a combination of accounting registers and the manner in which economic transactions are recorded and reported. Accounting forms differ in the appearance, quantity, and layout of the registers (books, cards, separate sheets), the relationship between the chronological and the systematic recording of data, the way in which synthetic and analytic accounting are combined, and the technique used in making entries (manual, mechanized, automated).
Accounting forms were improved with the growth in production, the development of productive forces, and the expansion of commodity exchange. One of the first systems was the double-entry system, developed in Italy in the 15th century. Under this system, three books were kept: a book of memorandums, a journal, and a ledger. Entries were made by debiting and crediting accounts, and balance sheets were prepared when necessary. The development of production and trade and the increased number of economic transactions necessitated a division of labor among accounting personnel and required that bookkeeping entries be supported by transaction documents. In the 17th century, the recording of cash transactions was differentiated from that of other business transactions. In the 18th century, systems requiring more than one journal were developed, and in the 19th century, accounting cards appeared, making mechanization possible. The 20th century has seen as many as 15 systems of accounting.
Socialist economies typically have uniform systems of accounting based on state planning and public ownership. These systems are set up by the state on a nationwide basis and are linked to statistical and records departments. In the USSR, the summary-sheet form and the summary-journal form constitute the principal accounting forms. Characteristic of the first system is the preparation of summary sheets, from which entries are made in the registration journal, in the synthetic accounts of the ledger, and, in parallel fashion, in the registers used for analytic accounting. Among the disadvantages of the system are the separation of analytic from synthetic accounting, the repetition of entries, and the large expenditures of time and labor required. In 1960 the summary-journal form was introduced as a standard accounting system in most sectors of the Soviet economy. The main registers here are the summary journals, which are kept for each account. As a rule, analytic and synthetic accounting are combined in a single journal. Only in the most complex accounts are cards and separate sheets still kept. Subsidiary lists are used for grouping analytic indexes. The month’s turnover as entered in the summary journals is reflected in the main ledger.
Mechanization and automation have brought about fundamental changes in accounting forms. Punched-card systems are today the most common. Primary economic data (transaction documents, data on planned standards) are transferred to punched cards, which are then processed into analytic and synthetic (all-inclusive) accounts in tabular form and punched cards representing totals and balances.
It will soon be possible to dispense with intermediate recording steps, to broaden the range of information, to relate the data presented to planning and analysis, to speed up the accounting process, and to decrease the amount of labor required. Further improvements in accounting forms will be linked to the introduction of computers and to the transformation of accounting into a subsystem of an automatic control system.
REFERENCEMakarov, V. G. Teoriia bukhgalterskogo ucheta. Moscow, 1966.
P. V. TAL’MINA