An ‘Office form’ may be defined as a printed sheet of paper or card with marked headings for entries to be made in hand or by typing. Forms are the basic tools for all types of office work. It is through the office forms all essential information required for efficient conduct of business can be received, recorded, arranged and transmitted in a systematic manner. Generally, the data may be collected from outside sources through bills, quotations, orders, statistical data, return etc.
The ready-made forms help the employees to collect the data without much difficulty. These forms reduce clerical work and collects only required information instead of writing down the whole matter. Hence, the form is printed or cyclostyled format for future use. Forms may be filled in ink or with a typewriter.
A form is printed piece of paper containing some information with blank spaces left for the entry of required information briefly by the persons using it. It is called the raw material for office work. Common examples of office forms are invoices, credit notes, debit notes etc.
J.C. Denier defines “Printed piece of paper or card on which entries are usually made against marked headings”.
George R. Terry says that, “Office forms are the raw materials of the office”.
1. Purchase Forms: A purchase form is a commercial document and first official offer issued by a buyer to a seller, indicating types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services. E.g., Purchase requisition form, Order form
2. Sales Forms: A sales form is an internal document of the company. It is generated by the company itself for selling their goods.
3. Correspondence Forms: Any written or digital communication exchanged by two or more parties. Correspondences may come in the form of letters, emails, text messages, voicemails, notes, or postcards.
4. Accounting Forms: The account form balance sheet is a financial statement format where the assets are reported on the left side and the liabilities are reported on the right side. The account form is kind of a visual representation of the accounting equation.
1. Outside Contract Forms: Forms sent to customers, creditors and other persons (outside the office) with whom the firm does business from the office (e.g., cheques, orders, invoices, statements, vouchers, etc.)
2. Internal Office Forms: Forms which are used by the employees of a business internally within the office (e.g., memorandum forms, requisitions, accounting forms, report forms, etc.).
1. Single Copy Forms: Single copy form is used to serve the only one purpose and kept by any one of the office employee. E.g. Employment application forms.
2. Multiple Copy Forms: These are prepared in duplicate or triplicate-the copies being used to transmit information to other departments or used as additional record ex. sub type unit, fan or Z arrangement.
i. EDP Forms: EDP Forms which are used on computers and other data processing machines.
ii. Non-EDP Forms: These forms are not used in EDP but are otherwise used on typewriters or to write in hand etc.
An e- form is a computer program version of a paper form. E-forms eliminate the cost of printing, storing, and distributing pre-printed forms, and the wastage of outdated forms. E-forms can be filled out faster because the programming associated with e-forms can automatically- format, calculate, look up and validate information for the user.
· It is easier to fill when compare to paper form.
· It can be easily and quickly responded.
· Adding questions and editing information can be done quickly and easily.
· Forms are made secure through use of password protection.
· It saves time and money.
Modern business depends much upon record. “A record is any written data that is made for possible future use.” Forms are needed together and preserve information for present and future use. Need for office forms arise as they serve the following purposes:
a. Gathering and Communicating Information: They collect the needed data and then communicate the same to perform different tasks.
b. Providing Specific Location: They provide a specific location for each item of information needed and thus the work of data entry, processing and reference becomes easy.
c. Elimination of Recopying: As forms used to collect regular and standard information are prepared in duplicate and triplicate they eliminate the need for recopying repetitive or standard information, thus saving much time and money.
d. Identification of Records: They help to identify records and facilitate filing for future reference.
· It simplifies office methods and procedures.
· It reduces cost of office operations by reducing the amount of manual or machine writing and thereby increasing the output of each worker.
· Office forms are useful where it is desirable to fix responsibility for work done.
· Business information can be received or collected, recorded, processed and transmitted in a systematic and efficient way with the help of office forms
Following are the factors to be considered while designing office forms:
1. Forms must be designed according to the purpose of their use: The general purpose of a form is to make clerical work easier than what it would be if a blank paper was used.
2. Forms should be easy to use: The manner in which a form will be used must be kept in view while designing the forms and choosing the quality of paper for its printing. A form which is to be used on a typewriter or on a book-keeping machine should be so designed that it may have minimum number of starting places for the typist.
3. The design of forms should be simple and facilitate the use: A simple design generally makes the form more convenient to use. The design should enable the placing of matter to be easily done.
4. Each type of form should bear a title and number: To use a form, one must refer to it by a title or number. The title of the form should be standardised and printed at the top. It should be clearly descriptive but short. The form title is more easily remembered by the clerks than the serial number.
5. The size of the form should be decided in accordance with the purpose in view: There is no hard and fast rule regarding the exact size of a form.
6. The type face for printing forms should be clear and distinct for purposes of reading: The form designer has to keep in view the type- face for printing so as to make the printed form neat and compact.
7. The right type of paper should be selected for every form: The printing, typing or writing impression desired will determine the quality of paper suited for the purpose. The appearance of the forms as regards finish colour, weight, etc., makes an appeal to the person to whom they are addressed.
8. Adequate provision should be made for punching, scoring and perforating the forms: If forms are required to be punched for binders, it should be arranged by specifying standard measurements from centre to centre of the holes. Scoring means impressing a line on the form which crease the paper so that time of printing. Perforation of certain forms may be required or a series of short dash(--) marks which cut partially through the paper.