Public sector accounting systems comprise a structured collection of records which together document the financial transactions of the public agency. At the most basic level the flow of information between the integral components, or records, within the system is indicated by the following diagram:
+-----------+ +------------+ +-----------+ +---------+ +------------+
+---- Cash Books +---Subsidiary +-- +---
Source and Ledgers General Financial
Documents Journals +-----------+ Ledger Statements
+---- +------------------ +---
+-----------+ +------------+ +---------+ +------------+
The flow of information, however, is not always this straightforward.
Ledgers (Subsidiary and General)
Ledgers comprise one or more accounts, each account being a statement of all transactions relating to a particular item about which the recording of changes - debit and credit transactions - is required. Transactions are posted to the ledger accounts from the cash books and journals. The source of the information is subsequently indicated by reference to folio numbers often accompanied by an abbreviation of the source record eg. 'C' or 'CB'= Cash Book, 'J'= Journal, 'PC'= Petty Cash Book etc. The classification of accounts is diverse and usually depends on the operations of the agency and the nature of the information required as part of the financial statements of the agency.
Subsidiary ledgers are often maintained either to facilitate a division of responsibilities within a large account, or to provide a separate record of a particular account.
The general ledger, however, comprises all accounts necessary for the compilation of the finance statements required by the agency. It is common for a general ledger to comprise a single account to represent the total of the individual accounts in each of the subsidiary ledgers. This device is called a 'control account'.
This series was created in 1884 to summarily record the general transactions undertaken by the Melbourne Tramways Trust (VA 2692) which commenced operations in that same year. The P1 consignment of this series comprises a single volume, its contents date range concluding in 1916, the year that the M.T.T. was abolished, although many accounts were finalized in the 1890's. Amounts were posted to this ledger from VPRS 7193 General Cash Books as indicated by the prefix 'c' before the folio reference, and also from VPRS 7190 General Journal, evidenced by the prefix 'j'.
Entries were arranged by account name. A rough pencil index at the front of the volume listed a small number of account names with their respective page numbers.