Posted by: kbenoy | August 17, 2011

Accounting for Time – Cataloguing Time Ledgers

This week I have started cataloguing the Smith, Son and Wilkie internal records. Under the Operational Records heading I have identified two distinct series of records, Time Summaries and Time Ledgers. There are three ledgers in each series and they roughly cover the period 1925-1960.

A newly catalogued Time Ledger and Time Summary

The Time Summaries contain details of time worked by employees of Smith, Son and Wilkie on behalf of their clients and how much they were to be charged. Each entry includes a reference number, the name of the client, sometimes a note about the work being carried out and the amount to be charged under columns A – T. These columns can be used to identify the member of staff who completed the work, using the list in the front of the Time Ledger. The Time Summary is organised by date so all the work carried out by Smith, Son and Wilkie in any month of the covered years can be seen. The Time Summaries in this series are numbered 3, 4 and 5. It is likely Time Summaries were kept by the accountants before this period but they do not appear to have survived.

February 1932 - Time Summary D-SSW/1/3/2/1

The Time Ledgers are organised by company or family account so a summary of the work completed for a specific company can be found and bills could be calculated. Entries are by month with a short note referring to the task such as audit or income tax. The covering dates of the Time Ledgers overlap as each account ends at a different point depending on space in the volume and may continue on another page or in the next ledger. The Time Ledgers in this series are numbered 5, 6 and 7. As with the Time Summaries, it is likely Time Ledgers were kept by the accountants before this period but they do not appear to have survived.

Craddock Brothers Entry - Time Ledger D-SSW/1/3/1/1

The two series are linked as each entry in the Time Summary shows a reference number, which relates to the relevant page of the Time Ledger. If you look at the image above showing a page from the Time Summary in February 1932, the fourth entry up from the bottom is for Craddock Brothers. The reference on the left of the company name is 73. This reference refers to the page in the Time Ledger shown above and the related entry for work completed in February 1932. The members of staff at Smith, Son and Wilkie who carried out this work can be identified by using the list at the front of the Time Ledger.

List of staff at Smith, Son and Wilkie from Time Ledger D-SSW/1/3/1/1

I am enjoying getting to know the records and to understand how Smith, Son and Wilkie worked as a company. Although the Time Summaries and Time Ledgers contain similar information, the way they were laid out fitted multiple purposes. The Time Summaries allowed the accountants to keep track of their work and the amount each member of staff had completed. The Time Ledgers were used for billing and tracking the work completed for each company.

If you are interested in these records the references are:

Time Summary No 3 – Jan 1932 – Sep 1943 – D-SSW/1/3/2/1

Time Summary No 4 – Oct 1943 – Apr 1953 – D-SSW/1/3/2/2

Time Summary No 5 – Apr 1953 – Aug 1960 – D-SSW/1/3/2/3

Time Ledger 5 – Jul 1928 – Jan 1947 – D-SSW/1/3/1/1

Time Ledger 6 – Sep 1938 – Sep 1949 – D-SSW/1/3/1/2

Time Ledger 7 – Jul 1947 – Dec 1954 – D-SSW/1/3/1/3

They will be available to view later in the project at Wolverhampton City Archives.

I am going to continue cataloguing the Smith, Son and Wilkie internal papers to learn as much as I can about the accountants internal practices before I move on to their clients.

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