Commercial Guide


Balancing the books.

Every concern trading in a large, or even a small way should, have its accounts audited at least once a year by an independent and competent person. The law requires certain businesses to undergo such an examination, e.g., Joint Stock Companies. The auditor must have access to all the books and documents of the firm, and, if he agrees with the totals arrived at by the firm, he will sign them as having been examined and found correct.


According to Whitaker, these are the duties of the Board of Trade : ‘ To collect trade statistics, control the issue of Patents, keep the Standards of Weights and Measures, the legal machinery of Bankruptcy, the Registration of Joint Stock Companies, Railway, Tram, Water and Gas Companies, Electric Lighting, Harbours and Lighthouses, and Merchant Shipping, acting under the latter heading as Auditor of the accounts of the Trinity House and British & Northern Lighthouse Authorities. In addition, it administers the Conciliation Act (1896) for the settlement of trade disputes, the Labour Exchanges Act (1909), Part 2 of the National Insurance Act (1911), (Unemployment Insurance) and Trade Boards

Act, 1909.’ It issues the Board of Trade Journal and the Labour News.


Business letters should be typed on good quality quarto paper, and on only one side of the paper. If the letter has no printed letter heading, the address of the sender should appear at the top in full. A little lower down on the left hand side of the paper, the name and address of the recipient should appear, unless it is intended to put it at the bottom of the letter. The salutation—’ Dear Sir,’ ‘ Gentlemen,’ or ‘ Madame’—as the case may be should follow, and under this, if possible, a heading underlined, as ‘ re Your Out-standing Account.’ The subject matter follows. This should be concise, but not laconic. Decide what you want to say, and say it in the fewest possible words, consistent with politeness. The sentences should not be too long, and the whole matter should be broken up into reasonably short paragraphs. When single-space typing is used for the body of the letter, the paragraphs should be spaced double. If the letter is a short one, double spacing looks better for the whole of the letter, but single spacing for a long epistle. About five spaces ‘indentation ‘ should be left on the left-hand side of the paper when starting a fresh paragraph, and letters always look better if a fairly wide margin (say about ten spaces on the typewriter) be left. Do not be florid or servile. Do not drop into the lazy habit of using the stereotyped jargon so common in big houses ; the tiring habit of stereotyped phrases is easily acquired, and hard to discard. Pay your clients the compliment of writing a different letter to each, even though writing about the same subject matter to all. Conclude a business letter with ‘ Yours faithfully,’ or ‘ Yours truly.’ If there is any enclosure, it is a good plan to inscribe ‘ Enclosure ‘ in the bottom left-hand corner of the sheet, as a guide to the postal clerk. Don’t sign with the typewriter or with a stamp— it does not take long to sign your name. If the signature is illegible, it is a good plan to type the name (in brackets) under the signature. Fold the letter neatly and evenly in two or three folds, according to the size of the envelope. The cover should be addressed exactly in accordance with subscription inside the letter. If a ‘ window envelope’ is used, the letter- should be folded with the writing outside, and placed in the envelope with the address showing through the transparency. See that all enclosures are in the envelope before sealing up. It should not be necessary to stress the necessity of properly stamping letters, but the experience of the Post Office is that an amazingly large number of packages are placed in the letter boxes without prepaying the postage. CABLEGRAMS.

Messages for transmission by cable may be handed in at any post office or at the offices of the appropriate cable company. They should be endorsed ‘ Via Imperial ‘ or otherwise as the case may be. A system of day and week-end cable letters, whereby letters of from 20 to 50 words may be cabled at low rates, is in existence—the messages being accepted at any Telegraph Office in the United Kingdom on the condition that they will not be delivered before the second day. CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND TRADE.— -These bodies are found in most large towns. They are formed by the local traders who wish to watch over the interests of commerce, in general. They serve no official purpose, but, by their united spirit, they are able to influence public opinion. They get laws and measures passed for the good of commerce, they endeavour to make Parliament carry out their wishes, and they promote education of a business character, The London Chamber conducts educational examinations of a very high order, and grants valuable certificates. The Chambers of Commerce in some of our Colonies exercise considerable influence. 86


Cheques bearing the date of Sunday are perfectly valid. Cheques presented after the death of the drawer will not be cashed. Post-dated cheques are perfectly valid, but cannot be cashed until such due dates. Cheques should not be made out for amounts including odd half-pennies. The latter will be ignored CLEARING HOUSES.

There are two important clearing houses in the business world: (I) That instituted by the various banks; and (ii) the railway clearing house. To the former are brought all cheques received by one of the banking institutions and drawn on another bank ; and to the latter go all the accounts for through-tickets and goods adjustments. The clearing house system thus enables the parties to handle a vast volume of business with the use of a slight margin of actual money. COINS—THEIR NAMES AND VALUES.

The English Guinea (valued at £1 Is. Od.) obtained its name from the fact that the gold from which it was minted, came from the Guinea Coast. The Sovereign (£1) bears the effigy of the ruler, hence its name. It was called a Pound because the gold thereof was worth a pound weight of silver. The Florin is worth 2/-in England. There are florins minted in various other countries notably Holland, but the values vary. The Shilling has been worth twelve pence since the Conquest. Several Teutonic countries also possess shillings. The value of the penny has varied from time to time; the copper token of this name has only been in existence since the 17th century. The German Pfennig is derived from the same word. The Farthing represents a fourth of a penny, and was originally obtained by cutting a penny into quarters. The American Dollar (4/2 at par) is named after the Teutonic Thaler. Cent, Centime, Centavo, Cenlesimo, &c, all mean the hundredth part of the standard coinage. The Dutch ‘Gulden’ means ‘Golden’ The French ‘Franc’ which represents at par approximately 9Jd., originally bore the legend ‘Fran-camm rex ‘ (King of the French), hence its name. The Greek ‘Drachma,’ worth nominally about Did. is nearly as old as Greece itself; this is divided up into 100 I.c.pla. The Scandinavian ‘Kroner,’ about Id., is, of course, a Crown.


Companies are of two main kinds, (a) public and (b) private. A public company must have at least seven shareholders, and is a concern which has accepted subscriptions for its shares from the public at large. A private company on the other hand, must have not less than two, and not more than fifty shareholders. Also it is prohibited from advertising its shares on the open market. The liability of all shareholders is limited to the face value of their shares when these are fully paid up. Note that if a £1 share has only been paid up to the extent of 12/- and the company goes into liquidation, an additional 8/- will have to be found by the holder in favour of the creditors. This rule applies to all shares, irrespective of value.


A meeting has been legally defined as a gathering convened for the discussion of any matter of public interest, whether admission is general or restricted. This applies more or less to either public or private meetings. The gathering is controlled by the chairman, who is assisted in routine matters by the secretary. The duties of the latter are to attend to all matters preparatory to the meeting (issue of invitations, etc.), and to record the minutes and transactions. The chairman is responsible for regulating the order of the speakers, and the amount of time allowed to each, and his word in this regard must be considered fiva!, otherwise his whole position is stultified. Speakers should commence their speeches with the formula, ‘Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,’ unless the meeting is one which has formula? of its own—as, Masonic gatherings, etc.


Two Frenchmen, Delambre and Me-chain, measured the arc of the meridian between Dunkirk and Barcelona, and in this way found the distance between the Pole and the Equator. The metre was then taken as a ten millionth part of this distance. Unfortunately, their calculations were not quite accurate, as they were carried out in 1795, when instruments at their disposal were not very scientifically adjusted. However, the metre still remains as they computed it, and a standard metre is preserved in Paris : it is a bar of platinum which is of the agreed length when at O degrees Centigrade. Having determined the standard of length, the unit of weight was then obtained by weighing a cubic centimetre of distilled water at 4 degrees Centigrade ; this gave the gram. The unit of capacity was found by weighing a thousand grams of distilled water at 4 degrees Centigrade ; this gave the litre.


English French 1—One. Un. 2—Two. Deux. 3—Three. Trois. 4—Four. Quatre. 5—Five Cinq. 6—Six. Six. 7—Seven. Sept. 8—Eight. Huit. 9—Nine. Neuf. 10—Ten Dix. 11—Eleven. Onze. 12—Twelve. Douze. 13—Thirteen. Trieze. 14—Fourteen. Quatorze. 15—Fifteen. Quinze. 16—Sixteen. Seize. 17—Seventeen. Dix-sept. 18—Eighteen. Dix-huit. 19—Nineteen. Dix-neuf. 20—Twenty. Vingt. 25—Twenty-five Vingt-cinq. 30—Thirty. Trente. 40—Forty. Quarante. 50—Fifty. Cinquante. 60 Sixty. Soixante. 70—Seventy. Soixante-dix. 80—Eighty. Quatre-vingt. 90—Ninety. Quatre-vingt- dix. 100—Hundred. Cent. 1000—Thousand. Mille. 1,000,000—Million . Million.

German Spanish 1—Ein. Uno. 2—Zwei. Dos. 3—Drei. Tres. 4—Vier. Cuatro. 5—Fiinf. Cinco. 6—Sechs. Seis.

German 7—Sieben. 8—Acht. 9—Neun. 10—Zelin. 11—Elf. 12—Zwdlf. 13-—Dreizehn. 14—Vierzehn. 15—Funfzehn. 16—Sechzehn. 17—Seibenzehu. 18—Achtzehn. 19—Neunzehn. 20—Zwanzig. 25—Funf-und-zwanzig. 30—Dreissig. 40—Vierzig. 50—Fiinfzig. 60—Sechzig. 70—Siebenzig. 80—Achtzig. 90—Neunzig. 100—Hundert. 1000—Tauscnd. 1,000,000—Million Italian; 1—Uno. 2—Due. 3—Tre. 4—Quattro. 5—Cinque. 6—Sei. 7—Sette. 8—Otto. 9—Nove. 10—Dieci. 11—Undid. 12—Dodici. 13—Tredici. 14—Quattordici. 15—Quindici. 16—Sedici. 17—Diciasette. 18—Diciotto. 19—Diciannovc. 20—Venti. 25—Venti- cinque. 30—Trenta. 40—Quaranta. 50—Cinquanta. 60—Sessanta. 70—Settenta. 80—Ottanta. 90—Novanta. 100—Cento. 1,000—Mille. 1,000,000—Milione


Siete. Ocho. Nueve. Diez. Once. Doce. Trece. Catorce. Quince. Dciz y seis. Deizy siete. Diezyocho. Diez y nueve. Veinte. Veinte y cinco. Treinta. Cuarenta. Cincucnta. Sesenta. Setenta. Ochenta. Noventa. Ciento. Mil. . Mill6n.

Dutch. Ecnen. Twee. Drie. Vier. Vijf. Zes. Zeven. Acht. Negen. Tien. Elf.

Twaalf. Dertien. Veertien. Vijftien. Zcstien. Zeventien. Achttien. Negentien. Twintig. Vijftwintig.












Printing Papers: Double Royal, 25 by 40 iuches. Double Demy, 22} bv 35 inches. Double Post, 19} by 3l± inches. Imperial, 22 by 30 inches. Double Crown, 20 by 30 inches. Super Royal, 20} by 27} inches. Double Foolscap, 17 by 27 inches. Royal, 20 by 25 inches. Medium, 19 by 24 inches. Sheet & Hal/ Post. 10} by 23} inches. Demy, 17} by 22} inches. Post, 15}’by 19} inches.

Weights vary, according to quality and thickness, from 10 to 100 pounds.

Writing Papers : Imperial, 22 by 30 inches. Cartridge, 21 by 26 inches. Royal, 19 by 24 inches. Medium, 17} by 22 inches. Demy, 15} by 20 inches. Large Post, 16} by 21 inches Post, 154; by 19 inches. Foolscap, 13J by 16} inches. Copy, 16 by 20J inches. Pott, 12} by 15 inches.

Paper Measures.

Papers are measured as follows : 24 sheets = 1 quire. 20 quires (480 sheets) = 1 ream. 516 sheets = 1 printer’s ream. 2 reams = 1 bundle. 10 reams = 1 bale. PLIMSOLL LINE.— Not far above the water line on a steamship appears a mark, and certain letters, indicating the part of the world to which the regulations apply, and the vessel must not be loaded heavily enough to submerge the marks. The position of the mark is mathematically based upon the displacement and tonnage of the vessel, and it is placed there as a safeguard against over-loading on the parts of unscrupulous owners to whom the insurance money is of more consideration than this lives of the crew. PRINTERS’ TERMS.— Numerous styles of type are in everyday use. The various sizes used to be distinguished by names, but the method now adopted is known as the Point System, which divided one inch into 72 equal parts, each part being termed one point. This system simplifies the calculation of the number of lines of type of any given size which can be set in any given depth of space. Thus, if the size of type is 6 point, and it is to be set solid, twelve lines can be set to a depth of one inch.

The width of type is measured in what is termed ems. A pica em equals 12 points.

The following table shows the old names and the sizes under the new point system of the most generally used types for book printing. There are larger sizes which are used for other purposes :

Brilliant = 3} point.

Diamond =4} ,,

Pearl =

Ruby =5} ,,

Nonpareil =6 ,,

Minion =7 ,,

Brevier =8 ,,

Bourgeois =

Long Primer =10 ,,

Small Pica =

Pica =

English =

Groat Primer =

Double Pica =

Two-line Pica =

The following terms are used by the Printing Trade : Caps = Capitals. Caret = An arrow indicating that something is omitted. Case, Lower = Minuscule letters. Case, Upper = Capital letters. Chase . Del = Delete, take out. Ems = Type spaces in printing. Forme = The frame in which type is set up. Fount = The style of type in which a letter is cast. Half Tone = A form of block engraving, used for reproducing photographs. Line Block = A form of engraving in a series of lines. Pagination = The numbering of the pages. Pie = Muddled tvpe. Stet = Let it stand. Trs. = Transpose. W.F. = Wrong fount, signifying that the wrong kind of type has been used. QUORUM.

At meetings, whether of political committees, companies, partnerships or local societies, it is usually agreed in the regulations that no business is binding unless a certain minimum number of members is present. This minimum is spoken of as a Quorum.


The titles od the large railway groups are : 1.

Southern Railway, I.e., The South Western, the London, Brighton and South Coast, the South Eastern, the London, Chatham and Dover, the South Eastern and Chatham Managing Committee, together with fourteen subsidiary companies. 2.

Great Western Railway, I.e., the Great Western, the four coal lines serving the Port of Cardiff (the Barry, the Cardiff, the Rhym-ney and the Taff Vale Railways), the Cambrian, and the Alexandra Docks and Railway Co., together with 26 subsidiarv companies. 3.

The London Midland and Scottish Railway, I.e., the London and North Western, the Midland, the Lancashire and Yorkshire, the North Stafford, the Furness, the Caledonian, the Glasgow and South Western, and the Highland, together with 27 subsidiary companies. 4.-—The London and North Eastern Railway, I.e., the North Eastern, the Great Central, the Great Northern, the Great Eastern, the Hull and Barnsley, the North British, and the Great North of Scotland, with 20 subsidiary companies.


It is not generally known that the date must be written on the stamp affixed to a receipt for an amount exceeding £2. It is not enough to have it somewhere else on the receipt. Should a person make out a receipt for £2 or more and not affix a stamp, he is liable to a fine of £10. Again, should a person receive a sum of, say, £2, and give two receipts, each for a pound, he is also liable to a fine of £10. Let us suppose that the £2 is paid in two instalments ; the proper course is to make out the last receipt with some such wording as Brought forward £1. Received an

B* additional sum of £1, and to affix a stamp.


The first of these clubs was founded in U.S.A., in 1905, and in England in 1911, and is now known as the ‘Rotary International.’ In May, 1931, there were 355 clubs in Great Britain and Ireland. ‘The objects of the clubs (quoted from the Directory) are to encourage and foster : (I) The ideal of service as the basis of all worthy enterprise. (ii) High ethical standards in businesses and professions. fiii) The application of the ideal of Service by every Rotarian to his personal, business and community life. (iv) The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for Service, (v) The recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve Society. (vi) The advancement of understanding, goodwill and international peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of Service.’ Only one representative of any one trade or profession is admitted to full membership of a particular club, but under certain circumstances, others may be admitted as associate members. SHARES IN COMPANIES.

The two chief kinds of shares in most companies are Preference and Ordinary. The Preference are entitled to a fixed rate of interest while the Ordinaries take, in proportion, whatever is left of the profits, after sums agreed upon have been transferred to the reserve or carried forward. Some Preference shares are spoken of as Participating. They then earn not only the fixed rate, but an additional rate when the profits exceed a given amount. Cumulative Preference shares take a fixed interest, but, should the dividends be passed over through a year of bad trading, the back payments must be made up before the Ordinaries can participate when better times are experienced. Deferred shares are sometimes issued. Nothing is paid on them until certain conditions are fulfilled, such as (a) a given number of years have elapsed, or (b) a stated rate of dividend is paid on the Ordinaries. The Ordinaries do not receive the whole of the remaining profits, as stated above. When a company is forced to borrow further capital, the sum is often raised by the issue of Debentures. A fixed rate of interest is paid on them and, in many cases, security is afforded by the assets of the concern. Thus a company pays its interests and dividends in this-order : (I) Debentures, (ii) Preference, (iii), Ordinaries and (iv) Deferred.

SIGNS USED IN WRITING.— @. a*; %, percent.; x , multiplied by; —, divided by; -(-, plus; -, minus; £, pound (money); lb., pound (weight); $, dollar; &, and; &c, etcetera; °, degree; ‘, minute; *, second; ‘, foot; *, inch; cwt., hundredweight; dwt, pennyweight; >,is greater than; <, is less than; .•., therefore; •.*, because, or since; V. the sign of square root; L, angle; J_» is perpendicular to; = , is equal to; <$. delete; A, a sign to indicate that a word is omitted.


Money set apart and invested so that at some future date the money and the accumulated interest may pay off a definite debt or provide some necessary requirement. A company sometimes forms a sinking fund in times of plenty, in order that it may meet unusual expenditure in less satisfactory periods —such as the re-building of the premises.

TREASURE TROVE is a legal term applying to money, &c, found in the earth, for which there is no owner. Legally, it belongs to the Crown, but it is the practice to reward the finder with the full value when delivered up. If found on the land of another, the reward is usually divided between the finder and the owner of the land.

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