Various forms of manual books have been used over the years. In their simplest form they were just a series of single line entries that recorded an item sold or purchased and an amount. At the bottom of each page was simply a total of all the purchases, a total of all the sales and the net difference. The source of these transactional entries were usually made right at the time they were done. Over time, inventory was marked with little tags to reflect the prices and sales slips were issued to purchasers. The simplistic notepad was replaced with a columnar book consisting of columns for date, description, bank (debit, and credit), income sources, and expense categories. This approach yielded much better results since every transaction always showed where the money was coming from and what it was used for. The system was subsequently called the two part entry system. As manual books go, the two part entry system is still the basis of bookkeeping today.
Since two part entry books are seldom done right at the time of a sale or purchase in today’s market, it is important to keep all receipts and invoices until they have been entered into the books. These source documents, are also needed to be kept after they have been entered. You may ask why would this be if were done with them. Well the answer is two fold. Firstly, your tired after working hard at your job. Your eyes are droopy and that 4 you thought you saw miraculously either got entered 9 when you read 4 or as a 9 or 7 because your fingers just aren’t up to the task. Secondly, our royal taxman reads your figures and decides he just has to have proof that you're being honest about your sales and expense. If he/she really is questioning you, he/she may decide to Audit your books (physically check every receipt and invoice and bank statement) to see that the figures match.
First Computer Books:
Enter the age of the computer. While early computers were not accessible to the average person, they were used by large corporations in the late 50’s to mid 60’s. Operators known as key punch entry personnel would sit in front of a keyboard terminal with reams of “fan-fold” continuous paper feeding a printer. The operator would give commands and accounting data to the computer using the keyboard and the computer would respond by printing out what it wanted as input and echo what the operator had typed. Back in the main computer room, attendants would monitor the system and perform the tasks of changing big reels of magnetic tape, and supplying user support. Eventually, the finished product ( a companies set of books ) would be generated in printed form.
By the early 70’s, technical advances had made it possible for accountants working far from these enormous mainframe computers to remotely access them using something called a telephone modem. Jiffy Tax back in those days, was known as Data Prep Ltd and being a leading edge company, did extensive work with a number of clients. The company addressed the clients needs by acting on the clients behalf to process the manual ledger books through one of these remote entry systems. A pristine accurate set of books was the result. While the first system was a cumbersome “Landpar remote printing terminal”, it did quite a good job for it’s time. Later on, considerable office space was reclaimed by using a Texas Instruments “silent 700” terminal. Very cutting edge as it was somewhat portable. Where the Landpar terminal took up 4 square feet of floor space, the new TI-700 was not much bigger than a typewriter. It could be easily moved from business to business when necessary to process the books but final printing needed to be done at the main computer.
By 1978, Data Prep Ltd had again taken on more cutting edge changes. Firstly, it used the services of a microcomputer programmer to create specialized software which could be run on a Ti99-4a home computer. Gone were the days of slow data entry using line by line printing. The new home computer displayed using a small TV monitor and printed to a wide carriage printer only when everything was perfect.
The New Age PC era:
In 1980, IBM and Texas Instruments entered the marketplace with the first Personal Computers (PC). Small enough to fit on a desktop, and powerful and fast enough to do the work of 10 home style computers. Each of these had anywhere from 10 to 40 times the memory of the home computers. Data Prep Ltd had foreseen the changing times the year before and changed it’s name to Jiffy Tax Service to usher in the new era. Once more the software programmer was invoked to develop the applications to take advantage of the new technology. Armed with custom Payroll and Accounting software Jiffy Tax was primed ready to bring the best most efficient services to bare on behalf of it’s clientele. Through a constant stream of improvements and innovations, Jiffy Tax remains a dynamic important service for all it’s customers that it has serviced over the decades. Jiffy Tax Service wants to service you too. Be part of the family of happy customers today and give them a call.
This history is brought to you by the programmer/computer engineer whom has known this professional for upwards of 40 years.