The Postage Book
Peter Marshall Bsc (Econ) BA MBIM is a Fellow of the Society of Business Teachers, and an experienced educator in business subjects. He is also a prolific author and his books have been translated and sold worldwide. He lives in London, UK.
This book is like the petty cash book, in that it is a subsidiary account book. It gives a useful record of a fund entrusted to an employee, in this case the postage clerk. This person may have several other junior jobs to do within the office, such as reception/telephonist.
The postage book works much like the petty cash book, except that there is no VAT to deal with, and no analysis columns. It, too, is run on an imprest system, whereby the fund is topped up from time to time to its original level (the imprest amount).
One big difference, however, is that the fund is not kept as notes and coins: cash received by the postage clerk is used immediately to buy postage stamps. The fund exists in the form of stamps, not cash.
It differs even more from the petty cash book, and indeed from any of the other books, because it is not even a book of prime entry, providing sources for ledger posting. So it is really on the edges of the accounting system. The real source of postage data for the ledger is the cash book: this records cash paid into the postage fund.
Neverthless, it is a useful financial record for the firm. It provides details of a current asset (even if small) in the form of postage stamps; it is the only source document from which this detail can be gleaned. The postage book also provides a record of the financial relationship between the postage clerk and the firm.
You can buy books specifically designed for this purpose, though any general notebook with cash columns can be ruled up to do the job.
Writing up the postage book step by step
You will need:
- the receipt slips for stamps purchased (supplied by the Post Office);
- the stamped letters and/or parcels to be sent out.
Suppose the imprest amount was £92.00.
- 1.Record the date in the date column, with year/month to start.
- 2.Record the combined value of any stamps purchased, from the receipt slips, in the first (debit cash) column. In the third (’particulars’) column record the breakdown of the stamps purchased, e.g. 11 × 20p and 40 × 26p as in the example opposite.
- 3.List the addressees’ names shown on the envelopes or parcels, in the third column (’particulars’), recording against each in the fourth (credit cash) column the value of the stamps affixed.
- 4.When desired, the cashier can be asked to replenish the fund to the original imprest amount of £92.00. At such times the two columns should be totalled, treating the imprest figure as the balancing item.