Business - Keeping Out The Kinks
( Originally Published 1912 )
Hidden from the eyes of the public, and guarded by the ominous sign, "Positively no admittance," is the auditing room, governed by the auditor. All auditors are the same—they all "come from Missouri and have to be shown."
To the auditor's mill comes the day's grist in the form of a part of every sales check, showing the character of the sale, the clerk's number, check number, date and department. Here the check is scrutinized by keen-eyed experts, looking for errors, omissions or changes. From here starts the tracer for missing checks. No matter how great the number of sales checks used in a day in the store, each and every one must be accounted for and tabulated.
First in the form of total sales of each clerk; second, in the form of total sales of each department; third, in the form of total sales in the whole store.
Tabulating and Classifying Records
Again, these accounts are analyzed to show the total sales of each kind, such as total cash sale, total charge sale and total C. 0. D. sales. Full reports of each are made by the auditor. From these re-ports comparisons are made with reports from the cashier department as to the total amount of cash sale. Further comparisons are made with the book-keeping department showing total amount of goods charged. And with the C. 0. D. desk showing the total amount of goods sent out on C. O. D. They must all balance with the auditor's report—or there is something wrong. The errors or leaks must be found before the next day's business can proceed.
In addition to the above the auditing department secures a record of the efficiency of each clerk so that when the salary raising time comes (if it ever does) the clerks who are deserving of a raise will get it, and the clerks who have fallen down can be reduced in salary or discharged.
The auditing department, also, is a Bureau of Statistics for comparing each day's, week's, month's or year's sales with the preceding period of the previous year and of all former years.
Everything Based on Figures
The auditing department is a maker of destinies of the employees, high and low. Individuals or names are not considered. The auditor deals only in figures. He deals only with the number of the clerk. It is immaterial to him what his or her name may be. His department cannot be ruled by sentiment.
The average brain gets dizzy when it thinks of the tremendous amount of figures handled in a store—for example—making 50,000 sales a day, or upwards of 150 millions of checks to be examined and properly tabulated every year. Yet, in a big auditing department, with its 200 or more employees of experts in figures, such matters are handled just the same as the experts in the delivery department or advertising department or stock department, handle their myriad of details smoothly and accurately.
Some stores do not use the variety of manifold books that others do. The bigger the store, and the more complicated the business, the more books it will necessarily use. Some stores begin the use of books as a matter of form, because their competitors use them. But as their businesses have developed and succeeded, they have been compelled to increase the number of their books. Some stores handicap themselves because they do not use a large enough variety of books. They try to make one book do for purposes for which it was never intended. In so doing, they subject themselves to the risk of serious losses.
When you consider what a vast amount of system is required to keep a great organization like a modern store in smooth working order, the marvel is not that the store sometimes keeps you waiting so long, but that it ever serves you so quickly and satisfactorily.