It’s not uncommon for secretaries and administrative assistants nowadays to be in charge of the books. It may not sound like the most exciting job, but actually bookkeeping is one of the most important aspects of a business.

For tax reasons, every business has to keep a ledger recording of all its financial transactions. The ledger records important matters such as your profit and loss, incoming payments and outgoings. For a person in charge of it it’s important to hold onto all receipts and bank statements, and to create a good filing system to store them. That way you have them if you ever need to back up your figures.

Good bookkeeping is also essential in that it helps companies to get loans. Banks like to see clear records. They will be more likely to invest in a business if they can see documentation of income and expenses.

If you are still unenthusiastic about bookkeeping, try out the new bookkeeping computer software. These programs let you see information such as overdue accounts with a click of a mouse button. They can also give you insights into your company. For example, you can see forecast sales and gain ideas on how to increase cash flow.

All in all, we must stress that, although it may seem boring, bookkeeping is an essential operation in any company.


Exercise 1

Match these Polish expressions to their English equivalents:

1. księga główna
2. strata
3. wydatki
4. pokwitowania
5. dane liczbowe
6. prognoza



Exercise 2

Combine the words from the two boxes to form collocations as in the text:


administrative / bank / cash / computer / financial /
forecast / incoming / ledger / overdue / tax
accounts / assistant / flow / payments / reasons /
records / sales / software / statement / transactions

1. ____________________________________
2. ____________________________________
3. ____________________________________
4. ____________________________________
5. ____________________________________
6. ____________________________________
7. ____________________________________
8. ____________________________________
9. ____________________________________
10. ____________________________________



Exercise 3

Complete these sentences with the expressions from the box:

back up / bank statement / cash flow / loss / forecast / profit


1. The company made a _________________ last year.
2. Review the _________________ for any errors.
3. _________________ the report with the correct documents.
4. The program allows you to _________________ future sales.
5. Increasing sales should also increase _________________.
6. Poor sales and high costs led to a fourth quarter _________________.


I know English idioms!

This lesson’s topic is bookkeeping. Let’s then have a look at two idioms using the word “books”. Here they are:

  • to balance the books (= to check that all money in a business is accounted for)
    The accountant spent several days trying to balance the books of his company.
  • to close the books (= to stop taking orders, to end a bookkeeping period)
    The company will close the books at the end of September.


Phrasals, phrasals…

In this lesson’s text we can find such a sentence: That way you have them if you ever need to back up your figures.
It uses a very common phrasal verb “to back up” which has a few meanings, for example:

  • to prove that something is true (poprzeć, podeprzeć)
    His claims are backed up by recent research.
  • to make an extra copy of computer information (zrobić kopię zapasową, tzw. backup)
    Make sure you back up your files!


Grammar corner

Let’s study this sentence from the reading text: It may not sound like the most exciting job, but actually bookkeeping is one of the most important aspects of a business. The underlined part may be translated as: Może i nie (wydaje się najbardziej ekscytującym zawodem…)


Exercise 4

Try and say this in English using the structure with the verb „may”:

1. Moja praca może i nie jest dobrze płatna…
2. Może i nie jest (on) najlepszym szefem…
3. Może i nie mamy doskonałych rezultatów…
4. Może i nie oferują lepszych warunków…



bookkeeping – prowadzenie ksiąg rachunkowych, księgowość
uncommon – rzadkie
nowadays – aktualnie, w dzisiejszych czasach
to be in charge of – zajmować się
to sound – brzmieć
exciting – ekscytujący
actually – faktycznie, prawdę mówiąc
a business – firma
tax reasons – powody podatkowe
to keep – tu: prowadzić
ledger – księga główna
recording, record – zapis
matter – sprawa
profit and loss – zysk i strata
incoming – przychodzący
payment – płatność
outgoings – wydatki
to hold onto – trzymać, przechowywać
recept – pokwitowanie
bank statement – wyciąg bankowy
filing system – system segregowania
to store – przechowywać
to back up – potwierdzić, zrobić kopię zapasową
figures – dane liczbowe
essential – niezbędny
loan – pożyczka, kredyt
clear – czysty
to be likely – być prawdopodobnym
income – przychód
expenses – wydatki
to try out – wypróbować
software – oprogramowanie
overdue – zaległy
account – konto, też: klient
with a click of a mouse button – za kliknięciem myszki
insight – wgląd
forecast – przewidywany, prognoza
sales – sprzedaż
increse – zwiększyć
cash flow – przepływ gotówki
all in All – podsumowując
to stress – podkreślić
although – chociaż



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1. księga główna        ledger
2. strata                      loss
3. wydatki                  outgoings
4. pokwitowania       receipts
5. dane liczbowe       figures
6. prognoza                forecast

1. administrative assistant
2. tax reasons
3. financial transactions
4. ledger records
5. incoming payments
6. bank statement
7. computer software
8. overdue accounts
9. forecast sales
10. cash flow

1. profit
2. bank statement
3. back up
4. forecast
5. cash flow
6. loss

Ex. Grammar corner
1. My job may not be well paid…
2. He may not be the best boss…
3. We may not have excellent results…
4. They may not offer better conditions…