right hand page, we can secure a capacity of 36 columns. This
would prevent us from keeping Cash Received and Cash Disbursed on pages
that confront each other, but as the number of pages used for the former
usually exceeds greatly those necessary for the latter, this objection
has little weight. If convenience so dictated, there is no reason why the
two sides of the Cash Book or Cash Account could not be kept in different
parts of the book or even in separate books. This would lead to economy
of pages.

The upper of the two forms shown in Fig. 11 would be suitable for small
Exchanges where a large number of columns are not required, as the
left hand side could be used for cash received and the right for cash
disbursed. Several of the right hand pages would have to be wasted each
month on account of the greater number of entries on the debit side. Some
Exchanges use a form similar to the upper one of Fig. 11 except that it
is printed and ruled to order and contains a greater number of columns
than that shown in the cut. The writer knows of one Exchange that has
as many as twenty columns on each side of its Cash Book. Such forms,
however, are exceedingly expensive and should be considered more or less
of a luxury. The forms shown in Fig. 11 cost $1.75 per hundred retail
(without printed headings) and measure 11 × 14 inches, being 11 inches
on the binding side. A sectional post binder to fit any number of these
sheets can be obtained for $3.25 retail.

The Cash Book is used to give a detailed record of all cash transactions.
On the left hand or debit side is entered all cash received and on the
right hand or credit side is entered all cash paid out; the difference in
the sum totals of the respective sides showing at any time the amount of
cash on hand. All items on the credit side of the Cash Book are posted
to the debit side of some account in the Ledger and vice versa. (Bank
drafts, sight drafts and checks belong in the cash account; notes and
time drafts belong to Bills Receivable and Bills Payable accounts.) Our
posting is done only when the books are closed, at the end of the month
or when necessity arises, thus saving an enormous amount of work. As we
keep no _private_ ledger account for each of our creditors or customers,
it follows that the totals of each column in our Cash Book are posted as
lump sums to the credit of or as a debit against the ledger accounts of
Bills Receivable, Bills Payable, or one of the Exchange’s departments,
etc. All miscellaneous receipts that do not properly belong to one of the
departments, customers, etc., are taken up under “Interest and Discounts”.

An important advantage of this method of handling our cash sales is that
we are preparing, as we go along, all the data that will be required
by the Inspector. A discussion of the Credit side of the Cash Book is
postponed until the subject of Purchase Records is taken up. The above
described operations are shown graphically in Fig. 12, where the heavy
lines represent operations of recording or posting and the dotted lines
show possible checking operations. The item of “Other Cash” is, of
course, checked against Form 25, Form 6, or elsewhere, depending upon

[Illustration: Fig. 12.]


In General.

[Illustration: Figure 13, Cover (Reduced in size)]

[Illustration: Figure 13, Coupons Actual size]

Coupons, as it may be superfluous to explain, are credit slips sold to
enlisted men by the Exchange. They are sold on credit, being secured
by notes signed by the purchasers; these notes constituting a lawful
lien on the drawer’s pay are supposed to be redeemed at the next pay
day. The credit slips can be used at any time for purchasing articles at
the Exchange. Exchanges formerly used metal coins or “checks” for this
purpose, but it was considered inadvisable to permit credit to be so
easily counterfeited, transferred, etc., hence the use of paper coupons
has become universal, being covered by mandatory orders in certain

Kinds of Coupons.

There are two classes of coupons, the first being the well known “Coupon
Book” shown in Fig. 13. These books are made in various denominations
ranging from one to five dollars. They are composed of a cover and
several interior pages, the latter being divided by perforations into
five coupons each, representing values of five, ten or twenty-five cents,
depending upon the value of the book. For instance, a $1.00 book contains
three sheets, two composed of five 5c coupons each and one composed of
five 10c coupons. On the cover of each book is printed the serial number
of the book, its value and blank lines for the insertion of the signature
of the person to whom issued, the signature of the Exchange Officer and
the date of issue. It is also customary to have printed on the cover the
words “Not Transferable”. In some cases, on the back cover of each book
is printed a promissory note which, after being signed by the soldier,
is torn off and kept by the Exchange authorities until the value of the
book is collected in cash from the soldier. A variation of this scheme
is to have a separate sheet in each book so printed that it will perform
a like function. In either case, it is expected that when the book is
depleted, the clerk making the last sale shall take up the cover of the
book in order that it may be filed in the Exchange for such period as the
Exchange Officer shall determine. This, for the reason that sometimes
a man will claim that, although he signed up for certain coupons at a
certain time, he failed actually to receive the coupons. The possession
and production by the Exchange of these used-up covers are conclusive
evidence to the contrary.

These coupon books have certain inherent defects that are more or less
serious. In the first place, it is found that they can be used as stakes
in gambling games and can also be sold or otherwise transferred by the
original drawer. This is objectionable, not merely because it is against
regulations, but also because the person who so receives the coupons is
not apt to draw coupons of his own, thus tending to curtail the amount
of coupon sales transacted by the Exchange. This transferring of coupons
can be accomplished in several ways. In large garrisons it will take a
little time before the clerks will know each man by sight, especially
when there is an influx of recruits. If a customer is not known to the
clerks, he might be able to use another soldier’s coupon book unless
the clerk should require him to write his name and compare it with the
signature on the book presented. This would be impracticable at certain
times of the month when the coupon sales were heavy, as it would consume
too much time, thus preventing the clerks from waiting upon other
customers as promptly as they should. It is evident that this kind of a
transfer could be effected with _any_ kind of coupons, and there is no
preventive except to have the clerks become acquainted with every man in
the garrison at the earliest practicable moment. When there is time, the
clerks should, in doubtful cases, require the customer to write his name
and then compare it with the name signed on the book. All clerks should
understand that when any person presents a coupon book not his own the
book is forfeited to the Exchange and the occurrence is to be reported to
the Exchange Officer.

Another way in which coupons can be transferred (unless each coupon is
numbered to correspond to the cover) is as follows:—Private A borrows
from Private B fifty cents in cash and gives him a dollar coupon book in
exchange. Private B removes the staple which binds this book together,
takes the book apart and throws away the cover. He then loosens the
staple in a book which he himself has drawn at the Exchange and carefully
inserts enough of the loose coupon sheets from A’s book to fill it up
again, and bends the staple back into its original position. This scheme
is of wider prevalence than most Exchange Officers would imagine, and it
is very hard to detect.

Another fault to be found with the coupon book lies in the possibility of
there being a wrong number of sheets of coupons in it. Printers are but
human and it sometimes happens that there are too few or too many coupons
in a book. Unless this is detected before issue, it causes an error in
our statement of coupons outstanding. To prevent this, it is necessary to
examine each book before issuing it, (even before handing them over to
the coupon clerk), a tedious operation, one which consumes unnecessary
time and labor.

In most Exchanges, the conviction sooner or later arises that there are
coupons outstanding of which the Exchange has no record. This may occur
through the suspicion that some person has acquired coupons in some
unauthorized manner. When such cases arise, it is customary to place the
Exchange Officer’s signature on the backs of the coupons or to employ
some secret mark. This is a laborious and expensive operation and should
not be resorted to unless necessary. In justice to our printers, be
it said that they use every endeavor to prevent coupons from falling
into unauthorized hands, but Exchange Officers, if inexperienced, do
not always appreciate the importance of taking like precautions. All
coupon books should be kept in a place that is absolutely secure, and
nobody should have access to same, except the Exchange Officer himself.
He should use every effort to prevent a single book from reaching his
customers except in the regular way. He should take from the coupon vault
only enough books to supply the demand, and they should be carefully
accounted for by the clerk who issues them to the men.

Some Exchange Officers use a fac-simile stamp instead of countersigning
each book in person. If this is done, the stamp should be most carefully
guarded, and kept in the personal possession of the Exchange Officer.
When the stamp is made, there should be incorporated in it, some secret
mark, otherwise, any person could secure another similar stamp, to the
possible loss of the Exchange. This secret mark should be in the nature
of a double instead of a single period or some other inconspicuous mark
that would probably not “take” well should any person attempt to produce
a second fac-simile from an impression of the genuine stamp.

The second type of coupon, shown in Fig. 14, corrects some of the faults
of the coupon book. In the first place, it is much cheaper, the first
order being about one-half and subsequent orders costing about one-third
of the price of the coupon books. This is an important saving because the
cost of coupons is a dead loss to the Exchange, and if a satisfactory
coupon can be obtained at a low cost, it should be used as a matter of
course, and the overhead charges correspondingly reduced.

[Illustration: Figure 14.]

As will be noted, these coupons consist of a single sheet of stamps or
coupons, separated by slot perforations, the whole sheet containing
twenty 5c coupons. Considerable experience in this line prompts the
statement that no real advantage is gained by having coupon books
of denominations higher than one dollar. The style of coupon here
illustrated makes a virtue of this fact and all slips are ordinarily made
in the one dollar denomination only. In counting up the coupons after the
day’s work, we know that, regardless of colors, each coupon represents
5c. Another beauty of the scheme is that it is practically impossible
to have strips containing a wrong number of coupons, the method of
manufacture almost precluding such a possibility, thus obviating the
laborious checking process. Still another advantage is that the whole
dollar’s worth of coupons is printed on a single piece of paper, thus
preventing any addition to its value, as is possible with the book when
partially depleted. One might think that the smaller size of these
coupons would make them hard to handle and count, but an officer of
considerable experience in this line of work states that by using the
rubber end of a pencil they can be counted with more facility than can
the other style of coupons. Some Exchanges would probably require each
strip to have attached to it a detachable stub on which the soldier would
be required to receipt for the coupons and also promise to pay for them
at next pay day. In this case, as in the case of the coupon books, such
practice merely adds unnecessary work and serves no useful purpose. On
pay-day, we should have to handle one such stub for every dollar’s worth
of coupons that each soldier had drawn; each of these stubs or cards
would then have to be stamped “Paid” and returned to the soldier. This is
not an efficient method.

Whichever style of coupon is decided upon for use should be printed on
stock of various colors and coupons of one color only should be issued
until it is desirable to have a check on our outstanding coupons. (Of
course, if the books are used, it will be necessary to have the 5c and
the 10c coupons of different colors.) The color should then be shifted
and when coupons of the old color cease appearing, we can arrive at an
approximate check on our outstanding coupon account. We say “approximate”
because it sometimes happens that a man puts away a whole or a partially
used book in a garment and thus inadvertently retires it from circulation
for a space of time that may stretch into months. Of course, this could
be prevented by issuing a notice that all coupons must be presented
before a certain time, and that after that time, no coupons of the old
colors would be accepted. This would give us a fresh starting point as
regards our outstanding coupons, but such a proceeding should be resorted
to only under the most serious circumstances, because it savours somewhat
of a person refusing payment on a draft. When, however, there is good
reason to believe that our Coupons Outstanding account is incorrect, such
a step should be taken immediately, as it is about the only practical way
in which we can correct the account—a very important one.

Regulations Concerning Coupons.

Before explaining at length the system of handling coupon sales advocated
herein, it may be well to examine the regulations with which we must
comply. First, comes par. 15, G. O. 176, W. D., 1909, which reads as

    “15. _Sales on Credit._ When the commanding officer and council
    are agreed that it is to the true interest of the command,
    the former may authorize a credit at the exchange to any
    soldier in good standing to an amount not exceeding in any
    one month one-third of his monthly pay. This will be given
    upon the request of the soldier, in writing, approved by his
    company commander, and these credit checks will be carried
    on the accounts of the exchange as “bills receivable” until
    paid. Soldiers granted credit will be distinctly informed
    that they must make prompt and unsolicited payment to the
    exchange officer on next pay day. Defaulters will be debarred
    the privileges of the exchange and are liable to trial and
    punishment. It is the duty of the soldier who has been given
    credit to pay the amount as soon as he receives his pay,
    and the exchange officer will be present at the place of
    payment to receive the money or make such arrangements as
    will facilitate the payment. Credit will not ordinarily be
    extended to a soldier between the date of last payment on rolls
    before discharge and the date of discharge. When the debt has
    remained unpaid one pay day on which the soldier was paid a
    balance sufficient to discharge such debt and no other means
    of collection is practicable, the exchange officer will notify
    the company or detachment commander, who will note the amount
    on the next pay rolls as “Due Post Exchange —— ——” and on
    succeeding rolls until the debt has been collected, or until it
    is apparent that it can not be collected, when the credit check
    will be turned over to the company or detachment in lieu of so
    much cash at the next distribution of profits as provided in
    paragraph 17.”

In the opinion of many, it is unfortunate that an arbitrary limitation
of credit has been fixed as shown in the first sentence of the above
quoted paragraph, as it tends to work a hardship upon some of our most
valuable soldiers. Most of our older non-commissioned officers and N.
C. staff officers are married and spend most of their pay for articles
that are carried in stock by well equipped Exchanges, such as meats,
groceries, etc. It is not always convenient or even possible for them
to pay cash for purchases, and there is no doubt that they would do a
much larger business with the Exchange if greater credit were allowed
them. It is a well established custom to extend reasonable credit to all
commissioned officers; it would seem but just to extend a proportionate
amount of credit to such N.C.O.’s as might be vouched for by their
respective organization commanders. It is hoped that this limitation
may be modified, but until that occurs, the Exchange Officer has no
discretion in the matter and should be careful to avoid any infraction of
the general rule.

The second sentence of par. 15 also merits more than a passing glance.
It requires a previous request “in writing” by the soldier before credit
coupons can be issued him, and the request must be approved by his
company commander. It is not specifically stated that this request must
be renewed every month, nor is the writer aware that this point has ever
been decided. We may, therefore, assume, when any man has once made this
written request, that credit to the amount of one-third of his monthly
pay be extended to him, that he need not formally renew this request
monthly. Should this interpretation prove fallacious, we must have the
consolidated request (Form 25, to be described hereafter) signed by the
men monthly. If this is done, the list should be signed at the same time
as the pay rolls, to save trouble for the men. It is found that when
there is an unnecessary amount of “red tape” connected with the operation
of securing credit coupons, the men will (perhaps unconsciously) tend to
shun the process, with consequent loss of business to the Exchange. There
is every reason why we should make it as easy as possible for everybody
to transact business with the Exchange and any unnecessary stumbling
blocks should be carefully searched out and removed. The Exchange should
be run on the same general principles which govern a civilian store, and
if the latter subjected its customers to petty annoyances of any kind, it
would soon be driven out of business by lack of trade.

Returning to paragraph 15, it might be remarked that perhaps the best way
in which the men can be “distinctly informed that they must make prompt
and unsolicited payment”, is by incorporating this statement on the
receipt which they sign when the coupons are issued to them. Beside the
other matter contained in par. 15, we should note par. 13 and par. 14 (c)
and (e) of the same order. They read as follows:—

“13. _Checks or Coupons._ The use of checks or coupons representing
values, and exchangeable for merchandise or other charges at the
exchange, is _encouraged_ merely; but care should be taken that these
checks are not disposed of to unauthorized persons, and to provide
against this, they should never be redeemed in cash. When permitted by
the commanding officer, they should be sold by the exchange officer and
regarded as a liability until redeemed.

“The coupon-book system of extending credit to enlisted men will be used
by all exchanges conducted at posts where more than two organizations are
stationed, except at temporary stations and at places where conditions of
service have made it impracticable to procure the coupon books.

“These coupon books will bear the name of the enlisted man to whom issued
and will be honored at the exchange only when presented by the enlisted
man whose name appears on the book.”

“14 (c). _Bills Receivable (Enlisted Men)._—To show the value of checks
issued to enlisted men, and the amount of cash received from them in
payment of their due bills. When checks are issued, the entry will be
‘Cash, Dr. to Bills Receivable.’ The difference between the two sides of
the account will show the amount of due bills on hand unpaid.” (Par. II,
G. O. 201/09.)

“14 (e). _Check Account._—To show the amount of checks outstanding. When
the checks are issued, this account will be credited as above, thus,
‘Bills Receivable, Dr. to Checks.’ The amount of checks received each day
for merchandise will be charged to the account, thus, ‘Checks, Dr. to
Merchandise.’ The difference between the two sides will show the amount
of checks outstanding.”

Note that the outstanding coupons are a _liability_, as they may be
presented as a claim against the Exchange at any time. Of course, the
receipts which the men have given us for these coupons, in other words,
their notes promising to pay us for the coupons, are an _asset_ and
should be carried under Bills Receivable. Some Exchanges call such assets
“Bills Receivable, Credit Coupons”, thus differentiating them from such
as Bills Receivable, Charge Accounts or Bills Receivable, Laundry Coupons.

Paragraph 14 (c) and (e) translated into non-technical language simply
means that when we issue coupon books of a certain value to the men,
we must enter this amount on the left hand or debit side of our
“Bills Receivable” account in the Ledger, thus charging up “Mr. Bills
Receivable”, as it is sometimes explained, with a certain amount for
which he must account. Now, as the Ledger is to be kept according to
the double entry system, we must obey the fundamental principle of this
system, which is, “for every account that is charged (debited) a certain
amount we must credit some other account with the same amount”, hence
the name, double entry. In view of these facts, therefore, we turn to
our Check Account—or Outstanding Coupons, if you prefer to call it so,
and _credit_ this account with the same amount that we charged against
Bills Receivable. When we receive the cash for the men’s notes at pay
day, we _credit_ “Mr. Bills Receivable” with the amount taken in, thus
clearing him of this amount and making him no longer responsible for it.
We have previously, of course, entered this amount on the debit side
of the Cash Book, for the same reason noted above. When the coupons
are presented by the men in payment for articles purchased by them, we
_credit_ “Merchandise” (or the proper department of the Exchange, if
departments are used) with the amount taken in. This, for the reason that
said department is no longer accountable for that amount of merchandise;
we must, therefore credit that department with the proper amount and
charge or debit it against the outstanding coupon or Check account. It
must be remembered that outstanding coupons are a liability against us
and are in the nature of bills payable—except that they are payable only
in merchandise. Hence, if we consider this account as a living person—one
of our creditors—it will appear more logical when we place to his credit
everything we owe him, i. e., the coupons we have given him, and to
charge him the value of the merchandise he has obtained from us in return.

The above prolix explanation will sound puerile to an experienced
accountant; it is not written for him, but for the inexperienced man with
little or no knowledge of scientific book-keeping, who is trying to work
this system or one like it. The writer knows from bitter experience how
hard it is to avoid some of the unexpected pit-falls of double entry.

Now we are in a position to describe the manner of handling our coupon
sales, starting from the very beginning.

Issuing Coupons.

[Illustration: Figure 15. (Reduced in size)]

The first thing to be done is to have the various organizations submit
their lists of men who are entitled to credit at the Exchange. This is
usually done a few days after pay day, it being the excellent custom in
most Exchanges to issue no coupons until about five days after, in order
to attract some of the cash that is apt to be plentiful for only a few
days. One of the best forms for such a list known to the writer is Form
25, shown in Fig. 15. It measures 9 × 20 inches and may be punched to
fit a loose leaf file. It is faint ruled horizontally six lines to the
inch in order to fit typewriter spacing. The length of this form enables
a whole company of 110 men to be entered on its face, without resorting
to the necessity of turning a page. In garrisons where the organizations
are uniformly smaller, the length of the form can be correspondingly
reduced. Each organization fills out one of these sheets on a typewriter,
entering the names of the men in pay roll order in column 3. In column 2
is entered the rank of each man, and in column 4 is entered the amount
of credit he desires, which must not exceed one-third of his pay. The men
sign their names in column 1 and in space A is printed the statement to
which they subscribe—that they request credit to the amount of one-third
of their pay and that they promise to pay for their coupons on the pay
day after drawing same, etc. This list is then sent to the Exchange at
the regular time, preferably a day or two before coupons are to be issued.

There is a point in this connection that sometimes causes trouble, due to
the fact that pay day never comes on the first of the month. There are
two ways of handling the situation. The first is to have the companies
submit their lists to the Exchange on the first of the month and the
Exchange issue coupons on this authority until the last of the same month
with the exception of the five days after pay day, during which time,
no coupons are issued. The men pay for the coupons on the pay day which
occurs in the succeeding month. The principal objection to this method is
that if a man draws his full allowance of coupons on or near the first of
every month, he would, if he deserted a few days before pay day, cause
the Exchange a loss of _twice_ his monthly allowance. The second way of
proceeding obviates this defect: it consists in having the companies
submit their lists a few days after each pay day. The Exchange issues
coupons on this authority and all of these coupons are supposed to be
paid on the pay day which winds up this period. Therefore, it is seen
that the Exchange runs a smaller chance of loss, or rather, the chances
are that the loss will be smaller.

[Illustration: Figure 16, Actual size]

Upon receiving these lists, the coupon clerk at the Exchange takes a
supply of Form 19, shown in Fig. 16, and enters the names of the men at
the top of these cards, one card for each man who is entitled to credit.
This work can be done at odd moments during the month. It is also a good
plan to enter the amount of credit to which the man is entitled. This
data should be entered at the very top of the card where it will catch
the eye. These cards are 3 × 5 inches, specially printed; they fit into
the filing cabinet, to be described later. One standard drawer 15½ inches
long will hold enough cards to take care of a six company post. The cards
should be of fairly good writing stock, but no thicker than is necessary
to insure ease of handling. They can be obtained from any job printer,
but care should be exercised that they measure precisely 3 × 5 inches,
otherwise, they will prove very troublesome to run over rapidly in the
drawer, because some will be larger than others. Plain cards of this
size can be bought at $1.50 per thousand from regular dealers. All cards
pertaining to any one company are behind an index card bearing on its
tab the designation of that company. It is also a convenience to have a
set of alphabetical guides for each company, as they facilitate finding
and filing the cards. After any of these cards receives a record, it is
highly important that it not be lost or stolen, so the drawer containing
them should be locked except when actually in use. When any man applies
for coupon books at the Exchange, he signs his name in the space provided
on the card, the clerk adds his own initials as witness, stamps in the
date and enters in ink or indelible pencil (or preferably by means of
a rubber stamp) the amount of the coupons issued. If the clerk does
not recognize the man, he compares his signature with the same man’s
signature on Form 25, which he should have near him for this purpose and
to see that the man does not overdraw his allowance. He also requires the
man to sign his name on the stub of the coupon slip or the cover of the
coupon book issued. In addition, the clerk should have at hand a strip of
paper on which he has entered in rotation along the left hand margin the
serial numbers of the coupons he has on hand. Such a strip can be struck
off on the adding machine. As coupons are issued, the clerk should enter
opposite each number, the name of the man to whom it was issued. He can
do this while the man is signing the coupons, so no time is wasted. In
the evening, this strip is given to the Steward or cashier and the total
value of coupons issued is entered in the proper place on the Steward’s
daily report (Form 4, Fig. 5). The record of this strip is checked by
comparison with the number of coupons left in the possession of the
coupon clerk.

It is found in practice that Form 19 contains sufficient space for noting
the transactions of any month, for very few men will draw coupons as many
as six times during the month. It will be noted that this scheme does not
contemplate restricting the men to but one drawing during the month, as
is the practice in some places. The Exchange loses trade by such methods,
and much better results are obtained by permitting the men to draw when
they please.

When the end of the month arrives, the coupon clerk disregards it by
continuing to use the same set of cards right along until 24 hours
before pay day occurs. (It should be understood by the whole garrison
that no coupons will be issued during this time, in order to allow the
coupon clerk to work up his pay table collection sheets). By means of an
assistant, the coupon clerk transfers the total of the coupons shown on
each Form 19 to column 10 on Form 25 opposite the name of the man to whom
that particular Form 19 refers. As fractional parts of a dollar are not
issued, $5.00 can be abbreviated to “5”. At the same time, the coupon
clerk reads off the totals of any unpaid cards that have been carried
from the preceding month, these figures being entered in the same manner
in columns 5, 6 or 7, as the case may be. It will be noted that these
cards have no place for “brought forward” entries. This is unnecessary
labor and is therefore omitted. It is no argument against such a practice
to ask what would happen if one of the old unpaid cards became lost,
because we might ask the same question concerning the current cards. The
answer lies in the fact that the checking system will take care of such
cases. In this instance, columns 5, 6 and 7 are checked back to the Forms
25 pertaining to the preceding month.

It will be noted that our Form 25 makes provision for entering Laundry
charges and has in addition a spare blank column for such miscellaneous
collections as may be found desirable. The particulars of the Laundry
entries will be dilated upon later. When the amounts that the various men
of any organization owe to the Exchange have been entered in their proper
columns, each line is added across and the totals due from each man
entered in the proper column. Each column is then totaled on the adding
machine and the footings checked by comparing the total of the total
column with the sum of the totals of the other columns. If they agree,
that sheet is ready for payment, and a like process is instituted with
the other sheets. These sheets and the Forms 19 are the only papers that
need be taken to the pay table.

Pay Table Procedure.

It may be just as well to discuss this point here, because it is related
to our coupon sales more closely than to anything else.

The first thing to do is to make sure there is available a plentiful
supply of change. Where there is no bank convenient to the post and the
men receive their money from a paymaster, he will sometimes agree to
bring with him an amount of change sufficient for the needs of the Post
Exchange, but if there is a bank available, we should hesitate before
imposing upon the good nature of the paymaster to this extent. It is a
great convenience to the men to have their ten dollar bills “changed”,
and no Post Exchange should demur when the men offer such bills in
payment of their debts. We must always remember that the principal reason
why the Exchange exists is to be a convenience to the enlisted man.

There should be three persons at the Exchange table on pay days; the
Exchange Officer to personally receive the cash and make change, the
Steward or book-keeper to read from Forms 25 the amount each man owes,
and a clerk to check this reading with the men’s notes (Form 19), cancel
them and deliver same to the men. A non-commissioned officer of the
organization being paid is stationed beside the Steward to identify the
men. He calls to the Steward the names of the men as they come up, the
Steward calls off the amount that each man owes, the latter gives the
money to the Exchange Officer. The clerk has meanwhile checked the
total amount covered by Form 19 with the amount read off by the Steward,
stamped the card “Paid” and placed it in front of the Exchange Officer
for his inspection. The latter then gives the card to the man with his
change and the incident is closed. It is usually found advisable to have
a selected non-commissioned officer detailed to see that all men report
at the Exchange table.

After payment is finished, the clerk should total the value of the cards
he still holds for each organization and subtract it from the total shown
by the proper Form 25. The sum of all these remainders should equal the
amount of cash actually taken in at the Exchange table. This check should
always be made, and at the earliest possible moment.

It sometimes happens that a man pays for his coupons before pay day; he
may have been discharged or transferred, etc. In such a case this fact
should be stamped on Form 25 and the total of such amounts deducted at
the bottom of the sheet before going to the pay table. The amount of such
payments should also be entered on the debit side of the Cash Book as
“Pvt. Jones, Co. A, ... $3.00 ... $3.00”, the sums coming under the net
cash and the credit coupons columns respectively. If he also paid $1.40
for laundry work done, this entry would be “Pvt. Jones, Co. A, ... $4.40
... $3.00 ... $1.40”, the sums coming under net cash, credit coupons and
laundry coupons respectively. The amounts collected at the pay table are
entered in the Cash Book in the same way, all on one line. At the end of
the month or when the books are closed, the total of the credit coupons
column is posted as a lump sum to the credit of the Bills Receivable.
Credit Coupons account in the Ledger and the Laundry collections are
handled in the same way.

Having traced this branch of the coupon business to its end, let us
retrace our steps and follow another branch until we come to the same
goal, the Ledger.

Coupon Sales.

When the men receive their coupons, they use them for purchasing articles
from the Exchange. The clerk making a coupon sale should identify the man
making the purchase and make sure he is using his own coupons. He should
also satisfy himself that there is no fraud, forgery, etc., connected
with the coupons. These two operations are ordinarily instantaneous,
requiring no waste of time whatever. The clerk then gives the purchaser
the desired articles, tears off a corresponding value in coupons and
drops them in his private drawer or compartment, meanwhile ringing up the
sale on the cash register and giving the purchaser the receipt printed by
the register.

[Illustration: Figure 17, (Reduced in size)]

After the day’s work is over, each clerk handles his coupon sales in
the same manner as previously described for charge sales, and they are
checked by the Steward as before. The latter enters on his Form 4, (Fig.
5) the amount of coupon sales made by each clerk, also, the total amount
of coupons issued during the day. All these coupon transactions for any
one day are then entered on a single line of Form 26 (Fig. 17) which is
the same as that used for Form 7. As will be noted from an inspection
of the cut, the coupons issued are entered in column A and the total
receipts from all departments are entered in column B. These receipts are
distributed among the department as shown, the value carried in column B
equalling the sum of the amounts carried in the columns to the right.

Each Form 26 refers solely to one month’s transactions, there are no
“brought forward” items. At the end of the month or whenever the books
are closed, all of the columns on this form are footed up and the totals
checked across. The total of column A should agree with the strip record
which the coupon clerk has been keeping as previously described. The
detailed process of checking this account will be described later, but it
is evident that if the Steward has made out his daily reports (Form 4)
correctly, and correctly copied the coupon records to Form 26, there can
be no error in the latter statement. After successfully withstanding the
checking process, the total of column A is posted as a lump sum to the
debit side of “Bills Receivable, Credit Accounts” in the Ledger, writing
the entry thus:—“Aug. 31 Credit Coupons $54.00”. It will be remembered
that we must also credit this amount to the Outstanding Coupon account.
We now transfer the total of the Store column to the Store Account in our
Ledger, entering on the right hand or credit side, “Aug. 31 Coupon sales
$8.15”. We proceed in like manner with our other departments. The total
of column B must, of course, be charged (debited) against the Outstanding
Coupon account in the Ledger.

A summary of all these operations is shown graphically in Fig. 18.
The solid lines show how a record is carried through the books until
it arrives at the Ledger. The dotted lines show the various checking
operations that are possible. Attention is especially invited to checking
Forms 25 and 26 against each other.

[Illustration: Figure 18.]

In leaving the subject, it is deemed proper to state that the Exchange
Officer should keep a single entry record of all unused coupons on hand.
When they are first received from the printer, he should carefully check
them in person and see that they are safely stored. His record of them
should show the numbers and colors of the coupons and exactly how many of
the various colors he has on hand at any time.

Coupons should be issued at a fixed time daily, and the Exchange Officer
should see to it that the men are never disappointed, but are always able
to secure their coupons at the specified time.


In General.

One of the most important points connected with the running of any store,
is that referring to the manner in which the records of the stock are
kept. In most Exchanges, the stock records are not good; usually, because
a clumsy or inefficient system of records is in force. An endeavor will
be made in the description to be given hereafter to set forth a system
whereby misuse of stock will be prevented and an accurate estimate of
the profits made by each department will be possible. The objection
may be made to this system that in a large exchange it would require
the services of one clerk to keep the stock records alone, but when we
realize that an inefficient stock record can and usually does result in
losses that are sometimes much greater in value than this clerk’s wages,
we see the futility of such an argument. It is useless to try to avoid
the conclusion that we _must_ keep accurate track of our merchandise.
In an exchange at, say, a 5-company post, it is economy to pay one man
$100.00 per month or even more, to take exclusive charge of the stock

In the first place, it is essential to make clear in the minds of the
Exchange authorities the difference between a stock room and a store
room. The former is for storing merchandise that is bought in large
quantities and will not be needed in the various departments for some
time. The merchandise in the stock room is charged to it on the Stock
Records until it is needed in one of the departments when it is sent to
and its value charged against that department and credited to the stock
room. A store room in the sense now considered is a place in which we
may store the merchandise belonging to and already charged against any
department. This “place” may be but a corner or a shelf in the stock room
or any other room. As a general rule, it is best to charge merchandise
direct to the proper department, as it saves time and work. Then, if
the department concerned finds that it is inconvenient to keep this
merchandise on its counters or shelves, it can transfer some of it to
the proper store room until needed. Both the stock room and the store
rooms should be under the jurisdiction of the stock clerk, the former
exclusively so. Efficient locks should be provided for these rooms and he
or his agent should be the only persons authorized to handle the stock

The stock record is simply a stock ledger in which we keep accurate
account of the numbers of articles acquired and dispensed. If
practicable, it should show at all times the exact number of each article
that we have on hand. Such a record is sometimes called a “Perpetual
Inventory”. It would not be practicable in the usual case for us to keep
such a record in post exchange business for the reason that it would
be extravagant for us to record each cash or coupon sale made during
the day. For example, during certain days of the month, such as pay
day and the first day upon which coupons are issued, it is manifestly
impracticable for us to make out a sales slip for each cash or coupon
purchase because there are so many five and ten cent purchases that the
cost in time and labor involved in such a method would outweigh the
advantages gained. If the average sale amounted to a dollar or so, it
might pay us to use sales slips similar to those used in recording our
charge sales. Therefore, most Exchanges do not require cash or coupon
sales to be recorded except on the cash register. Hence, there is no
itemized record of the merchandise that is sold during the day for cash
or for coupons, which in turn makes it impossible to keep a perpetual
inventory. The result is that an inventory must be taken at least once a

If we now take such an inventory and calculate the selling price of all
the goods found, the result will represent the receipts each department
should turn in if they sold out all of their stock. If we keep adding
to this amount the selling price of all merchandise that we receive for
and issue to the departments for sale, and deduct the selling price of
all articles which each department turns in to the stock room, we shall
have, at the end of the month, figures which represent the receipts
which should be turned in if each department were to “sell out”. By
subtracting from these amounts the actual receipts turned in during the
month, we find the selling price of the articles which _should_ be on
hand at the end of the month. By taking an inventory at the end of the
month and figuring out the selling value of the articles actually found,
we can check the operations of our various departments. If there is any
great discrepancy, it would show that our clerks are, in effect, taking
articles from our shelves and the Exchange is not getting the benefit of
its sales. It is not to be expected that these amounts will agree to the

Now if there is but one clerk in any department, it is easy to fasten
the responsibility for any shortage, but where there are several,
special steps must be taken in order to do this. Suppose we have four
clerks in the store department; if they sell from the various shelves
indiscriminately, or if one or more of them are sometimes away on duty,
it would be manifestly unjust to hold any particular clerk or even
all of them responsible for any shortages which might occur. The only
solution lies in sub-dividing the store into sections, putting one clerk
in sole charge of each and allow no clerk to touch the stock in another
man’s section. In case a clerk in unavoidably absent, an inventory of
his section can be made in a few minutes, and, if the results at the
end of the month show it to be desirable, checked against the sales he
had made. In this way, both the clerk and the Exchange are protected. A
“roving” clerk or the Steward can take the place of the absentee in case
of necessity. Heavy sellers like tobacco and the like can be placed in
the sections of two or more clerks, thus taking care of pay day rushes.
Unless some such scheme is adopted it will be absolutely impossible to
fix the responsibility for any loss the Exchange may incur.

Those departments which are, in effect, “manufacturing” departments, such
as the lunch room, meat market, etc., also require special treatment,
especially in the matter of figuring the selling price of merchandise
issued to them.

It goes without saying that the honesty of the stock clerk must be above
suspicion. In case a civilian is employed, it is good policy—in fact, it
should be considered imperative that he be required to execute a bond for
the faithful performance of his duties.

With the above general explanation of the broad principles of this
particular system, we are now prepared to discuss it more in detail.
It seems generally conceded that the stock records can be kept most
easily, cheaply and efficiently by means of the card index system. The
present regulations, previously cited, specify an “inventory _book_”,
and inspectors are prone to interpret the regulations literally. It
makes little difference in our case which method is used, except that
the card system is more efficient, as before stated. The handling of
the inventory book requires no explanation, so, in order to provide for
the time (which should be in the near future) when the up-to-date card
system of inventory is specifically allowed in regulations, the following
description is given. It is hoped that it will prove a conclusive answer
to those who ask, “But suppose you lose a card.”

Inventories of Stock.

[Illustration: Figure 19, (Reduced in size)]

Let us start by taking an inventory of the stock we have on hand in the
stock room. We take a pack containing a known number of cards, preferably
numbered in sequence, like those shown in Fig. 19, and enter on the
top line the name of each article as we come to it; in the right upper
corner, the unit in which we sell it, whether pounds, bottles or what
not; and at the right of the uppermost data line, the number of such
units that we actually find on hand. We do this for each article in
succession, using a different card for each. If we have various grades
of the same kind of article (cigars, for instance) selling at different
prices, a separate card will, of course, be made out for each different
grade. (Never sell the same article at two different prices. For example,
do not sell cigars for “10 cents each, 3 for a quarter”. Sell them at
either price and put in a different brand of equal quality at the other
price. It is proper to give reduction on a sale of a box of cigars at a
time, but sell them _from the stock room_ in such a case, and not from
the store. Another way, permitting sale from the department’s shelves,
is by means of a discount slip, which will be touched upon later. The
first method, however, probably suits our purposes best, especially when
combined with the second.) The cards mentioned above should be left with
the articles to which they refer until the inventory for that department
is complete. We then look over the shelves to see that there is a card
with every article, thereby proving that our inventory is complete, a
point of superiority over the book form of inventory. We then gather up
and count the cards to make sure that none are missing. The cards are
then filed alphabetically behind a tabbed index card referring to that
department, or that particular section, if the department is sub-divided.
This same procedure is followed in taking inventory of merchandise in the
store, lunch room, etc., except that a different colored card is used for
each department. All sections of the same department use cards of the
same color. As each department will have more or less merchandise in its
store room, it will probably be best to take the store room inventories
first, then take the articles in the sales rooms. Enter partial totals in
pencil and the total in ink or indelible pencil on the first line under
the heading, “On Hand”, the date being entered at the left. The number on
hand, multiplied by the unit cost and selling prices, respectively, will
give the total cost and the total selling price of all the articles on
that card. For this purpose, the unit cost and selling prices are entered
at the upper left hand corner of each card. The total cost prices are
used in our inventories shown on our monthly statement, and the total
selling prices are used in our stock records only. In large exchanges,
these cards are not used again until the next inventory is taken, so it
is seen that they will last for several months.

Merchandise Purchased.

When merchandise arrives, it is cared for as described under “Purchase
Records” and when the total cost and selling values of the goods on any
invoice have been figured and transportation charges, etc., distributed,
the selling values are entered on Form 17, shown in Fig. 20. Two copies
of this form are used every day, one for cost prices and one for selling
prices. Each invoice requires but one line on each of these forms, so
one form is ordinarily ample for a day’s stock transactions. In the
left hand column is entered the number of the invoice and in the Dr.
column pertaining to each department is entered the selling price of all
articles which are covered by that particular invoice. The sum of all the
values entered in the Dr. columns on any one line should therefore equal
the selling price of all articles covered by the invoice whose number
appears at the left.

This same procedure is followed with all invoices received, and therefore
covers all merchandise transactions. It will be noted that there are
no “Requisitions”, properly so-called, in cases like this where the
incoming goods are sent direct to a department. The department head
receipts for such goods by simply placing his name or initials in the
right hand column of the retained copy of our original order. (See
Purchase Records.) This simplified way of handling such a transaction
saves an enormous amount of unnecessary work, and is just as sound as the
Requisition System.

Transfers Between Departments.

[Illustration: Figure 20, (Reduced in size)]

This proposition has previously been mentioned, but we purpose now to
show in detail how such a transaction is effected. Let us suppose that
the lunch room needs a ham, and it is desired to purchase same from the
market department. Assume further that the selling price of this ham
is $3.25. It is evident that we must first credit the market with this
amount. This is done by means of a “turn-in-card”, Form 12, shown in Fig.
21. The card is filled out as shown, (the name of the article is not
essential), is signed by the stock clerk and is given to the head of the
market department as a credit for the ham, which is then issued to the
lunch room man on a regular requisition. The requisition cards and the
turn-in-cards are precisely alike, except that the latter are printed
in red ink. With the exception of the signature, therefore, Fig. 21 is
also a reproduction of the requisition upon which the ham is issued to
the lunch room. These cards are of standard size, 3 × 5 inches, and are
of various colors, depending upon the color scheme adopted as described
under “Charge Sales”. Hence, we may assume that the market’s turn-in
card was printed in red on a buff card and the lunch room’s requisition
was printed in black on a salmon colored card. The cards can be bought
cheaply with “horizontal ruling”, thus cutting down some of the bill for
specially printing the cards. It costs less to have the turn-in cards
printed in red than it would to have a special form of card printed, and
they are better, besides.

[Illustration: Figure 21]

In issuing the ham to the lunch room, the stock clerk should note on
the requisition, “Cr. Market”. He then enters the transaction on Form
17 as shown in Fig. 20. In all such transfers, the sum of the credits
on any line should, of course, equal the sum of the debits. It is not
essential to number these requisitions and turn-in slips because the date
stamped at the top is sufficient to enable us to identify any particular
transaction. The market man would hand in his credit slip to the Steward
with his daily report of sales. The stock clerk would hand in the
requisition (receipted by the lunch room man) with his Form 17 for that

There is still another transaction for which we must provide and that is
the operation of returning to our creditors goods which we have received
from them. This may arise through some defect in the merchandise or
through some other cause. Such a transaction is handled in exactly the
same manner as before. See entry opposite No. 7343 in Fig. 20 where we
have credited the store with $7.60. The goods were received on this
invoice and deduction made on same for this amount. If this invoice
pertains to an account already closed, we can make out an invoice of our
own, give it any desired number and give the store credit as before.

Goods which are returned to us by our customers are credited to their
accounts through the sales records as before described and do not affect
the working of the stock records. Wastage, breakage, etc., is credited to
departments by means of this same “turn-in” card; so, also, is discount
given on goods sold in quantity, as a box of cigars, for example.

Since the whole operation of accounting for our goods on the basis of
selling price is purely for the purpose of protecting our stock, and not
for the purpose of calculating our monthly profit and loss sheets, it
is seen that it is necessary to make out another copy of Form 17 daily,
in order to record the same transfers, issues, etc., on a _cost_ price
basis. This will be discussed more fully later, but let it be stated here
that this work is necessitated by the rule which requires us to base our
statement of assets, insofar as merchandise is concerned, upon the cost
price of same. This, for the reason that it is not sound practice to
anticipate profits. Therefore, our inventories, _when carried as assets_,
must be based on cost prices, and in order to secure a true statement of
profits earned, we must record the cost price of all merchandise that has
been purchased during the month and distribute this cost properly among
the departments.

At the end of each day’s work, the stock clerk signs his Form 17 for
that day and fastens to it all invoices, retained copies of orders
(accomplished as previously described) and requisitions that are entered
on said Form 17. These papers are really vouchers to this report and
should remain with it until they have been checked against it. The whole
bunch of papers is handed in to the Steward and Form 17 is checked as
soon as possible. After this is completed, the invoices and the retained
copies of our original orders which pertain to them are handled as
described under Purchase Records; their function as a part of the system
of stock records having ceased.

Consolidating Stock Transactions.

The stock record is composed of two parts—one relating to _cost_ prices
and the other to _selling_ prices. In all other respects, these two parts
are identical and are handled in the same way. Each “selling” Form 17 is
entered on a single line of the “selling” stock record, and each “cost”
Form 17 is abstracted to a single line of the “cost” stock record. One
page of the stock record (Form 27) is shown in Fig. 22. Only the left
hand page is shown; the other departments are supposed to be on a right
hand page, confronting the one shown in the cut. In cases of departments
where credit transfers do not exist, the CR column can be omitted, with a
resulting saving in space.

Checking Stock and Sales.

At the end of the month, or whenever our books are closed, we total each
column on the adding machine and enter these totals on the next blank
line, as shown, and then, when our inventory is taken, the value thereof
at selling price is computed and entered just below these totals in
the appropriate columns, and subtracted from them. The remainders, it
is evident, should equal the total sales for the period considered. In
order to compare these amounts, we now enter the total sales for each
department in its proper column and find the difference between these
figures and those immediately over them, and enter the discrepancies
at the foot of the columns. These operations are shown in the figure.
Theoretically, the amounts in the CR columns should just balance the
discrepancies in the DR columns, but in actual practice, this state of
affairs will rarely occur. The resulting net discrepancies, if small,
are due, primarily, to wastage, failure to sell exact weights, etc. If
these discrepancies are large, the cause thereof should be promptly

It is easily seen that this scheme permits us to make a check on any
department at any time by simply taking an inventory of that department.
All other data that we need for such a check are already available, and,
as it would not take long to take an inventory of a single department,
these checks should afford us a most efficient means of keeping track
of our departments. It should be unnecessary to state that these check
inventories should be taken without warning, and, preferably, by the
Exchange officer himself.

If this system of handling stock is faithfully carried out, one of the
greatest chances for “leakage” in the Post Exchange will be absolutely
prohibited. It requires work, but no more so than any other efficient
stock record, and the results are superior to those obtained from any
other system known to the writer. If any exchange employee objects to the
system on the ground that it entails too much work, it might be safely
assumed that his real objection lies in the system’s efficiency.

[Illustration: Figure 22, (Reduced in size)]


In most Exchanges, the custom obtains of keeping in the ledger a separate
account for each creditor, i. e., each person or firm from whom goods are
purchased. This entails an enormous amount of work, and as this work can
be done by none but an efficient employee, it also entails a considerable
unnecessary expense. In the system to be described, this work is reduced
to a minimum, and while each of our creditors has his ledger account,
this account is kept in such form as to require no duplication of our
records, and, at the same time, to tell us at any time exactly how we
stand with each of our creditors.

Purchase Orders.

Let us start with the process of ordering our merchandise. This is done
on Form 15, shown in Fig. 23. By means of carbon paper, a duplicate of
our order is entered on Form 28, shown in Fig. 24. The original goes
to our creditor as an order; these orders are numbered consecutively
throughout the year, or even over a longer space of time, should it be
found desirable. Form 28 goes to the Receiving Clerk and is held by
him on a Shannon file until the goods arrive. He then checks the goods
against this form and issues them as described under “Stock Records”.
A variation of this method, known as the “blind tally”, is worked by
making out a triplicate copy on Form 28, this copy to have the “quantity”
column blank, which is easily effected by slipping a piece of paper
above it to receive the carbon record which would otherwise be printed
in that column. The receiving clerk then has no idea of the quantities
ordered and fills in the “quantity” column himself. A comparison of
this with the duplicate (kept locked up in the office) quickly shows us
whether we received all of our goods. This system has broken up some very
obscure practices. In either system, it should be noted that we need not
await the arrival of the invoice, unless it is desired to do so, before
issuing goods to departments. The columns at the right of Form 28 are for
convenience in calculating selling prices, etc.

[Illustration: Figure 23

Natural size of sheet about 8 × 10 inches]

[Illustration: Figure 24]

As previously noted, the receiving clerk (or stock clerk, whoever handles
this work) hands in at the close of business each day, two copies of Form
17, one covering the selling price of all stock which has arrived or
been transferred during the day, and the other covering the cost price
of same. Attached to these forms are all requisitions and receiving
records (Form 28) covered by these Forms 17. The Steward sees that each
receiving record is correctly calculated and properly entered on _both_
copies of Form 17. (He, also, at this time, sees that the requisitions
are properly entered on both forms.) The receiving records are then filed
in a Shannon drawer to await the arrival of invoices or for comparison
with them if they have already arrived. For convenience, they are filed
behind alphabetical guides according to the names of our creditors. When
the invoices arrive, they are filed in the same manner and in the same
drawer. They would, therefore, naturally tend to find each other.

Before the receiving record is sent from the office to the receiving
clerk in the first place, the order is entered in our Purchase Record,
which, as its name indicates, is a chronological record of all our
purchases of merchandise of whatever sort. Hire of services, of course,
is not entered in this record.

[Illustration: Figure 25, (Reduced in size)]

There are various forms in use for Purchase Records, invoice Records,
etc., and a study of several of them leads us to advocate the use of Form
29, shown in Fig. 25 as being the best suited to the work in hand. This
is specially ruled and printed and like most of the other forms described
is as well suited to the needs of a small exchange as a large one. They
will cost about $12.00 per thousand and a good substantial binder for
them will cost from $2.75 to $11.00, depending upon the quality of the
binding. One and a quarter inch back is large enough for our purpose; the
sheets are 10¼ × 10½ inches, the former being the binding side.

When our order is first made out, we enter in the proper column of the
purchase record, the name of the firm on whom the order is drawn. This
is the only entry made at this time, and the retained copy of the order
(the receiving record) is then sent to the receiving clerk. When the
invoices arrive, they are stamped as shown in Fig. 26, the 1st and 2d
lines of this stamp are filled in, their date is entered in the left hand
columns of the purchase record and the invoices are then filed as before
described. In this way, the office keeps track of how fast the stock
is arriving, because the number of firm names entered on the purchase
record will show us the number of outstanding orders, and the number of
dated entries will show us the number of invoices that have arrived which
have not yet been checked up by the Steward (usually because the goods
have not arrived). When the goods arrive, whether they follow or precede
their invoices, and the receiving clerk has checked them into stock and
returned Form 28 to the office, the purchase price is entered in the
Purchase-Credit column shown. This purchase price disregards our cash
discount, which is cared for in the cash book. However, if there is any
allowance due us for returning all or a part of the goods on any invoice,
the amount of such rebate is entered in the Debit-Purchase column. This
is the only use to which this column is put.

[Illustration: Figure 26]

Let us suppose that we are now ready to pay a bunch of invoices. Proceed
as follows:—

1. Take the invoice file, and, starting with the letter “A”, go through
the file, taking the accomplished invoices as you come to them. All those
relating to any one firm should be found together, as before mentioned,
thus saving much time at this stage.

2. Having your invoices, make out a voucher (Form 14, Fig. 27) for each
firm or creditor concerned, entering thereon all invoices relating to
that firm. If the buying is done properly, there should be plenty of room
on the voucher for these invoices. (In case of a firm from whom we make
almost daily purchases, we hold the invoices and make one payment at the
end of the month.)

3. As you go along, have a dating stamp handy and stamp the date on
each invoice as you make out the corresponding voucher. If the invoice
is discounted, stamp the date in the “Discounted” space; if there is no
discount, stamp the date opposite the word PAID (see Fig. 26). At the
same time, enter the voucher number (which may, and probably will differ
from the invoice number) in blue pencil on the proper space of this same
stamped impression.

[Illustration: Figure 27, (Reduced in size)]

4. When all the invoices are finished, take the vouchers, and, starting
with the top one, find where each invoice is entered in the purchase
record and stamp the date in the PAID column opposite each entry. These
places are easily found by reading the invoice numbers entered on the

5. While you are stamping these dates, _compare, as you go along, the
amount of the invoices as entered on the vouchers, with the amounts
entered in the purchase record_.

6. Now take the vouchers and enter them in the Cash Book on the right or
credit side. In the “net cash” and “creditors” columns should be entered
the exact amounts actually paid, in the Discount column should be entered
the amount of discount allowed. Discount is always shown in the cash book
and on the vouchers in red ink, to avoid confusion with credits, which
should be shown in black.

7. After the cash book has been posted, the proper checks are made out,
ready for the signature of the Exchange Officer. They and the vouchers
are then mailed to the various creditors.

8. The paid invoices are then placed in a Shannon file drawer by
themselves where they can be consulted easily. They form a complete file
of sub-vouchers to the cash account for the month. They should never be
mailed to our creditors for the purpose of having them receipted; it
takes too much energy and time to get them back. In case our creditor
fails to return our voucher, we can still prove payment, beyond a
_reasonable_ doubt, by producing the canceled check (which he must
release sooner or later) and the original invoice exactly corresponding
to it in value. One authority goes so far as to say,—“If a check bears
no evidence as to its purpose but can readily be identified with a
particular bill or invoice, it still is a better voucher than a receipted
bill, ... a mere receipt for so much money, which can readily be forged,
is poor evidence of a legitimate payment, but a paid check, properly
endorsed and otherwise identified as representing a definite liability,
is pretty fair proof that the money has reached the creditors.” (P. 49,
Vol. 6, Enc. Commerce and Accounting.)

As a matter of fact, we sometimes experience considerable difficulty
in getting even the vouchers back from our creditors. Lieut. Schudt,
at the Fort Levett Exchange, hit upon a scheme which tends to lessen
this difficulty. This is, simply to have the vouchers printed on a card
of suitable weight; the reverse of each card being printed in the form
of a self-addressed penalty post card. Our creditor, after dating and
receipting the voucher, simply drops it into the mail box without the
additional trouble of mailing it in an envelope.

The Voucher Check System.

A much more efficient system than that just described, one which we
hope will some day be prescribed by regulations, is the “voucher check”
system. This system is rapidly forcing its way to the front through the
merits of its sheer efficiency, and is now in force in the business
administration of many large concerns, the Pennsylvania Railroad, for
example. The system is founded on the indisputable proof of payment that
is afforded by an endorsed and paid check. As one eminent authority on
auditing, has said,—“If a check bears on its face or back any indication
of its purpose, it is the best receipt for money paid that can be

The voucher check system does away with separate “vouchers”, as we in
the Army are accustomed to think of them; the checks themselves are our
vouchers. The checks are somewhat different from the usual type, as they
bear on their face a statement of the invoices they pay. In fact, they
contain substantially the same matter as is shown on our regular voucher.
Form 30, Fig. 28, shows a voucher check that would be entirely suited
to our use. It may be unnecessary to explain, the dates, numbers and
amounts of the invoices are entered at the right in the proper spaces,
the amounts are totaled, rebates, allowances, etc., are deducted, the
discount applied to the remainder and the check proper (left hand part)
made out accordingly. Form 30a, shown in the same figure, is the carbon
copy, the original being made out in indelible pencil. The right hand or
coupon part of this duplicate is torn off, pinned to and mailed with the
original check. It gives our creditor a memo of the payment, rendering it
unnecessary for him to hold the check until he can make a special note
of the payment, thus helping him out and at the same time expediting the
process of cashing in our check. The left hand part of Form 30a remains
in the check book and performs the same function as the regulation check
stub. It will be noted that we thus save the labor usually expended in
filling out our stubs and in addition, we are not liable to accidentally
forget to fill out the stubs altogether, as sometimes happens with the
regular style of check book.

The form and size of these voucher checks lend themselves very readily to
manufacture in the same “make-up” as certain kinds of sales books, but
the ordinary style of duplicating book is probably just as good as the
more elaborate kinds. The checks should be printed three to the page and
care should be taken that the duplicate forms are “in register” with the
originals, otherwise, the carbon copy data will not appear opposite the
proper notations.

[Illustration: Figure 28, (Reduced in size)]

When these voucher checks are returned to us by our banker, we file them
in a check filing drawer, equipped with sets of monthly tabbed guides,
according to the voucher numbers, thus forming the voucher record for our
cash disbursements.

It is hard to find a weak spot in the check voucher system, but some
inspectors seem to object to it, so, until it is specifically authorized
by the War Department, the inexperienced Exchange Officer would do well
to stick to the system previously described.

To revert to our purchase record sheets: there is no necessity for noting
thereon the amount paid on each invoice or the discount on same, as is
sometimes done. This information will be shown in the cash book, and
data should not be repeated unnecessarily. The remaining two columns
(Balances) are used only when closing the books. Whenever this is done,
the balance on each order is brought out to the proper column, the amount
we owe being entered in the credit side of this column, and the amount
due us being entered on the debit side. The total of the credit side of
the Purchase column is then posted as a lump sum to the credit side of
the “Bills Payable Merchandise” account on the general ledger, and the
total of the debit side is posted to the debit side of the same account.
Ordinarily, there will be no such debit entries. It will be seen that the
net balance of the Purchase Record and of the above account should equal
the difference between the total purchases and the sum of the totals
shown in the “Creditors” and the “Discounts” columns in the cash book.


The right or credit side of the cash book is, in general, of the same
form as the debit side. See Fig. 11. As all distribution of merchandise
to the various departments is made through the stock records, there is
no necessity of trying to duplicate this information on the pages of the
cash book. We, therefore, lump all merchandise payments under the heading
“Creditors” and reserve a column for such payments only. In a similar
manner, all payments for services rendered in the various departments
could be entered under a heading, “Labor”, and the proper distribution
or pro-rata share of each department could be shown on the receipted pay
roll, as explained hereafter.

Other columns that will be needed are:—Maintenance, Fixtures, Interest
and Discount, Appropriations, and Expense. All disbursements which
can not be placed in one of the other columns should be entered under
Interest and Discount. Under Appropriations, enter all disbursements
voted by the Exchange Council for Athletics, Dividends, Sick in
Hospital, etc. Under Fixtures should go all expenditures for permanent
equipment (new) of the Exchange, and under Maintenance, all money spent
for repairs, replacing of old equipment by new, and the like. In the
Expense Column we carry such items as wastage, breakage, telephone and
telegraph bills, fuel, light, insurance, printing and stationery, and
such expendable supplies as twine, paper, etc., as are used in carrying
on the business. When the Exchange Officer or authorized agent makes a
purchasing trip on purely Exchange business, his authorized expenses
should be entered in this column. Exchange Councils differ in their
interpretations of what such expenses should be, and the Exchange Officer
should have it recorded in the proceedings of the Council that such
allowances of expenses are authorized.

To sum up:—the columns of the credit side of the cash book, reading from
left to right are as follows:—Date; Description of item entered, giving
name of creditor and a clue to the articles on the invoices; Voucher
No.; Check No.; Net Cash; Discount; Creditors (or Merchandise); Labor;
Appropriations; Fixtures; Interest and Discount; Expense; Sundries, and
perhaps, one or two spare columns.

At the end of the month or when the books are closed, the totals of the
various columns are posted to the debit side of the General Ledger as

Creditors posted to Bills Payable, Mdse.

Interest and Discount to Interest and Discount.

Discount to Interest and Discount.

Fixtures to Fixtures (Exchange or Laundry, as the case may be).

The items entered in the Expense column must be distributed, such items
as cannot properly be posted to the account of any of the departments
must be posted to the “General Expense” account in the General Ledger.
The same rule applies to Labor and to Sundries. The items in the
Appropriations column must also be distributed among the proper ledger
accounts, such as Athletics, Dividends, Sick in Hospital, etc., as the
case may be.



The ledger is the book which shows us the status of every part of our
business. It is the most important book that we keep, and, consequently,
it should be kept with great care. Every transaction, no matter how
small, sooner or later finds its way to the ledger, although it will not
be given the dignity of a line to itself. The ledger is, of course, kept
on the double entry system.


There are several stock forms for ledger sheets, that shown as Form 30,
in Fig. 30, being one of the best, as the center balance column saves
much space. Perhaps the most convenient size is 11¼ × 11⅞ inches, which
gives about the right amount of room in all columns. These sheets,
printed and ruled as shown, cost $12.00 per thousand, retail. Leather
tabbed indices cost $1.65 per set and a high grade ledger binder costs
$12.00, although a cheaper type, known as a “transfer” can be obtained
for a price as low as $2.75, but it would not give the service and
satisfaction of the regular type of ledger. In our system, a ledger with
a 1¼ inch back should prove of ample size.

[Illustration: Figure 30, (Reduced in size)]

Live accounts only should be kept in the ledger; as soon as an account
has been closed out, the pages containing same should be taken out and
placed in a ledger transfer binder. The same procedure should be followed
with the filled pages of live accounts just as soon as there becomes
little chance of their being consulted frequently.

Ledger Accounts.

As has been previously described, our method of handling our charge
accounts has rendered it unnecessary for us to keep a private ledger
account with each of our charge customers. To do so would be merely to
repeat information which we already possess. Also, our Purchase Record
has obviated the necessity of a separate ledger account with each of our
creditors, for the same reason.

Having no _private_ ledger accounts, it follows that this book then
becomes a “General Ledger”, holding only general accounts, such as Bills
Payable, etc.

Some of our general accounts should be sub-divided in order to give us a
better idea of what the business is doing. Take the Expense account, for
example. It is usually desirable to classify our expenses as nearly as
possible under the following headings:—

    Fuel and Lights,
    Freight and Express on out-going goods,
    Printing and Stationery,
    Telephone and Telegraph,
    Office, including expendable supplies used and not distributed
      to departments.

Another example is Bills Payable, which is divided into Charge Accounts,
Credit Coupons, Enlisted Men’s Laundry, etc., as circumstances dictate.

A complete list of the accounts in our ledger should run about as

    1. Post Exchange (Synonyms:—Present Worth, Surplus, Net Worth, etc.).
    2. Bills Receivable, Notes. (Entrance fees of incoming organizations.)
    3. Bills Receivable, Charge Accounts.
    4. Bills Receivable, Credit Coupons.
    5. Bills Receivable, Enlisted Men’s Laundry.
    6. Check Account. (Outstanding Coupons.)
    7. Bills Payable, Mdse. (Or Creditors.)
    8. Exchange Building. (If not a Government building.)
    9. Laundry Building. (If owned by the Exchange.)
    10. Exchange Fixtures.
    11. Laundry Fixtures. (Including all machinery, tools, etc.)
    12. Laundry. (A departmental account.)
    13. Store. (Same. There should be an account for each department.)
    14. Interest and Discount.
    15. Insurance.
    16. Fuel and Lights.
    17. Freight and Express.
    18. Printing and Stationery.
    19. Telephone and Telegraph.
    20. General Expense.
    21. Depreciation. (If taken frequently.)
    22. Lost Accounts.
    23. Athletics.
    24. Dividends.
    25. Sick in Hospital.
    26. Regimental Fund.
    27. Wages.
    28. Profit and Loss. (Or Loss and Gain.)
    29. Maintenance.

Posting the Ledger.

It has been noticed that our Ledger is used but once a month or whenever
our books are closed. At this time, each account in the ledger is brought
down to date by entering the results obtained by summarizing the accounts
contained in the subsidiary books. This operation is called “posting” and
will be discussed with reference to each of the foregoing accounts. It
will be assumed, in each case, that the balance from the previous month
has been brought down correctly.

It will be of great assistance to remember that any account in the
General Ledger represents _one_ of the following:—

    1. An asset; (Resource).
    2. A liability.
    3. A Loss.
    4. A Profit or Gain.

_a._ Every account showing a debit balance is either an asset or a loss;
a “Personal” account showing a debit balance is an asset, an “expense”
account showing a debit balance is a loss.

_b._ Every account showing a credit balance is either a liability or a
profit; a “personal” account showing a credit balance is a liability
(something we owe), any sales account showing a credit balance is a

1. _Post Exchange Account._ Another name for this account is “Net Worth”,
or, if the Exchange is out of debt, “Surplus”. It is important that the
status of this account be shown on every monthly statement exhibited to
the Exchange Council. It is debited at the beginning of the month with
the net worth of the Exchange on that date. Credit it with such decreases
and debit it with such increases as will be shown on the “Surplus and
Adjustment Schedule” on Form 32 and discussed in connection therewith.

2. _Bills Receivable, Notes._ Debit this account for the amount owed by
any organization to the Exchange for Entrance fees, etc., and credit
it via the cash book with the amount of payments received from such

3. _Bills Receivable, Charge Accounts._ Debit this account, as before
described, with the total amount of charge sales made during the month,
which amount is obtained from the Charge Accounts book. Credit this
account with the total of the “Customers” column on the debit side of the
cash book and also with the total of the “Credit” column in the Charge
Accounts book.

4. _Bills Receivable, Credit Coupons._ This account has been exhaustively
discussed under “Coupons”.

5. _Bills Receivable, Enlisted Men’s Laundry._ Debit this account at the
end of the month with the gross amount of laundry bills contracted by
enlisted men during the month. Credit it with the total of the cash book
(debit) column in which are entered the payments by enlisted men for
laundry work done. Also credit this account with whatever credits have
been allowed for overcharges, damages, etc., these amounts also being
charged (debited) against the Laundry account.

6. _Check Account._ See note under paragraph 4 above.

7. _Bills Payable, Merchandise._ Debit this account with balance due
creditors on 1st of the month and with Cr. Purchase column of Purchase
Record. Credit it with amount of creditors column in cash book, and with
total of Dr. Purchase column of Purchase Record.

8. _Exchange Building._ If built and owned by the Government, this item
is not an asset of the Exchange. If the building belongs to the Exchange,
we debit this account with all amounts spent upon it for additions of
any kind, but not for repairs, renewals, painting, etc. Credit this
account with all depreciation voted by the Post Exchange Council, and
debit this amount against the Depreciation Account.

9. _Laundry Building._ Same as preceding.

10. _Exchange Fixtures._ Debit this account through the cash book with
the amount of all new fixtures purchased; credit it with the amount of
depreciation voted by the Exchange Council, as before explained, also,
with the book value of all fixtures scrapped or otherwise disposed of.
When an article is merely replaced by a newly purchased one, it is proper
to make no change in the value of our fixtures, but charge the whole
purchase price against maintenance. The same applies to cost of repairs.

11. _Laundry Fixtures._ Same as preceding.

12. _Laundry._ This is a live account against which are charged

    (_a_) The total of the Debit Laundry column in the Cost Price
    Stock Record, (Form 13), also, the value of inventory at 1st of

    (_b_) The total cost of labor incurred by that department.

    (_c_) Any CASH REIMBURSEMENTS that may have been paid to

    (_d_) Such items of Freight, Expense, Maintenance, Board,
    etc., as may have been paid during the month on account of the

    (_e_) Any credits that may be allowed for damages, etc. (From
    Charge Accts.)

This account is credited with:—

    (_a_) The total of the Laundry columns in the Charge Accounts

    (_b_) The total of the Laundry columns pertaining to the
    current month on our paytable collection sheets (Form 25).

    (_c_) The total shown in the Credit Laundry column of Form 13

    (_d_) The total of all sales not accounted for under (a) and
    (b) above.

    (_e_) Inventory at last of month.

The balance, showing gross loss or gain, is transferred to the Profit and
Loss Account.

13. _Store._ This and all other departmental accounts should be handled
in the manner described in the preceding paragraph except they should
receive credit for all coupon and cash sales made during the month.

14. _Interest and Discount._ Credit this account with the total of the
Discount column on the credit side of the cash book; this anomaly being
only apparent, not real. Credit, also, the total of the Interest and
Discount column on the debit side of the cash book and debit the total
of the Interest and Discount column found on the credit side of the cash

15. _Insurance._ Debit this account, through the cash book, with all
premiums paid out, at the time they are paid. Credit this account
monthly with the monthly share of such premium or premiums, and debit
them against Post Exchange. The effect of this method is to show the
unexpired policies as assets, as they should be. There can be no doubt
that an unexpired policy is an asset, nor is there any question about the
propriety of showing the value of this asset by deducting the appropriate
amount monthly. The practice of some exchanges of writing such assets off
the books immediately upon payment of premiums is not sound.

16. _Fuel and Lights._ Debit this account through the cash book with
all amounts paid out for these items, provided they cannot be properly
apportioned to the various departments.

17. _Freight and Express._ Same as preceding, except that all such
charges on incoming merchandise should be charged to the goods in
question, just as if they cost us that much more. “Out” freight, etc., is
a legitimate charge against this account.

18. _Printing and Stationery._ Same remarks as under 16.

19. _Telephone and Telegraph._ Same as under 16.

20. _General Expense._ Debit this account with all items of expense that
cannot properly be placed under one of the other expense accounts.

21. _Depreciation._ Debit this account with the total amount of
depreciation voted by the Council, and as this entails a corresponding
credit elsewhere in the ledger, the respective accounts affected must
be credited to a corresponding amount. When the books are closed, the
balance of this account is transferred to Profit and Loss by crediting
Depreciation and debiting the latter account. This Depreciation account
can be eliminated entirely, if desired, by crediting Exchange Fixtures
or what not with the amount of depreciation decreed by the Council and
debiting this amount straight against Post Exchange. This is the usual

22. _Lost Accounts._ Debit this account with all bad debts which we have
decided we cannot collect. This, of course, necessitates a corresponding
credit entry in some other account, such as Bills Receivable Credit
Coupons or Charge Accounts, etc., as the case may be. When the books are
closed, this account is balanced and transferred to Profit and Loss, as
explained in 21. If any of these accounts are afterwards collected, we
must credit this account, via the cash book, with the proper amounts.

23. _Athletics._ Credit this account with all amounts voted by the
Exchange Council for the support of athletics and charge or debit the
same amount against Post Exchange (Account No. 1, above). At the end of
each month, pick out of the Appropriations column on the credit side of
the cash book, all amounts which were spent for athletics during the
month and debit them to this account. The credit balance of this account
is a liability against the Exchange.

24. _Dividends._ Credit this account with the amount of dividends
declared by the Council and debit the same amount against Post Exchange
account. Debit this account with all dividends paid to organizations. If
the dividends have not been paid out by the end of the month, they will
show up in this account as a credit balance, a liability against the
Exchange; if they have been paid, there will be no balance left to this

25. _Sick in Hospital._ Same as preceding.

26. _Regimental Fund._ Same as 24.

27. _Wages._ It will be remembered that each department was debited with
its share of all labor charges incurred during the month. These “accrued
wages” are credited to this account in the Ledger. Debit this account
with the total of the Labor column on the credit side of the cash book.
Any credit balance remaining (as when part of the pay due an employee is
held back) is a liability against the Exchange.

28. _Profit and Loss._ This account is ordinarily posted only upon
closing the books. To this account, we post the balances of all those
Ledger accounts which show a profit or a loss to the Exchange. These
include all departmental accounts and also accounts numbered 14 to 29,
inclusive, except Nos. 15, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26 and No. 28, which is now
under discussion. Remember that each of these accounts which shows a
debit balance is a loss and each that shows a credit balance is a profit
or gain. After all of these accounts have been balanced and brought into
Profit and Loss, the latter is balanced and the balance transferred to
Post Exchange. Before this last named operation is performed, however,
a trial balance should be taken, because, for reasons before explained,
the books will never balance to the cent, and the entry of a small
item, usually “income not otherwise accounted for,” is necessary in this
account before the books will balance.

29. _Maintenance._ This is really in the nature of an expense account and
we should debit it with the amounts shown on the credit side of the cash
book as paid out on this account. Credit this account for such items as
can be and are debited against any of the departments (see 12 d); credit
this account for the balance remaining at the end of the month and charge
same against Profit and Loss.

Balancing the Ledger.

It has been stated above, that all “Expense” accounts are balanced
monthly and posted to Profit and Loss, and that after a trial balance
has proved the Ledger to be in balance, the balance of the Profit and
Loss account is transferred to the “Post Exchange” account. The remaining
accounts, Nos. 1-11, inclusive, etc., represent assets and liabilities
and are not transferred at all, although they are balanced every month.

We now come to the book-keepers’ bug-a-boo, the “Trial Balance”. This is
a simple thing (to describe), consisting merely going through our ledger,
taking the total of all the totals on the credit side of all our ledger
accounts and seeing if this equals the total of all the totals on the
debit side. If these totals do not agree, the book-keeper must run down
the error and correct it. There are no rules for this procedure that
would be of practical benefit. This trial balance does not necessarily
mean that the ledger is correct, it simply proves that for every debit
item entered a corresponding credit entry has been made; it does not
prove that these entries have been made in the proper accounts.

A sample trial balance sheet, worked out by Mr. Parker, cashier of the
Fort Slocum Exchange, is shown herewith.

After the ledger is balanced, we proceed to get out our monthly
statement. If it is a case of an inspector, we can get all the data he
needs by simply taking our statements since his last visit and combining
the results shown by same.

  ACCOUNTS                   Trial Balance         of           Loss & Gain
                              Dr.      Cr.     Dr.     Cr.      Dr.     Cr.
  Post Exchange
  Cash                      555.60   372.00  183.50
  Bills Rec. Charge Accts    11.62     1.62   10.00
     ”   ”   E. M. Laundry   16.00            16.00
     ”   ”   Credit Coupons 100.00           100.00
  Bills Pay Merchandise                4.00            4.00
     ”   ”  Check Account    90.00   100.00           10.00
  Stock Room                   .50      .50
  Athletics                  20.00            20.00
  Fixtures                   21.00            21.00
  Store                      11.50   280.55          269.05          269.05
  Lunch                      67.72   211.27          204.55          204.55
  Pool                       50.00     9.00   41.00           41.00
  Barber                     67.00    17.00   50.00   50.00
  Tailor                     46.65    59.00           12.35           12.35
  Shoeshop                   35.75    35.00             .50             .05
  Soda Fountain              37.00     3.00   34.00           34.00
  Skating                    14.50     4.60    9.00            9.90
  Moving Pictures            10.00    31.00           21.00           21.00
  Laundry                    29.00    22.00    7.00            7.00
  Interest and Discount      17.60            17.60           17.60
  Office                     11.00            11.00           11.00
  Loss and gain             336.50
      TOTALS               1151.44  1151.44  521.00  521.00  507.00  507.00

  ACCOUNTS                        and          Cash Statement
                              Dr.      Cr.     Dr.     Cr.
  Post Exchange                     336.50
  Cash                      183.50
  Bills Rec. Charge Accts    10.00
     ”   ”   E. M. Laundry   16.00
     ”   ”   Credit Coupons 100.00
  Bills Pay Merchandise               4.00
     ”   ”  Check Account            10.00
  Stock Room
  Athletics                  20.00                      20.00
  Fixtures                   21.00                      21.00
  Store                                       250.00    11.00
  Lunch                                       170.00     6.00
  Pool                                          8.00    50.00
  Barber                                       14.00    67.00
  Tailor                                       46.00    43.00
  Shoeshop                                     29.00    35.00
  Soda Fountain                                 3.00    37.00
  Skating                                       4.60    14.00
  Moving Pictures                              31.00    10.00
  Laundry                                               29.00
  Interest and Discount                                 17.00
  Office                                                11.00
  Loss and gain
      TOTALS                350.50   350.50   555.60   372.10
                                    Balance   555.60   555.60



The primary object of the monthly statement is to give the Exchange
Council and the Commanding Officer a clear and concise understanding of
the operations and financial standing of the Exchange. The statement,
therefore, should be so simple in construction that it can be understood
at a glance by anybody, regardless of their knowledge of book-keeping.
Most statements submitted to Exchange Councils either show nothing or
lead to a waste of time, due to the necessity for asking for explanations
of obscure items. The statement should also contain such information
as will be required by the Inspector. The form of statement here shown
fulfils all of the above requirements and is a form approved by certified
public accountants. It is divided into three parts, which will be
discussed in their relative order.

General Balance Sheet.

This, Form 32, is shown in Fig. 31 and is almost self explanatory.
Attention is invited to the scheme of segregating different classes of
assets and of liabilities. A stock form of this nature would do for
all Exchanges, regardless of their size, as there are sufficient blank
lines to suit all requirements, but perhaps better satisfaction would be
obtained if the form here shown be merely taken as a model and only those
items be used as apply to the particular case in hand. Pains have been
taken, in this form, to insert a sufficient number of entries to show
clearly how any ordinary item should be handled.

Of course, the item, “Exchange building”, should be omitted if the
building belongs to the Government and not to the Exchange. The item,
“Cash Reserve”, covers the amount required by regulations to be set aside
before dividends can be declared. Under the liabilities, there will
ordinarily be no entries under “Funded Debt”; this entry merely shows
how such items should be handled in case any should exist. “Commissions
due” is the amount we owe for goods already sold on consignment; the
same item under the assets refers to the amount due us for goods sold on
consignment or commission. A declared dividend is a liability until it
is paid. Outstanding coupons are also a liability. Under the deferred
liabilities come any amounts that are payable at some future date, but
are meanwhile bona fide debts owed by the Exchange. The term “Total
Surplus” refers to the surplus at the end of the month in question,
and, while not really a liability, it is put in this place in order to
properly balance the account.

[Illustration: Figure 31, (Reduced in size)]

Surplus and Adjustments.

Under this head, we show the changes in the net worth of the Exchange
which have occurred during the month, this being, to all intents and
purposes, a repetition of the Post Exchange Account in our general Ledger.

Under “Re-valuation”, take up any increase in the value of buildings or
fixtures that may have occurred other than through the cash book (upon
appraisal, for instance). Under “Adjustment”, take up any increase
of amount owed us on any account, that is, if any account has been
corrected during the month and the amount due us on this account has
been increased, the amount of such increase should be taken up under the
head in question. The net profits for the month are obtained from the
Statement of Income and Profit and Loss, to be described later. All of
the above items serve to increase our surplus or net worth, and hence,
must be added to the net worth shown at the beginning of the month.

Under the deductions would come all amounts written off for depreciation;
dividends actually paid; appropriations paid or put to the credit of any
particular fund, such as the Athletic Fund; and all decreases in accounts
owed us, caused by the adjustment of same.

After the above notations are made, the surplus at the end of the month
is entered in the proper space in the general balance sheet. This surplus
is the net worth of the Post Exchange, and should, of course, be equal to
the balance of the Post Exchange account in the Ledger.

Statement of Income and Profit and Loss.

[Illustration: Figure 32, (Reduced in size)]

This, Form 16, gives us a very clear and concise statement of the
operations of all of our departments during the month. It is printed on
the back of Form 32. It is filled in as follows:—

_a_ Enter on the first line, the total sales for cash as shown by the
footings of the respective debit columns in the cash book.

_b_ On the second line, enter the total coupon sales of the various
departments shown by the footings of the respective columns of Form 26
(Fig. 17).

_c_ On the third line, enter the total charge sales made by each
department as shown by the footings of the respective columns of Form 7
(Fig. 6).

_d_ Add the above, both horizontally and vertically and see if the grand
totals check.

_e_ Enter on the fourth line all credits given during the month.

_f_ Subtract _e_ from _d_; the remainder shows the net sales made by each
department during the month and should be entered in the proper spaces.

_g_ Under “Inventory ... 1st”, is entered the cost price of all
merchandise on hand in the various departments at the beginning of the
month, which amounts are obtained from the Inventory Book or Inventory
cards as before described.

_h_ Under “Purchases” are entered the cost values of all merchandise sent
to the various departments, that is, the difference between the footings
of the Dr. and Cr. columns referring to each department on Form 13 (Cost
Price). No cash discount is considered.

_i_ Under “Labor”, charge each department with its proper share of the
wages paid by the Exchange. If any employee divides his time between
two or more departments, his wages should be distributed between said
departments proportionately. Book-keeper’s wages should be charged to
Office. To counterbalance this charge, some Exchanges credit all cash
discounts to Office instead of taking them up under Other Income. This is
entirely proper, as is also the procedure of crediting the Office with
mail order profits, etc. In the usual case, there being no accrued wages,
the figures for labor are taken from the Labor column in the cash book.

_j_ Under “Maintenance”, transfer from the cash book all amounts paid out

    (1) Articles bought to replace other similar articles worn out.
    (2) Paints, cleaning material or repairs and spare parts, etc.
    (3) Labor charges in connection with the foregoing.
    (4) In general, any expenditure for up-keep.

_k_ Under “Board”, should be entered all amounts paid out for board of

_l_ Under “Expense”, enter the value of all expendable supplies issued to
the various departments, such as paper bags, etc., or, as illustrated in
the case of a Laundry, the cost of all soaps, starch, soda, etc.

_m_ Add items (_g_) to (_l_), inclusive, and enter the totals on the
proper line. Also, add the items horizontally and check the grand totals
obtained by these two operations.

_n_ Enter under “Deduct Inventory”, the cost price of all articles found
on hand in the various departments at the end of the month.

_o_ Subtract (_n_) from (_m_) and enter the respective remainders in the
spaces for “Cost of Goods Sold”. Check these remainders vertically and

_p_ Subtract the Cost of Goods Sold from Net Sales and enter the
remainders in the spaces for “Gross Profit”. Check results as before.

The lower part of this form is made out as follows:—

_a_ Under “Cash Discounts” (unless credited to Office as before
explained), enter the total of the Discounts column in the cash book.

_b_ Cash in excess of daily checks is self explanatory.

_c_ Under “Goods Sold on Consignment”, should be entered all such sales
actually made during the month.

_d_ Miscellaneous credits is self explanatory, being for such items as
junk, receptacles sold, etc., as are not credited through the stock

_e_ Entrance fees cover all payments by organizations joining the

_f_ Interest on Bank balances is self explanatory.

_g_ Lost Accounts collected refers to amounts that have previously been
dropped from the books as lost, but have afterwards been collected.

_h_ Under “Income not otherwise accounted for”, is entered the amount
that will make the books balance. As it is impracticable to give precise
weights on bulk merchandise and as mistakes will sometimes occur, the
books will never balance exactly and all discrepancies are thrown into
this item. As an example, suppose we unintentionally give short weights
on our sales of, say, crackers. At the end of the month, we will have
more money on hand than our sales would call for, and such excess is
taken up under this heading. If, as sometimes happens, there is a deficit
(for example, caused by melting and wastage of ice) it should be taken up
under the “General Expense” side of this form. It should be noted that
this item cannot be filled in until the General Balance Sheet is made out.

_i_ “Freight and Express Out” refers to transportation charges on goods
returned to our creditors or sold to our customers.

_j_ Under the item, “Insurance”, should be entered the total premiums
paid out during the month, but not the pro-rata share that is charged off

_k_ Under “Paid on Consignment”, should be entered the net amounts paid
to our creditors for the goods sold by us.

_l_ To the Total Gross Profit, add the total Other Income, from this
amount, subtract the Total General Expense and the remainder is the net
profit for the month; it should be carried to the Surplus and Adjustment
part of the general balance sheet.


[Illustration: Figure 33, (Reduced in size)]

A thoroughly satisfactory form for pay rolls is shown by Form 2 in Fig.
33. The Recapitulation at the bottom of the form is for the purpose of
distributing the cost of labor among the various departments when we
make out our statement of income and profit and loss. If employees are
not paid up to date, that is, if a part of their pay due is withheld,
this form allows such information to be recorded. In some cases, it has
been found practicable to pay off three times a month, especially in
the case of civilian employees. In any case, all hands should be paid
promptly at the last of the month, thus getting all of these wages out
of the way and avoiding the necessity of any reversing entries or other
expedients to show the real operations of the Exchange. If any wages due
the employees are not paid by the end of the month, these amounts become
“accrued wages” and must be carried as such.


This is done by some employee designated by the Exchange Officer;
sometimes it is done by the Exchange Officer himself. It is sometimes
prescribed by the Council that when organizations (shareholders in
the Exchange) order articles not in stock, the selling price shall
be actual cost to the Exchange of such articles. This cost would, of
course, include any transportation charges, etc., that were incurred,
but the Exchange would get the benefit of all cash discounts. It is
also prescribed in some instances that persons not stockholders in the
Exchange who order merchandise that is not in stock shall be charged a
commission of 5%. Both of these rules are sound, because, in the first
case, any profits made by the Exchange would simply revert in dividends
to the organizations from which the profits were made, assuming that
all organizations transacted the same amount of this kind of business.
If they did not, it would still be unjust to penalize one company for
patronizing the Exchange by taking from it money for distribution in
dividends to other companies, regardless of the amount of patronage
the latter gave the Exchange. The second rule is sound because the
transaction is a quick sale, and the money of the Exchange is tied up
in stock for the minimum length of time. The selling price in the above
cases is, therefore, very easily determined.

In figuring out the selling price for the ordinary run of goods, the
process, while different, is never very difficult. We must base our
calculations on the smallest value used in coupon sales, except in the
case of staples sold only to charge customers. Ordinarily, the smallest
purchase that can be made with coupon books is five cents. We should,
therefore, in every possible case, make our selling price a number
divisible by 5. Cheap articles may be sold “2 for 5”, etc. It is a bad
policy to sell articles for 4 or 9 cents and have the clerk hand back
change when a coupon sale is made.

Articles that can be quickly and easily sold can be handled at a small
margin of profit, but articles that may prove to be “stickers” or those
representing a considerable investment should be made to pay a larger

In this connection, the general policy of the Exchange may be made to
take one of two trends. The first policy is to sell all articles at
the minimum price consistent with making the Exchange self-supporting.
In this case, the amounts paid to the organizations in dividends will
be proportionately small, and consequently, the various companies will
receive little money to spend on their messes, athletics, etc. This plan
would be of considerable benefit to such customers of the Exchange as are
not stockholders.

The other policy is to charge about the same prices as obtain in the
stores of nearby towns. In some cases of isolated posts, the prices could
be put even higher. This plan would result in larger dividends paid to
the companies but might entail the loss of customers, especially in these
days of mail-order and catalogue houses. This latter policy is upheld by
many able authorities, especially since the passage of the “anti-canteen”
law. According to one of the most able officers the writer has ever
known, this policy was stated about as follows:—“We should charge as high
a price as the traffic will stand. I do not want my men to spend their
money in town, for obvious reasons. I want them to spend it where they
themselves will get the benefit of the profits made on their purchases.
Therefore, give them good value for their money—as good as they can get
anywhere—but do _not_ try for low prices and _do_ make the Exchange so
attractive that they will naturally gather there and patronize it.”

In view of the above facts, and knowing the general policy of the
Exchange it is not difficult in the ordinary case, to fix a selling price
for our goods. We simply add the cost of transportation to the cost price
of the goods, add the desired profit and this gives us our approximate
selling price. In some Exchanges, other items of overhead charges, such
as clerk hire, depreciation, etc., are taken into consideration in fixing
the selling price. There should be ample space in the right hand columns
of Form 28, the receiving record, in which to figure the selling prices.

One of the results to be tried for in every Exchange is QUICK SALES. It
is a serious mistake to keep money tied up in stock any longer than is
absolutely necessary. A vivid illustration of this point is obtained by
taking the case of, say, an Italian banana vendor on the street. Let us
assume that he buys a bunch of bananas in the morning for $1.00. We may
rest assured that he will have sold out by evening; it is a certainty;
he is too good a merchant to do otherwise. Even supposing that he had a
bad day, and was compelled to close out part of his stock in the evening
at cut prices, he will have realized anywhere from $1.50 to $2.00 on
his sales, thus giving him from 25% to 50% gross profit. At this rate,
he will turn over his capital at least 25 times during one month, thus
transacting a total amount of business 25 times greater than his actual
net resources, and securing a profit equivalent to that of the greater
amount. This is the ideal toward which the Exchange should strive.

In this connection, do not state your profits as a percentage of the COST
price of your goods, but of the SELLING price. In other words, if an
article costs the Exchange $10.00, do not add one dollar to this for the
selling price and then imagine your profits will be 10% of your sales.
If you desire 10% profit, then the cost must constitute 90% and you must
sell the article for $11.11 in order to make 10% on the sale. Take a
pencil and figure it yourself. A very good talk on this subject (and many
others of interest) is given in “A Better Day’s Profits”, published by
the Burroughs Adding Machine Company.

Another most excellent book containing many hints which would prove of
value to any Exchange Officer is one entitled, “Where Have My Profits
Gone?”, published by the American Sales Book Company of Elmira, New York.


Many Exchanges run laundries and while no attempt will be made here to
show how a laundry should be handled, it is thought proper to explain
how the books should be kept. The handling of actual laundry work can be
learned only by experience and it is an exceedingly difficult task to
prevent a flood of complaints unless careful supervision and checking is
in force.

As far as the Post Exchange Books are concerned, the Laundry need furnish
but three items:—

    (1) The amount owed by each customer for laundry work done
    during the month.

    (2) The total value of expendable articles on hand at the end
    of each month. (Inventory.)

    (3) The data for paying the wages of employees.

Any other records that may be kept are for the information of the Laundry
management, and are not essential to the proper running of the Exchange.
The above three headings will be discussed in turn.

Bills Receivable for Laundry Work.

The methods used in the case of enlisted men differ from those used in
the case of Officers and others of like classification; the former is
rate work and the latter is piece work. The former will be explained

The system about to be explained hinges about the Laundry List, Form
20, shown in Fig. 34. These are 5 × 8 inches in size, made up in pads
of 100, fifty originals printed in black ink on white paper and fifty
duplicates printed in red on white paper. Thus, each book or pad will
last one man about one year. Each original and duplicate are on the same
piece of paper, folded at the bottom and the lower (duplicate) forms
are bound by their top edges, a piece of carbon paper being bound into
each pad so as to fall between the two copies. A glance at a “Paragon”
style of duplicating sales book will show clearly how this simple
arrangement works. The backs of all sheets should be fairly well covered
with advertising or other matter in order to prevent persons from ekeing
out their supply of stationery by using these forms. If desired, the
instruction shown on the face of the blank in the illustration could be
placed on the back instead. In quantities of 1,000 or so, these books
should cost in the neighborhood of 7 cents apiece.

[Illustration: Figure 34, (Reduced in size)]

With this arrangement, each man makes out two copies of his laundry list
with as little trouble as he formerly made out his single copy. The
amount of clerical labor which this simple expedient obviates is simply
enormous. It makes the system practically automatic and saves labor
costs in the Laundry. The man puts both copies of his list in his bag of
laundry, and the laundry wagon calls at the company at the proper time
and collects same. The bag of wash is given to the “Marker”, who checks
off on the duplicate slip, all wash found in the bag. If everything is
right, the marker places the duplicate slip in a sorting tray, and lays
the original aside to be filed. If the list contains a mistake, the whole
bundle is immediately placed aside and is not touched until the owner
has been sent for, his mistake explained to him, and he has personally
corrected both copies of the list. This not only prevents controversies,
but, also, makes the men careful in making out their lists in order to
avoid the necessity of visiting the laundry to correct their lists.

In case any article is damaged when received at the laundry, it is
examined to see if it is properly marked, and then placed aside for the
inspection of the Officer in charge. This point will be touched upon

The duplicate lists remain in the sorting tray behind numbered guides
until the time comes to sort out the finished wash of the organization
to which the slips belong. When “marking in”, the marker either uses the
space “MARKING O. K.” provided for the purpose, or, as is usually the
case, we depend upon the personal check mark she places opposite each
item on the list. This marking is done on the duplicate list only.

When the finished wash is sorted, preparatory to delivery, the sorter
makes another check mark (different from the first one) opposite each
item that is put in the batch. No batch is allowed to go out with a
shortage if it can possibly be avoided; if any article is held for
re-washing, it is rushed through “special” and the whole bundle belonging
to that particular man is held back to wait for it. This prevents the
laundry from acquiring garments belonging to customers. If this is not
done, a receipt for the shortage should be delivered to the customer
with his wash, and a duplicate kept as a sort of tickler, to insure the
missing articles being put in the next batch of washing received from and
done up for that customer.

The original slips are inserted in alphabetical order in loose-leaf
binders, one binder for each organization. These binders should have a 2
inch back in order to hold one month’s slips conveniently. They form our
retained record and are invaluable in case of disputes. The duplicates
are given to the men when they come for their wash. While it is a great
convenience to the men to be permitted to get the wash of their friends,
at times, it has been found that this privilege is abused. In such a
case, each man may be compelled to come for his own wash, which will be
found to have a salutary effect. Ordinarily, it is sufficient to tear off
the top of the duplicate slips at the time of delivery, thus showing that
the wash has been called for and delivered.

At the beginning of each month, each organization makes out a list of the
men in the company, a carbon copy of Form 25 is the easiest to furnish.
On the first day upon which any organization sends wash to the laundry,
some designated N.C.O. of that organization marks in the first blank
column opposite each man’s name, information as to whether or not he sent
laundry on that date. Such entries would be “YES” (by using a rubber
stamp) if the man sent laundry; “S”, if he did not, through being sick
in hospital; “A”, meaning temporarily absent; “D”, meaning discharged,
etc. When the batches of wash belonging to this organization are received
at the laundry and each bundle or batch has been checked as before
described, the entries on the consolidated list are checked against the
original laundry slips as the latter are being placed in the binders.
This is to insure the correctness of the consolidated list. After this
is done, the consolidated list is returned to the organization, and the
above operations are repeated upon every succeeding wash-day during the

At the end of the month, all extras, such as charges for pressing
uniforms, excessive number of pieces in wash, etc., are charged up on the
original lists, the totals for the month found by mental addition and
said total entered on the last original list for the month pertaining
to each man, also, if desired, but only for cogent reasons, on the
consolidated list. These totals are then sent to the Post Exchange for
incorporation in the pay table collection sheet. If the binders are taken
to the Exchange, the totals can be read from them without the necessity
of entering these totals on the consolidated list at all. At this time,
all of the original lists are lifted from their binders, temporarily
bound with twine, and sent to the Exchange for file until the bills are
paid, when they may be destroyed.

Piece Work.

In this case, a different list is used. See Form 21, shown in Fig. 35.
These lists are made up into duplicating pads just the same as the
soldiers’ laundry lists, and are handled in exactly the same manner,
except that no consolidated list is kept. They measure 5 × 8 inches,
like the others. At the end of the month, the amount of laundry bills on
each retained original list is carried forward and the total entered on
the last slip. These totals are then transferred to the Charge Accounts
Book previously described. (Tearing a half inch off the upper right hand
corner of all but the last slip for the month for each customer makes the
binder self-indexing.)

[Illustration: Figure 35, (Reduced in size)]

The above shows how all amounts due the laundry are transferred to the
Exchange books, but there are one or two points in this connection that
deserve at least a passing notice. The first of these is the

Damage Report.

This, Form 24, shown in Fig. 36, should be made up in the form of a
duplicating pad, 3 × 5 inches being a standard size. One copy of this
form, preferably, the original, is retained in the book or filed in a
card index drawer; the duplicate is returned to the proper customer with
his wash in which the damaged articles were found. As before noted, when
damaged clothing is found in any wash during the “marking in” process,
the damaged articles are placed aside. They are then entered on this
form, inspected by the officer in charge, or person designated by him,
and then sent through the wash.

[Illustration: Figure 36, (Reduced in size)]

Claim Settlements.

When a claim for damages, loss, etc., is settled in favor of the claimant
a report should be made on Form 22 (See Fig. 37), to the Post Exchange.
This form should be made up in triplicating pads, one copy for the
Exchange book-keeper; another, plainly stamped “duplicate”, for the
claimant, and a third to be retained by the Laundry, either in the book
or in a card index drawer, preferably the latter.

[Illustration: Figure 37, (Reduced in size)]


These are taken in the same general way as in other branches of the
Exchange except that the cost price alone is considered. When finished,
the totals shown by the various cards are added on the machine and the
result given to the Exchange book-keeper in order to permit him to make
out the profit and loss sheet. The cards are filed in a card index drawer
until they are used up, when they may be transferred to a dead file.

Pay Rolls.

These are handled in exactly the same manner as the Exchange pay
roll. They may be made out separately by the Laundry authorities or
incorporated in the regular Exchange roll. In any case, they should be
made out from the time book kept by the Laundry superintendent. The
accuracy of this book should be checked frequently in the usual ways.

Miscellaneous Laundry Records.

In addition to the above, the laundry should keep accurate track of the
amounts spent in repairs or renewals of each machine or component part
of the laundry. In the inventory book should be entered a proper rate of
depreciation against each machine, etc., and this depreciation should
be written off periodically by the Exchange Council, say once per year.
Then, if any organization wishes to sell out or to buy in, it will be
a simple matter to arrive at a proper valuation of the laundry and its

There should be on hand blueprints of the laundry building, showing
dimensions and details of construction. There should also be on hand a
complete diagram of all the steam and water pipes, connections, valves,

For cost-keeping, which would be desirable if it can be done conveniently
without adding too much cost, other records would have to be kept. The
Baker-Vawter Company has given this point special attention and have
devised a system which is used by many members of the Laundryman’s
National Association.


It is not too much to say that the monthly audit of the Exchange books is
usually done poorly and inefficiently. This is due to several causes. In
the first place, very few officers have ever had experience fitting them
for such a task, and still fewer have any liking for the operation. The
average audit consists of counting the cash and seeing if the vouchers to
the cash account are correct, but a proper audit is something different.
The Council should expect, as a result of the audit, a clear statement of
the status of the Exchange together with recommendations for improvement
and reports of any irregularities, etc. An auditing officer who spends
his time finding out whether or not the books contain any mistakes in
addition is not performing his proper functions as auditor.

Reduced to its simplest terms the duties of an auditor may be expressed
as finding the correct answers to the following:—

(_a_) Were all assets on hand as shown?

(_b_) Were there any assets not shown?

(_c_) Were all the liabilities real ones?

(_d_) Were all liabilities shown?

(_e_) Were all liabilities properly incurred?

(_f_) Were all earnings accounted for?

(_g_) Were any earnings omitted from the statement?

(_h_) Were all disbursements, expenses and losses properly stated and

In the following pages an attempt will be made to lay down a system of
procedure which will enable the auditor to secure proper answers to the
above questions in the most expeditious manner. For this purpose, the
use of Form 33, shown below, is recommended. They should be on sheets
conforming in size and punching to those used in the book used for
recording the proceedings of the Exchange Council. This remark also
applies to Forms 16 and 32, previously described.

    Form No. 33.


    For the month ending March 31, 1915.

    I certify that the cash balance of the Post Exchange, Fort
    Hancock, N. J., on the 31st day of March, 1915, was three
    thousand five hundred forty-two dollars and seventy-six cents
    ($3,542.76) and was held as follows:—

        Second National Bank, New York City      $3,000.00
        In Office Safe                              542.76
            TOTAL                                $3,542.76

                                  (Signed)    E. A. BROWN,
                          _1st Lieut., C. A. C., Exchange Officer_.


    _1. Charge Accounts_:—

    Take retained sales slips for at least three different days
    and select, at random, at least five sales on each. Are these
    sales entered on Form 9?... Compare several consecutive sales
    on each day’s record with adding machine and cash register
    strips.... Are the totals for each of these days entered on the
    Steward’s daily report, Form 4?... Are these entries on Form 4
    supported by clerks’ reports, Form 5, for same totals?... Are
    the total charge sales on Form 4 correctly transferred to the
    daily summary shown on Form 7?... Do they check with Form 6?...
    Has the Bills Receivable account in the Ledger been debited
    with the total shown on Form 7?... Have amounts shown on Form
    7 been credited to the various departments in the Ledger?...
    Have all credits been entered on Form 6?... Are they charged
    against the various departments?... Are they credited to Bills
    Receivable?... Are they noted on Form 4?... In separate list,
    show what bills have been due the Exchange for more than one

    _2. Cash Sales_:—

    Take the clerks’ reports for the above selected days: are the
    cash sales and coupon sales shown thereon properly entered on
    the Steward’s daily report, Form 4?... Do Forms 4 agree with
    the cash register records?... Are entries on Form 4 correctly
    transferred to the cash book?... Are totals of department
    columns in cash book correctly posted to the accounts of the
    respective departments in the Ledger?...

    _3. Coupon Sales_:—

    Do the total coupons sales shown on Form 4 for the selected
    days agree with the cash register records for these days?...
    Are entries on Form 4 correctly posted to Form 26?... Are total
    coupon sales for each department shown on Form 26 credited to
    these departments in the Ledger?... Are total coupon sales
    debited to Check Account in the Ledger?... Are coupon books on
    hand safely stored?... Are they correctly accounted for?...
    What value of coupons issued during the month of which there
    is no record?... Are total coupons issued during the month
    correctly credited to Check Account in the Ledger?... Are they
    properly debited against Bills Receivable, Credit Coupons?...
    Is there any ground for believing the stated value of coupons
    outstanding to be erroneous?... Any complaints from men that
    they are erroneously charged for coupons?... Is total cash
    received for coupons (shown in cash book) credited in Ledger
    to Bills Receivable, Credit Coupons?... Deduct from the total
    coupons entered on all Forms 25 the amounts shown in cash book
    as received for coupons; is the remainder properly supported
    by unpaid Forms 19?... Have these unpaid amounts been properly
    entered on Forms 25 for next pay day?... What efforts made to
    collect payments on coupons past due?...

    _4. Stock Records_:—

    Perform or check the following operations on the record of
    Stock Transactions, Form 27, at selling price:—To inventories
    at first of month add all stock received during the month,
    subtract from this the inventory at the end of the month. The
    remainder should equal the total sales from the respective
    departments during the month. Any marked discrepancies should
    be brought to the attention of the Council immediately.
    (Initials)... Check several copies of Form 28 against
    corresponding invoices and against Purchase Record; do they
    agree?... Are these values correctly transferred to Forms 17,
    BOTH at cost and at selling prices?... Are these Forms 17
    correctly transferred to Form 27?... Are totals on Form 27
    properly charged against the various departments in the Ledger
    and on the Statement?... Are inventories entered properly
    in each department’s account in the Ledger?... Under whose
    supervision was stock taken at the last of the month?... Are
    results of inventory correctly noted on Statement?... Are all
    wastages, accidental breakages, etc., entered on the stock
    records and properly supported?... Are windows and doors of
    Exchange provided with efficient locks?... Are all civilian
    employees under bond?... Are the stock records kept up to

    _5. Purchases_:—

    Check Purchase Record against the Cash Book; do entries
    correspond?... From “Total Purchases” subtract “Creditors”
    column in cash book; does the remainder check with the balance
    shown in the Bills Payable, Merchandise (or Creditors) account
    in the Ledger; ... with the credit balance shown on the
    Purchase Record?... Are all bills discounted?... If not, is
    there any excuse for it?... Who makes purchases?

    _6. Cash Book_:—

    Check all vouchers against cash book disbursements. Were all
    expenditures proper ones?... If not, give particulars under

    (_a_) The following vouchers not rec’d back....

    (_b_) Vouchers not supported by canceled checks....

    (_c_) Nos. of outstanding checks....

    (_d_) Total value of same....

    (_e_) Cash found on hand at end of month....

    (_f_) Cash in bank at end of month, per bank statement....
    Does total of (_d_), (_e_) and (_f_) agree with Statement?...
    Look up items (_a_), (_b_) and (_c_) mentioned in preceding
    audit, are they now complete?... State items lacking.... Does
    Exchange Officer keep the cash book himself?... Does he attend
    personally to all cash transactions?... Does any employee have
    access to the cash after it is turned over to the Exchange
    Officer?... Cash reserve is $....

    _7. Ledger_:—

    Inspect trial balance; is it correct and does the Ledger
    balance?... Is the system being rigidly adhered to?... Report
    to the Council any omissions or faults found in the manner of
    keeping the books.

    _8. Statements and Balance Sheets_:—

    Check all items on Statement of Income and Profit and Loss
    against the original entries; do they agree?... What earnings
    cannot be accounted for?... What earnings are not taken up
    on the books?... Check all entries on General Balance Sheet
    against the original entries; do they agree?... Are any assets
    left off the books?... Were all assets actually on hand as
    shown?... Are any liabilities left off the books?... Among the
    liabilities shown, are there any which are not real obligations
    of the Exchange?...

    _9. General_:—

    Is copy of Steward’s Report posted for information of
    customers?... Any books or papers which should be destroyed?...
    Any recommendations?... If so, submit them to Council in
    separate report. Remarks....

                                            (Signed)    ....
                                      _Captain, C. A. C., Auditor._


In Post Exchange business, these machines are ordinarily used in
recording all sales, although some Exchanges do not ring up their charge
sales, but rely upon the sales slip alone, an unsafe practice. There is,
besides, a saving in ringing up all sales. These machines, if properly
handled, and used in conjunction with our stock records at selling price
should amply protect the Exchange.

In order to secure the maximum benefit from a cash register, however,
it should be suited to the work in hand. Many registers handle but two
kinds of sales, charge and cash; but we have a third kind, coupon sales,
and the registers in use by every department which handles all three
kinds should be arranged for such work. This kind of a register has three
separate adding mechanisms, the appropriate set being thrown into mesh by
means of a movable clutch and indicator at the left of the keyboard. In
ringing up each sale, the clerk sets the indicator at “cash”, “coupons”
or “charge”, as the case may be, before turning the handle; the total
sales of any kind can be read at any time by anyone possessing the key
which unlocks the reading window. Thus, the Steward, at the close of
business on any day, can ascertain these totals in a few seconds, instead
of having to transfer them from the cash register record tape to the
adding machine. Thus, considerable time and labor are saved.

We should also be able to tell which clerk made every sale. This is
accomplished by having a separate push button for every clerk and
requiring the clerks to punch the proper button before ringing up their
sale. The record tape of the machine will then show the full particulars
of every sale—how much it was, what kind of a sale it was and who made it.

The size of the keyboard is determined by the probable value of the
largest sale. In departments where there can be but two different kinds
of sales, say charge and cash, a machine without the movable clutch can
be used.

A modern development of the cash register is the “Slip Printing” device.
By this, we mean the printing of the amount of sale on the sales slip
itself, instead of on the “chop ticket”. In our system of recording
charge sales, where the customer is given a copy of the sales slip, it is
unnecessary for him to have the chop ticket, too, but it is necessary for
us to know that his sales slip calls for the same amount that has been
rung up on the register. For this purpose, the register can and should
be arranged for “Slip Printing”, that is, for printing directly on the
sales slip whatever amount is rung up on the register. This arrangement
can be made without extra cost in the case of a new machine. The sales
slip then handed to the customer then shows him exactly what amount was
rung up on the register. The slip shown in Fig. 1 was treated in this
way, although the slip was not originally designed for this work. Another
slip is shown in Fig. 38. A cash register embodying the above described
characteristics is shown in Fig. 39.

[Illustration: Figure 38, (Reduced in size)]

[Illustration: Figure 39]

It is apparent that if we can be sure that all sales are rung up on
the register the Exchange can suffer no loss except by persons taking
stock from the shelves, a proposition which is cared for by our stock
records. Therefore, it is important to devise means for insuring that
every sale is properly rung up. There are various means to this end. One
is to provide a series of locked boxes, one for each organization at the
post, each provided with a slit in the cover large enough to admit a
chop ticket. These boxes to be plainly labelled with the designation of
the respective organizations, and all customers to be instructed to drop
their chop tickets into these boxes. Whenever dividends are declared,
a certain proportion of same to be divided in the same proportion as
exists among the total values of the tickets in the various boxes. Unless
these tickets are counted by a committee from the various organizations,
this scheme would entail considerable clerical work for the Exchange
office force. The scheme practically amounts to distributing a part of
the dividend according to the amount of business done by the respective
organizations—a necessity in the rare case when one or more organizations
boycott the Exchange. It is said that the members of the various
organizations soon become efficient agents in promoting the practice of
customers demanding the chop tickets from the clerks.

Another scheme is for the Exchange Officer to inspect the serial
numbers of the sales recorded for a certain time, say one month, and to
arbitrarily select some one of these numbers, publish a notice concerning
same, and to present to the person who produces the chop ticket bearing
that number, a credit at the Exchange of $5.00 or so. The Exchange could
easily afford to do this, as the advantages accruing from having every
sale rung up will more than counterbalance this small expenditure. Other
devices will readily suggest themselves to those who are interested in
the subject.

The Steward should, of course, keep accurate track of the readings of
the various dials of the registers. Cash register companies issue books
for this purpose. The keys to the registers should be jealously guarded,
including those to the reading windows. A record should be kept of the
readings of those dials which show how many times the lid of the register
has been opened.

In leaving this subject, a further discussion of which is necessarily
curtailed, it will be well to add that the best way to get satisfaction
in this line is to write to the firm whose register you intend buying
and ask them to send you their local representative and such descriptive
literature as they may have at hand. It will then be an easy matter to
secure a machine exactly suited to the needs of the case.


In the foregoing pages, the writer has attempted to outline a system
of record-keeping for our Post Exchanges that is at once simple and
efficient, complying with the desiderata set forth in the opening pages.
No contention is made that the system is perfect and incapable of
improvement; but it is the best that the writer has seen in twelve years’
experience with Post Exchanges. It is hoped that it will at least prove
worthy of being taken under advisement by most Post Exchanges and many
of its points put into practice. Strenuous efforts have been made to
explain the system in such simple language that the average employee of
an Exchange could install and operate it, without the necessity of the
Exchange Officer devoting his personal efforts to it. An effort has also
been made to simplify matters for the Exchange Council and for officers
detailed to audit the accounts, to show what points are important and
what are not, how to secure a clear idea of what the business is actually
doing in all its branches, and how to prevent leaks.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Post Exchange Methods - A manual for Exchange Stewards, Exchange Officers, Members - of Exchange Councils Commanding Officers, being an - exposition of a simple and efficient system of accounting - which is applicable to large and to small Exchanges alike." ***

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