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THE MODES OF MAKING UP THE ACCOUNTS OF OWNERS, CAPTAINS,
AND CONSIGNEES OF VESSELS
THE MERCHANT SERVICE.
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS,
It is so well known as scarcely to require to be mentioned, that up to the present time no work has been laid before the public, in which the transactions arising out of the management of the affairs of vessels have been made to furnish the materials for a set of books, according to the methods adopted in mercantile book-keeping; or in which the forms and purport of those accounts that are rendered to their co-part owners or principals, by ships' husbands, captains, and consignees, have been accurately shown and clearly explained.
This deficiency has been particularly felt and regretted by all who, in the course of their naval career, have endeavoured to gain some proficiency in a branch of instruction so highly necessary for either the satisfactory discharge of their duties to their employers, or the proper regulation of their own concerns; for entirely dependent, hitherto, upon the suggestions of their own judgment, they have found it to be a task of great difficulty to avoid confusion in the statements of their accounts; while the systematic regularity of skilful book-keepers has been altogether beyond their attainment. It has been therefore for the purpose of supplying this acknowledged want, by furnishing the naval accountant with a correct and competent guide to the principles, technical terms, and general arrangements of book-keeping, that this epitome, which forms the concluding chapter of the new edition of " Steel's Shipmaster's Assistant," has been written; and it is now published separately, for the convenience of those who are not extensively engaged in the direction of shipping.
Another inducement for its appearance in its present form, arises from the circumstance of the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade having made it one of their regulations, in the examination for certificates of captains and mates of vessels, that they should possess a knowledge of mercantile book-keeping. Further facility is therefore required, to place the means of complying with this regulation within the power of many of those to whom it applies, and the author is induced to hope that his endeavours to show the manner in which the principles of the science may be made applicable also to nautical book-keeping, will prove of great service to all who may become candidates for these honourable testimonials of their qualifications, and will thereby forward, in some degree, their lordships' very praiseworthy design of elevating the professional character of the merchant-navy of this kingdom.
Naval Book-keeping is the art of recording the monetary affairs of a vessel. It is regulated in its details by the same general principles as those of mercantile book-keeping.
According to the arrangement we shall adopt, we shall divide this subject into three parts: in the first part we shall explain the principles of book-keeping with respect to the general purposes of accounts, their classification, and the forms of direction and reference which are used in the entries of transactions; in the second part we shall show the plan of a set of books of account, in which are recorded the transactions of the managing owner for the outfit and voyage of a vessel; and in the third part we shall exhibit the particular forms of the accounts rendered by the ship's husband to his co-part owners; those of the auxiliary accounts of the receipts and disbursements of the captain of the vessel and of the ship's agent or consignee, with the same of the chief documents which have reference to these accounts.
PRINCIPLES OF BOOK-KEEPING.
General Purposes of Accounts.—The general purposes of accounts are to ascertain the amounts of the debts owing to us and by us, of the property of which we are possessed, and of the gain or loss that has resulted from our transactions. .
The means by which these purposes are attained are by recording in separate accounts, first, the particulars of the state of our affairs at the commencement of the series of transactions, and, subsequently, the same of all transactions that affect the purposes of book-keeping.
Classification of Accounts In treating upon accounts, they are
usually arranged in these three classes: —
Accounts of persons.
Accounts of property.
Accounts of profit and loss.
To these may be added, as a branch of the first of these classes,
Our own account.