Recording and Performing of Transactions in Serbia, from the beginning of XVIII to the first half of XX century

Financial literacy is crucial for the development of society. An example of development of recording and settlement of transactions in Serbia in the period up to the middle 20th century, unambiguously points out in that direction. Financial literacy itself is being developed on the basis of interest in improving the ways and conditions for business operations. Hence, its natural development is linked with traders, who were the first ones to accept and develop it.

In Serbia, its development was clearly defined into two time periods and one interim period. The first one is characterized by basic financial literacy. The interim period, the one between the Civil Code and the Commercial Code, saw an expansion of traders. In the second period financial transactions were fully formalized and a network of financial institutions was created. To the moment when the Second World War broke out financial literacy experienced its full development instigating the overall economic and social development. 

Raboš (tally)

How many hogs did a person hand over to the trader, and thereupon, how much money the trader was to pay upon the completion of the transaction, was best recorded in the calculating device with especially designed wooden sticks or plates - the so called ‘rabos’ or tally sticks.

‘Rabos’ tally stick was made of a rod or a wooden plate which was cut into half, almost throughout its length. One part would be bigger, and it had its starting point ‘the head’, which was not cut in half, and would continue on to the halved part; the second part was the part that was cut from the main part of the board. The part with the ‘head’ was called ‘The hen’, and the smaller vertical part that was appurtenant thereto was called ‘The chicken’. At the handing over of the hogs, the tally board ‘rabos’ would be connected into a whole, and notches or perforations were carved into it over the entire width, which would designate the number of handed over hogs. Every region had its own manner of recording units, like the ones, fives and tens, but it was always the prevailing rule to combine vertical and inclined lines.

The scientific paper was written by Milko Štimac under the title of "Financial Literacy in Serbia" and was first published in 2014 in „Bankarstvo“ magazine of the Serbian Bank Association in numbers 3 and 4. Please note that the file is bilingual and contains alternating Serbian and English pages of the paper.