The obligatory trade books in terms of article 13 of our Commercial Code are: (a) a waste-book;
(b) a journal;
(c) a cash book;
(d) an inventory-book; (e) a ledger.
(a) The Waste-Book (article 14)
The law states that "every trader shall immediately enter in the waste-book every commercial transaction which he makes, showing all the conditions or terms to which it is subject". These details are also entered in the journal and the ledger, and it might appear that the law has imposed on traders a useless burden by requiring them to register the same transaction in 3 different books. On a closer examination of the wording of the law, one notes that in the waste- book the trader is required to note the entry immediately while in the case of the other books, some time can go by before the entry is registered. The registrations in the waste-book represent the first, and therefore the more genuine impression of a concluded transaction.
(b) The Journal (article 15)
"The journal must show day by day all the transaction concluded by the trader, his debts and credits, his negotiations, acceptances and endorsements of bills, and, generally, all that he receives or pays for any cause whatsoever; and must show month by month the sums disbursed for household expenses". The law requires these details because in case of bankruptcy they would enable the Court and the creditors to enquire into the true causes. The journal must contain all transactions, civil and commercial. The law, however, makes an exception with regard to retailers. They are not bound to show all the transactions made for ready cash and are only obliged to enter in their books the total amount of all the sales made on each day. (Article 25)
(c) The Cash Book (article 16)
"The cash-book must show in detail, day by day, all the sums received and those paid out by the trader, compared with the journal; ir must be balanced at least once a month". The cash-book enables the trader to know each day the amount of cash in his possession, but this information would lead the trader nowhere as money is only part of the trader's estate. The fact that a trader has no cash available on a particular day does not mean that his business is not doing well. Some are of the opinion that the cash-book has today lost much of its importance and could easily be struck off the list of obligatory trade books.