« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
anything like such an exhibit is quite out of the question. Judging from the fact that more than two-thirds of the volume before us is composed of financial statistics, it would appear that such are more readily available than are the physical statistics of cities.
In conjunction with and as an extension of the work of the National Municipal League Committee on Uniform Municipal Accounts and Statistics the Bureau of the Census has evolved a system of municipal accounting of general applicability to any city in the country. By accentuating financial statistics the Census Bureau is bringing this system to the attention of accounting officers and is greatly aiding the movement for uniform municipal accounts. About half of the text introductory to the present collection of statistics consists of a remarkably concise analysis, with definitions of the principles of municipal accounting, applicable to American conditions. INSURANCE. A Practical Exposition for Students and Business Men.
Revised edition. By T. E Young, B. A., F. R. A. S. 146 pages. Price $2.50. Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, New York, 1907
This volume is a really valuable treatise upon the principles of insurance. It is a practical work for practical men, but at the same time contains a sound and clear statement of the underlying theory. One of the features of the work is the wealth of mathematical information that it contains. The chief objection to the book from an American reader's standpoint is the strangeness of the nomenclature. Many of the terms are technical and others are so distinctly British that a glossary would not be out of place. Still it would be easy to exaggerate this difficulty, which is after all only superficial. The book has taken rank and deserves to be recognized as one of the most important contributions to the literature of insurance. THE CURRENCY PROBLEM AND THE PRESENT FINANCIAL SITUA.
TION. A Series of Addresses delivered at Columbia University 1907
1908. Pp. 170. The Columbia University Press, 1908. The addresses composing this volume are of particular interest at the present time because they present the opinious of successful men of affairs with regard to the causes of the panic of 1907. The volume is prefaced by a brief but illuminating paper by Professor E. R. A. Seligman in which he discusses the crisis of 1907 in the light of history, comparing the phenomena of this last crisis with the several panics of the Nineteenth Century. The volume is made up of the following addresses: “The Modern Bank,” by Frank A. Vanderlip; “The Stock Exchange and Money Market," by Thomas F. Woodlock; Government Currency Versus Bank Currency,” by A. Barton Hepburn; “ Gold Movements and Foreign Exchanges,” by Albert Straus; “The New York Clearing House," by William A. Nash; “ Clearing Houses and the Currency," by James G. Cannon; American and European Banking Methods and Bank Legislation Compared,” by Paul M. Warburg; “The Modern Corporation," by George W. Perkins.
We can heartily recommend this volume to any man who wishes to get a comprehensive view of the financial and currency situation in the United States. Mr. Vanderlip's description of the modern bank, although it is far from elementary, is nevertheless so clear and simple in its language and so apt in its illustrations that a beginner in the subject could have no difficulty in comprehending it. Mr. Woodlock's paper is of like character. He describes with great clearness the operations of Wall Street, and is particularly interesting in his explanation of the conditions which give rise to fluctuations in the rates of call money. To the reader who has some familiarity with American banking Mr. Warburg's address will possess the greatest interest and value. He shows that our banking methods are the opposite of those in vogue in Europe, and that in consequence we suffer from certain evils to which Europe is never exposed. For example, American banks deal altogether in promissory notes, whereas European banks deal in bills of exchange. This commercial paper is merely an investment, whereas in Europe it serves as a means of exchange. Mr. Warburg calls attention to the advantages of the government banks of Europe and to the branch banking system as compared with the numerous small and isolated national and State banks of this country. This paper is one which every banker in the United States can read with profit. Mr. Perkins makes a very earnest and sensible plea for the modern corporation. He argues that they are “not only vast business enterprises, but great and growing institutions for savings,” and in proof points to the fact that during 1907, despite the campaign against corporations, the stockholders of some of the largest of them steadily increased in numbers.
It is to be hoped that this volume will have a wide circulation on account of the soundness of its financial teachings, and the weight given to these teachings by the fact that the authors are all practical men. THE CONSOLIDATED STOCK EXCHANGE OF NEW YORK, by S. A.
Nelson. The A. B. Benesch Co., New York, 1907.
This little volume is written with the object of giving a brief and clear account of the history and working of the Consolidated Stock Exchange. The author describes its various departments, but in considering its relations to the public he touches upon many topics of interest which are not confined in their scope to one institution. Examples of the latter are found in the chapters dealing with the principles of the exchange, the various types of traders, a day's work of commission broker; and the mechanism of a complete bull trade and of a complete bear trade. Similarly the treatment of the exchange clearing house is of more than local interest. Besides stating the fundamental principles and the methods of organization, the author presents two specimen “clearing sheets" and discusses the items in their various relations to each other. Thus the general reader is given a clear idea of just how balances arise and how they are adjusted.
Current Magazine Articles.
The periodical literature of business is enormous in volume, but not impressive in quality. Too much of it is mere gossip or disguised advertising or superficial rehash of what sensible business men already know. But among the chaff there are always a few grains of wheat which ought not to be allowed to go to waste. It is the purpose of this department to pick out and summarize some of the articles that are worth attention. As no one man could possibly cover the whole field, the editor will be grateful to any one who will take the trouble to call his attention to articles that have been found useful.
Foundry Costs. Modern Methods Magazine for January contains an article on “Methods of Keeping Foundry Costs,” by J. F. Johnson. The writer, among other things, says:
A foundry business is peculiar in a great many respects. It is unlike any other manufacturing business on account of the uncertainties regarding product, amount of material and supplies used on any particular job. This makes it a very difficult matter to get an accurate system of costs.
From my observation the foundry business is conducted on the hit or miss plan. Large contracts are taken every day by parties merely looking at the blue prints and price quoted without going into any details as to the amount of loss on account of defective work and unavoidable causes. The most important object of the Jobbing Founders' Association is to get a good system and have various foundries adopt it and find out their true cost, and in this way avoid ruinous prices in the future.
The first step is to enter the order taken by giving it a shop order number and issuing shop bills or material to different departments interested. This, I think, is a universal practice and is understood by every one. In addition to this shop bill, we issue to the moulder a small card, giving the shop order number, pattern number and number of pieces to be made.
Every day a report is made by the foundry clerk of the cast, giving the shop order number, number of pieces, pattern number, and weight of castings. We next have a record of all metals charged in cupola during the month, giving date, kind and weight. This can be kept in book form or loose sheets. The next step, and it is of utmost importance, is to have a store room where all materials are kept for stock, and these materials can only be gotten by an order from the foreman.
The store house is credited every month to stores accounts and proper jobs and accounts charged. A periodical inventory is taken to compare actual stock on hand with the book value, and thus keep a check on the storekeeper as to the correctness of his accounts.
As the time slips are received each day in the office, after being approved by the foreman, they are entered on a distribution or operating sheet, giving the shop order number, pattern number, class of work, time and amount. At the end of the month these sheets are added and results shown on recapitulation sheet. This gives you the total moulding cores and labor on each job. The cost of the different pattern numbers can be taken from the sheets at any time after closing the month's work, so as not to delay the closing of the month's business.
Another report of great value to us we call a summary of the product. This report gives average during the month, with product, with pounds per moulder per day, average weight of piece per month, and other useful information, for the sake of comparison with other months. We are thus able to tell if our product is varying, and to what extent. This report is self-explanatory and can be compiled very easily.
We now come to the final steps, which are arrived at after books are closed and all expenses determined. It is nothing more or less than a final recapitulation of foundry product, showing cost of different items, as obtained from your books. These figures are actual and are bound to be correct, on account of being taken from the books that are supposed to be correct. This sheet shows actual cost of foundry product for the month; also the different items, the practice and average cost per pound. This can be compared with previous months, and if running on the same class of product it keeps a check on your foundry and enables you to tell whether certain expenses are increasing or decreasing and in what amounts.
We have now reached the final stage or step—a cost sheet showing actual cost of each job, the metal, direct labor, apportionments and total cost. On the left hand side is shown the selling value. By merely glancing at each side you can readily see which jobs are losing and which are profitable. The selling price per pound is obtained from the estimates on the work and where no estimates have been made use price you intend charging the customer for his work. In arriving at this final result the matter of apportionments has been considered carefully, and I think your method as nearly correct as it is possible to obtain.
Profit Sharing. In the March issue of Cassier's Magazine appears an article on “Profit Sharing,” by E. Wilson. Such articles are sometimes to be considered on their merits as schemes designed to give important industrial results, but at other express primarily sentimental or political views. Mr. Wilson's article belongs to the first class. He regards employer and employee as buyer and seller respectively of a commodity, in this instance, labor. The manufacturer purchases his labor, like raw materials, as cheaply as possible and resells it in the form of finished goods, at the highest obtainable price, the difference between his receipts and his expenses representing the profits of the business. The laborer, on the other side, naturally desires as high a price for his commodity as the state of the market will permit. Each party to the transaction has every right to decline business should the terms offered by the other appear unprofitable or unfair. In that case either the manufacturer obtains labor from other sources at his own terms, or the operation of the factory ceases. In the interval, on both sides there has been a stoppage of earning power, and consequently income.
Nor does the damage end here. The manufacturer, being unable to fulfill his contracts, finds that his customers are driven to other markets, and his business connections are lost, perhaps never to be regained. In addition, although the factory may be at a standstill, what may be termed establishment charges, such as salaries of superintendents and electrical staff, rents, rates, insurance, and the like, still run on, and have to be met without any corresponding receipts. Also, not infrequently, the workman finds, as does his employer, that the market for his labor has been driven to other localities or irretrievably destroyed.
Mr. Wilson desires better coöperation between employers and employees, so that they may work together for years both in times of prosperity and of trade depression. He advocates a system which would automatically adjust remuneration between the employer and his men by removing the cause of disagreement. If such a system should have this effect, amongst others, of reducing working costs and at the same time adding to the earnings of the men, its acceptability to both sides should be without question.
The premium system, which Mr. Wilson upholds, he says, will, perhaps, be more clearly understood by reference to a concrete example. Take the case of an engineering business devoted to the construction of a special class of machinery. The component parts of a machine are finished and ready to be put together to form a complete machine. From previous experience of similar work, the manufacturer has arrived at the time occupied by the average workman in carrying out this operation. Let it be assumed that in this case the time amounts to six hours. Under the premium system the mechanic, working at his standard rate of pay, is informed that the time allowed for the operation is six hours, but that if he can complete his task in less time, he will not only be paid his ordinary wages for the time thus occupied, but, in addition, will receive pay, for let us say, half the time he saves. With this incentive, he applies himself diligently and intelligently to his task and succeeds in completing it in four hours. What is the result? With a standard rate of 8d. per hour, he receives for four hours' work the sum of 32d., or 2s. 8d., and, in addition, as a reward for his increased application, or skill, a premium of one hour's pay, namely, 8d., or in all 40d. ; or, to look at it in another way, his rate of pay has been raised to rod. per hour. From the employer's point of view there is also a decided gain. What originally cost him 48d. has now been produced for 40d., and he is enabled to sell goods at a correspondingly greater profit, or to reduce his selling price with a view to obtaining a greater number of orders. Not only so, but two hours have been redeemed, which may be employed in further useful work, the output of the factory and, therefore, its profit-earning capacity, being proportionately increased. On both sides, therefore, there is a positive gain.
The writer says that where a repetition of work is infrequent a bonus system may be adopted with advantage.
In such a case the employer, instead of paying on the results of individual operations, agrees to distribute amongst his employees a fixed proportion of the general profits of the business, as determined by his periodical balance sheets, the intention being, as before, to promote increased efficiency of labor and to reward the same in proportion to the results obtained. The following particulars may serve to explain how such a system may be applied, and are taken from a scheme in actual operation:
The amount to be paid to the employees is a fixed percentage of the net profits, and to obviate any suspicion of unfair dealing this percentage has been communicated in writing to an independent accountant, who, from an inspection of the balance sheet and other relative documents, certifies after each balance the amount due to each workman. The amount due to each individual is proportionate to the rate of wages he has received during the current year, and depends also on the number of hours worked. The actual distribution of profits takes place as soon as possible after the completion of the balance sheet, and the various sums may be at once withdrawn in cash or left on deposit with the firm, interest being paid on any such balance annually.