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The Working of the Railroads

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Pages: 134

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Logan Grant McPherson

Excerpt from book: IV ACCOUNTING AND STATISTICS It has been barely more than a century since the practice of the English speaking shopkeeper in keeping track of what a customer owed him, was to make a mark on the wall for each penny's worth or shilling's worth, as the case might be, of merchandise sold: when nineteen of these marks had been made, the next was a cross mark indicating the completion of the "score," and the customei was then expected to settle. Another method was by splitting a flat stick like a lath lengthwise into two parts. When these parts were placed together, a knifecut made a corresponding notch in both, thereby providing a record for the customer as well as for the shopkeeper. This custom was brought from France where it was called the Taille. When the notches reached twenty the customer was expected, in the language that then was literal but is now figurative, to "pay the score." The records of the English tax gatherers were kept by means of these tally sticks, and the fire in 1835 that destroyed the Parliament buildings arose from an old store room in which bundles of these sticks turned in by the tax gatherers were kept. It will be seen from this that even the system of single entry bookkeeping, whereunder an account was kept simply of moneys received and moneys expended, was only coming into general use at the beginning of the nineteenth century, which was well advanced before the introduction of the double entry system, whereunder every transaction is shown in its twofold debit and credit aspect. It is obvious that money cannot be paid unless something has been received for it: the cash account is therefore credited, for it has produced something: and the account showing the purchase is charged, for money has been spent because of it. Likewise money cannot be rece...  

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