You may not know that the useful art of keeping the books
Is more important that it might at first look
For business records play a most vital part
In ensuring the company can still remain smart

The origin of bookkeeping is lost in antiquity
But down the centuries it provided security
The Babylonians’ records were written on slabs
Much later the Italians, on papyrus kept tabs

Early systems of bookkeeping could let things go astray
But perfection was reached with double-entry
For every debit entry there must be a credit
A method that proved to have endless merit

Thus evolved the set of ‘books’ containing the facts
The Day Books and Journals which were used to keep track
Of items that then to the Ledger were posted
An important manual in which all data was hosted

From the books we derived all the Account Balances
Quite comprehensive, even showing the absences
Thus the Trial Balance revealed the state of the firm
Its accurate records we thus might confirm

From the Trial Balance we construct the Final Accounts
Trading, and Profit & Loss aggregate all the amounts
And thus the Balance Sheet will show how we’ve performed
And of success or failure we are clearly informed

For many years all this recording work was done by hand
But the march of progress bookkeeping could not withstand
And in due time the records were swallowed by clever machines
At first mechanical devices, then shiny computerised screens

But no matter what systems developed to keep business books
However sophisticated the new reports looked
The fundamentals have not really much changed
Although the presentation may have been rearranged

There is of course a hierarchy of bookkeeping staff
The humble clerk, whose job may seem quite naff
Probably now re-named as data entry clerk
Still a valuable element of bookkeeping work

But we must not confuse the efforts of lower grade staff
With Accountants who interpret the data with graphs
As they will claim their work is highly professional
Keeping their reputation has become somewhat obsessional

The Accountants’ relationship with the bookkeeping system
Is to apply all their knowledge and accumulated wisdom
To decipher the data and offer advice
All of which is provided at considerable price!

Accountants come in a variety of hues
Cost and Management specialists we should not confuse
With those Chartered Accountants who clearly would claim
They have reached the peak of the Accountancy game

This poem is a tribute to all those who keep books
That our financial property is still as real as it looks
And that entries in records held by millions of firms
Still the genuine facts for us truly confirm

Ken Fisher



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