The accounting archives

While some accounting records form part of the Nineteenth Century Correspondence Archive [see AC and ACOS series], the vast majority of accounts are contained in account books and these are described in this section. The accounts comprise two basic groups, those of clients and those relating to the administration of the firm's business. A lengthy essay explaining the nature of Barings' accounting system, prepared in 1977 by Christopher Hughes, formerly head of the Credit Dept, is at DEP22 xxii.

Barings' Accounts

Green Books [100+ vols]

This is a most useful series, so-called because of its green-coloured bindings. The volumes, one per year until the 1970s when numbers progressively increase to four per year, run from 1830 to 1866 and then from 1889 to 1994 [but two summary volumes cover the period 1869-88]. The first group [1830-66] contains year end balances of all accounts in Barings' books which were used to compile the trial balance. From 1890 their content is progressively more diverse and includes not just account balances but analysis of the main general accounts as well as schedules and valuations of Barings' securities portfolio, departmental annual reports and annual accounts of all subsidiary or associated companies.

General Ledgers [200+ vols]

These run from 1766 to the 1980s and contain the general accounts - profit and loss, commission, accepting, interest and discount, etc - but also, in the early years, many client accounts. They are accessed by a separately bound series of indexes.

Journals [206 vols]

These run from 1766 to 1910 when they were discontinued. They contain additional information about entries in the General Ledgers and are accessed via reference numbers written against account entries in these ledgers. They are vital in understanding the nature of transactions underlying the entries.

Counting House Expenses Registers [23 vols]

These run from 1926 to the present day and give details of the goods and services purchased by the bank. Only two volumes cover the period before 1939. The volume for 1932-37 appears not to have survived.

Annual Accounts Working Papers

These are, in fact, files of papers, not volumes, which support the preparation of the year-end accounts, and date from the 1920s.

Back to top