Ill.) American School (Lansing.

Cyclopedia of commerce, accountancy, business administration ... [microform] online

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up is abandoned — the inquiries can be destroyed, saving space in
the permanent files.

Orders. The manner of filing orders depends on the business
and the method of handling. It will depend on whether the greater
part of the orders are received direct from customers on their own
blanks, on blanks supplied by the house, or from salesmen on the
blanks of the house.

When orders are received direct from customers, whether in the
form of letters or on the customers' blanks, it is customary to copy
them on the house order blanks, from which orders are filled and
billed. The most practical disposition of customers' original orders
is to file them with their correspondence, instead of providing a special
file for them. There are certain exceptions, as subscriptions received
by a magazine and which, for certain reasons, should be kept by
themselves; but that outlined can be regarded as a general rule. One
reason for filing orders with the correspondence is that, in case of
dispute, it will very likely be necessary to refer to past correspondence.

The manner of filing the house blanks depends on the number
of copies made. Some houses make but two copies of the order —
one to be sent to the customer as an acknowledgment, and one from
which the order is filled. This leaves but one copy for the oflBce,
and this should be filed numerically, which also brings it in the order


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of the date. If the order copy is also used as a posting medium, it
should be filed in a loose-leaf binder; otherwise a vertical file drawer
can be used.

Another very satisfactory method is to enter the order in triplicate
— one copy as an acknowledgment, an oflSce copy, and a shipping
copy — leaving two copies for the files. One copy should be filed
numerically, the other alphabetically. This provides a cross-index
without the necessity of writing a card index, showing how easy it is
to provide valuable records by using ordinary care. A complete
order record is provided by making one extra copy, which is done
with no additional labor.

Orders received from salesmen on the house blanks are some-
times used as a posting medium, in which case they are filed in a
binder, by date. Another method is to make the invoice in duplicate,
and use one copy
as a posting medi-
um. In such case,
the copy of the
order can be filed
bringing all orders
from each customer

Invoices* The ^- 23. special invoice Folder— Open

. , • /»!• Browne-Morse Co.

method of filing >

invoices depends on whether or not a complete voucher system is
used. When no voucher system is used, all invoices should be filed
alphabetically in a vertical file. A folder should be used for each
firm or person from whom goods are purchased, so that all of their
invoices can be kept together. Invoices should be filed in the folder
in the order of their dates, the last one in front.

With the voucher system, invoices are sometimes attached to
the voucher, in which case they are filed according to the voucher
number and a separate card index is kept for alphabetical reference.
The more modern plan, however, is to file the voucher numerically,
retaining the alphabetical index for invoices.

Invoices can be filed in the same file with the correspondence,
or in a special file. When the former method is adopted a folder of


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a special color should be used. There would then be two folders
for a firm, one for invoices and one for correspondence. Special
folders with double folds are largely used for filing invoices, as shown
in Fig. 23.

Documents and Legal Papers. For filing documents and legal
papers, there are two standard methods. The older of the two is

to fold the papers and file them on end
in a document drawer, like the one shown
in Fig. 24. The drawer is equipped with
a compressor or following block for keep-
ing the papers in an upright position, and
either alphabetical or numerical indexes.
These drawers can be obtained singly
or in cabinets containing any number.
The. more modern method is to file
documents and legal papers in a vertical
file, using document envelopes, as shown

Fig. 24. Document File. . i^. o- rpi i r .i

Broume-Morae Co. "^ Fig. 2o. Ihese envelopes are of the

right size to hold legal papers flat, insur*

ing convenient reference, which is a decided improvement over the

older method of folding the papers. Any of the several methods of

indexing can be used, depending on the requirements of the business.

As a filing system for the
lawyer's office, this method is
unsurpassed. Every record
of the office is kept in one
complete filing system, yet
each case is separate and dis-
tinct. Every paper and all
correspondence relating to a
given case is filed, unfolded,

in one of the document en- Fig. 25. Document FUe Envelopes

1 f lA i_ Browne- Morse Co,

velopes — or a folder can be

used — bringing all papers on the same subject together.

If indexed alphabetically, the papers are filed according to the
name of the client. When the numerical index is adopted, an alpha-
betical index card with cross-references, including the docket index,
is used. The folders may be numbered by case or office numbers.


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Copies of opinions can be filed in the same manner, making every
opinion available whether given yesterday or ten years ago. The
usual confusion in the lawyer's office, incident to the search for papers
scattered through several files, is entirely done away with.

Clippings. The vertical system is the most practicable for filing
clippings, but, since they are liable to be lost through the open ends
of the ordinary correspondence folder, it is best to use either the
envelope or the invoice folder — ^preferably the former. Indexing
for clippings should
be by subject, and if
a file is used exclu-
sively for clippings, it
may be either numer-
ical or alphabetical. I
As a rule, the latter
is most satisfactory,
though the former is
used quite extensively.

An e n velo pe
should be used for
each subject. On the
front of the envelope
the name of the sub- ^' ^s- ^^p^^^ff or MapFUe

C. J. Lundatrom Co.

ject and a list of the

contents is written. All clippings relating to that subject are filed in
the envelope, which is placed back of the proper alphabetical
guide. Cross-references, when needed, are provided by a card index.

Drawings and Maps. A large concern, especially a manufac-
turing enterprise, has a large number of drawings, blue prints, maps,
and photographs to file. One method is to file them in large folders,
laid flat in a flat drawer, using a card index for cross-reference.

A more convenient method is to file them vertically. The ordi-
nary vertical file drawer is too small for large drawings, but in Fig.
2() is shown a special file which will accommodate drawings measuring
24" X 36". The drawings are filed in heavy folders, made to fit
the drawer. This drawer is hinged at its lower front edge, permitting
it to be opened by simply tilting the drawer forward, an operation
which is accomplished with very little exertion. The drawer is held


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in open position by an automatic catch which is quickly released
when it is desired to close the drawer. Each drawer is provided with
an adjustable follower which moves back as the space fills up. When
open the drawer exposes its entire contents, any of which may be
picked out instantiy and again filed with the utmost convenience and
dispatch. When a large tracing is to be filed, it is desirable to first
pull out the folder to which it belongs and, after having placed the
tracing therein, to slip the folder back in its place. This prevents
any accidental creasing of the drawing.

Either an alphabetical or numerical index can be used, depending
on the class of drawings to be filed. In a machine shop, where all
machines and parts are known by number, the numerical index is
best. In a publishing house, where it is desired to keep all drawings
used for each book, they should be filed alphabetically by subject.

Credit Reports. Vertical filing is best for credit reports, as it
brings together all credit information about a customer. Unlike
correspondence, it is customary to fasten credit reports in the folder
by using a drop of paste at the top of each report. A folder is used
for each customer, and all reports are attached in the order of their

The index may be numerical, alphabetical, or geographical.
When the numerical system is used, a card index furnishes the cross-
reference. The card contains the name and the number of the folder,
with a brief history of the customer's dealings with the house.


Guiding. The importance of guiding should not be overlooked,
for guides are the great essential of a successful filing system. They
must be simple and correct. They must be inserted at suflBcient
intervals to guide eye and hand instantly to the desired folder. A
vertical file drawer holds about 5000 letters, and, assuming that the
average is 10 letters to a folder, this would mean 500 folders. A
general rule is to use 50 guides to a drawer, or one guide for every
ten folders.

The estimate of the number of guides required should be liberal.
If there are 500 regular correspondents, it is better to equip the files
with a 60 subdivision alphabetical index than to confine it to a 50
subdivision index.


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Guides must stand hard usage and remain legible; therefore
the best quality should be used. All manufacturers of filing
equipment now supply guides of heavy pressboard with metal tips.
The metal tip guide is entirely rigid and supports the papers or
folders in the file, keeping them rigid and in alignment. An impor-
tant feature is that the index heading (name, letter, or number)
can be changed at any time by merely inserting a new slip in the
metal tip. Metal tip guides cost more than the old-style manila
guide stock, but in the
end are more econom-
ical. The money paid
for a filing outfit should
be regarded as a per-
manent investment; if
the expense is to be cut
down, let it be in the
purchase of supplies
used for transfer, rather
than in the regular files
which are used every day.

Transferring. Corre- pjg, 27. sorting Tray

spondence which is out

of date should be removed from the current file and filed in
transfer files or boxes, indexed as in the regular files. Transfers
should not be made too frequently. It is often advisable to use
cabinets large enough to hold the correspondence for two years, one
part being used for current correspondence, the other for correspond-
ence one year back. At the end of the year, all of the correspond-
ence is removed from the older file, which becomes the current file
during the succeeding year.

Sorting. The work of the file clerk is facilitated and greater
accuracy insured by the use of a sorting tray, as shown in Fig. 27.
This consists of a wooden tray, equipped with alphabetical or numer-
ical guides according to the system used. For the alphabetical system
a set of -4 to Z guides — one for each letter of the alphabet — is used.
Before attempting to file, the clerk sorts the day's correspondence
in this tray. All correspondence belonging in one division of the
alphabet is thus brought together, and can be quickly filed.


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The selection of filing e(juipment has been greatly simplified
by the manufacturers, who have studied the filing problem with the
view to supplying the demand for equipment to accommodate every
business paper. As new problems have presented themselves, new
equipment has been designed. The needs of the smallest oflSce, as
well as those of the largest corporation, have been studied and met.
Heavy cabinets of solid construction have given way to cabinets
built in sections, any one of which can be carried by the oflSce boy.

The man who has but a
half-dozen letters a day to
file finds a section exactly
suited to his requirements;
as his business grows, he
adds other sections; the
cabinet grows with the
business, making one com-
plete system, no matter how
small or how large.

The most universally
used of all filing devices is
the vertical file. As has
been explained in the pre-
ceding pages, it adapts it^
self to almost all of the
papers found in a business
oflBce. Vertical files are
made with drawers in three standard sizes: letter size, for ordinary
correspondence, or papers up to 9Y X ll'^ in size; legal or cap
size, for legal blanks, reports, and other large papers up to 10^ X
IS'^ in size; invoice size, for invoices, orders, credit reports, and all
papers not larger than 5}" X 8". Papers S'' X 10^ can be
filed in the invoice size by folding once.

Styles of Construction. Two standard styles of construction
are used for vertical files, horizontal sections and upright sections
or units. The horizontal section is made one vertical file drawer
high and eitlier two or three drawers wide. Upright units are QUe

Fig. 28. Showing Manner of Joining Upright
Sections. Browne- Morse Co.


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drawer wide, four drawers high for letter and cap sizes, and five
drawers high for the invoice size.

The upright unit is the newer and preferred style of construction;
it is more substantial, and for either large or small filing systems
occupies less floor space. Upright units are put together as shown
in Fig. 28. Each section is built v/ith skeleton ends, and at each end
of the cabinet — ^whether one or a dozen sections — end panels are used,
making one complete cabinet. The sections are locked together,
and can be separated at will. Fig. 29 shows three upright sections,
in the three standard sizes, joined together to make a complete cabinet
This gives some indica-
tion of the possibilities
offered by this style of
construction in building
a cabinet to meet every

Upright units are
also made with combi-
nations of drawers for
different purposes. For
a small business, an as-
sortment of files for
different purposes is
frequentiy desirable. An
entire section filled with

files of one kind may not ^«- ^S- Three upright sections m standard Sizes
•^ Browne- Morse Co.

be needed, but a com-
bination section offers a solution. The combination illustrated in
Fig. 30 contains one cupboard, six shallow storage blanks, two
double card-index drawers, and three document files. A vertical
file drawer can be substituted for the cupboard unit.

If vouchers, or other folded documents are to be filed, the docu-
ment drawers shown in the combination unit can be used, or provision
can be made for filing these papers in the vertical file. The vertical
file drawer is divided lengthwise by partitions into compartments
of the same width as the document file. Each compartment is
equipped with a follower block and countersunk rod for holding


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Where a large number of folded documents are to be filed, as'
in the office of a corporation using a voucher system, this file is much
more convenient than the old style. An old-style document file has

a limited filing capacity, and must
be taken from the cabinet for
consultation. A vertical file
drawer, legal size, provides three
compartments, each 24^^ in
length. This gives an actual
filing capacity of six feet in a
single drawer. An upright
section, equipped for document
filing, is shown in Fig. 31. If an
entire section is not needed for

Fig. 30. Combination Cabinet

Browne- Morse Co.

this purpose, one drawer can
be equipped for document filing,
and the others used for corre-

A style of construction de-
signed to combine the expansion
idea with variety is known as
the inter-inter cabinet This

cabinet consists primarily of an outer cabinet or shell of standard
height, depth, and width. This shell is divided into compart-
ments of standard height into which the filing devices are fitted.
The various filing devices are arranged in skeleton units of stand-

Fig. 31. Upriglit Cabinet for Documents
Library Bureau


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ard dimensions, made interchangeable so that any desired com-
bination can be produced. Fig. 32 shows an outside cabinet, card
index, and vertical file units, which fit the openings in the cabinet.
This construction enables the user to make a combination of
small units of various kinds to suit present requirements, all housed



Fig. 32. Inter-Inter Construction

in a single case in a compact form. Provision for future expansion
is unnecessary, since an additional outside cabinet can be added at
any time, and the units rearranged at will to conform with changes
in the system.

An inter-inter cabinet shown in Fig. 33 suggests the variety of
devices that can be accommodated in a single shell. Thb cabinet
contains vertical file, card index, legal blank drawers, and docu-
ment files.

The need has been felt for a small filing cabinet, or stack of
sections, that would be complete and give the proper variety. The
professional man, the department manager, and the executive have
need for a small cabinet for personal correspondence, reports, statistics,
records of matters requiring personal attention, blanks and forms,
private papers, and all matters of a confidential nature. This need
seems to have been met satisfiictorily by the small sections known to
the trade as seclioncts.


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These are complete sections, the largest size being that of the
vertical file drawer, which can be stacked one on top of the other
or side by side. Any of the standard filing devices can be made
up into these sections. A small section for 4^^ X Q^ cards is shown

in Fig. 34. A single section, with top
and base, makes a complete cabinet,
which can be added to as needed. Fig.
35 shows a small stack of sections
consisting of vertical file, S'^ X S'^ card
index, and 3^^ X 5^ card-index drawers,
and one document file, on a leg base.

Transfer Files. Files for the storage
of transferred correspondence can be of
cheaper construction than the regular
filing cabinets, as they are less frequently
referred to and not subject to the same
hard usage. They should, however, be
of reasonably substantial construction;
it is usual to keep business correspond-
ence at .least two years, and it may be
necessary to refer to it many times
after it b transferred. Then, too, if
substantial transfer files are provided,
they can be used again and again;
sufiicient transfer files to hold two
years' correspondence will last in-

At first, manufacturers of vertical
filing equipment supplied nothing more
substantial than boxes made of binder's

Fig. 33. Inter-Inter Cabinet
The Macey Co,

board. Boxes the size of a
vertical file drawer were used.
These were usually stored on
shelves, and to refer to the
contents it was necessary to
take down the box and re-
move the cover. To keep
pace with improvements in

Fig. 34. Card Sectionet
Shav}- Walker Co.

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filing cabinets, new styles of transfer files have been perfected.

One of the most satisfactory of the more modem styles is the drawer

transfer file, which is practically a single drawer section. It is made

of light wood with a drawer as shown

\ in Fig. 36. These files can be stacked,

one on top of another, and locked to-
gether, making a solid filing cabinet.
The drawers hold the contents of a ver-
tical file drawer, but are not equipped
with follower blocks, and are not rec-
ommended for current filing. These
transfer files cost more than the old style,
but when durability and accessibility
are considered, they probably are more
economical in the long run.

Metal Flies. Metal furniture is rapidly
gaining in popularity for oflSce use. All
sorts of office furniture is now made of
sheet steel — desks, tables, chairs,

Ffe.35. Astackofsc^tionets ^^^"'^^r^' ^ud filing dcviccs for all pur-
shdir-WnUer Co. poscs. Mctal cabiucts are made in up-

right sections and equipped with the
same filing devices found in wooden cabinets. Fig. 37 shows a row
of metal sections, combining a variety of filing devices. At either

Fig. 36. Transfer Drawer. Browne- Morse Co.

end are roller book shelves and a cupboard, while in the center are
six styles of files.


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The most apparent advantage of metaJ files is the safety afforded,
as it has been amply demonstrated that they will go through a very
severe fire without damage to contents. Few ofiiqes have suflScient
vault space for the papers that must be kept. Metal files not only
take care of the valuable papers, but by keeping all papers away from
combustible material, act as a fire preventive.

Another reason for the increasing popularity of metal files b
the scarcity of suitable timber and its advancing cost. The supply
of oak and mahogany is decreasing so rapidly that the necessity for a
substitute seems inevitable in the near future. For office furniture
steel seems to offer the most practical substitute.


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One of the chief functions of the comptroller's office is to gather
statistics which tell what is being done in every branch, department,
and division of the business. The purpose of these statistics is to show
the results of these activities — the gross volume of transactions, the
cost, and the result in net profits. When assembled in the form of
intelligent reports, these statistics present an understandable history
of the business.

The statistical department may be considered as the cost depart-
ment of the conmiercial branch. Manufacturers recognize the neces-
sity for comprehensive statistics in the manufacturing branch; they
realize that they must know what their goods cost to manufacture;
but in comparatively few enterprises is the importance of commercial
costs recognized.

In the factory, costs are figured down to the most minute detail ;
what it costs to perform each operation on every part of the completed
whole is known; the efficiency of every man — ^what he costs in wages,
in power, and general expense, and the cost of every bit of material
he uses — all of this is told by the cost accounting system. What it
costs to sell the goods is usually a matter of guess work.

To know what it costs to run a business — to know commercial
costs — is just as important as to know manufacturing costs. Both
are necessities if the business is to attain its greatest possibilities.

What are the actual profits of this or that department?

How much net profit is there in handling this commodity?

Does it cost more to send a salesman to that little town, ten miles
oflF the main line, to take Jones' order than the profits on his business?

Is there as much profit in working this territory as some other?

Measured by the standard of net profits — ^not volume of sales —
IS Brown a profitable salesman? Compared with White, what is
his efficiency?

Copyright J909, by American School of Correspondence.

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These are some of the questions to be answered before it can
be claim^ that the statistical department has reached its highest
state of efficiency. The success of modern merchandising is meas-
ured, not by the volume of business transacted, but by profits. In
days gone by, the merchant liked to be able to say that he sold more
goods last year than any of his competitors; to-day he is better pleased

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Online LibraryIll.) American School (LansingCyclopedia of commerce, accountancy, business administration ... [microform] → online text (page 22 of 27)