How Computers Have Simplified Accounting
Carol L. Cook
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VI. OLD METHODS AND MACHINES USED IN ACCOUNTING
The most common method of keeping the financial records of a company was manually. A bookkeeper kept the journals, the accounts receivable, the accounts payable and the ledgers in his best possible penmanship. In later years, an accounting machine, which was capable of performing normal bookkeeping functions, such as tabulating in vertical columns, performing arithmetic functions, and typing horizontal rows was used. The billing machine, which was designed to typewrite names, addresses, and descriptions, to multiply and extend, to compute discounts, and to add net total, posting the requisite data to the proper accounts, and so to prepare a customer’s bill automatically once the operator has entered the necessary information, was used.
Early accounting machines were marvels of mechanical complexity, often combining a typewriter and various kinds of calculator elements. The refinements in speed and capacity made possible by advances in electronics and operating complexity of these machines. Many of the newer “generations” of accounting machines are operated by a computer to which they are permanently connected.