This question is a source request for real or estimated annual account ledgers for ranchos in Mexican California.

Not much cash was used, so records are sparse. Most goods on the rancho were produced there or acquired in trade for cattle hides and sacks of tallow. Rancheros tithed part of their harvest and livestock increase. Towards the end of the period they ostensibly paid Indian laborers a wage, probably more often in credit for goods than in cash.

Are there any rancho budgets out there, whether original or contrived?

2 Answers 2


This is not a budget and being from 1850 is outside the Mexican period but it may be of some use. And if you scroll forward/down from that link you will find many more! Later - Many Many more!

  • Interesting source, but perhaps you can reproduce the most essential parts of that document here?
    – gktscrk
    Jun 30, 2020 at 10:03
  • See my "*sort-of answer" for why one must probably adjust expectations in this regard. Jun 30, 2020 at 19:40

Not really an answer, but an explanation of why such is likely very rare, and will likely not resemble a modern expectation.

Note that while double entry bookkeeping predates the publication of "Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita" in 1494, by Luca Pacioli, this is not true of either accrual accounting or the financial statements other than the Balance Sheet. In particular the distinction between an Income Statement and a Statement of Cash Flows. This only develops in the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, largely driven by the growth of Railroad and Steamship companies as well as stock markets. Only in the past 20 to 25 years, for instance, has accrual accounting been mandated as GAAP for Government and Non-Government Organizations. (If you've ever looked at a municipal, state, or national budget and wondered "What do they think they're doing?" - The answer is literally "18th century cash accounting without either period matching of expenses to revenues or proper distinction between asset acquisitions and expenses.")

That said, without the conceptual framework of accrual accounting in existence it is difficult to create a budget that looks like a modern Income Statement. One might find such here and there, but more likely you will find a "Projected Changes in Balance Sheet Accounts" statement. So I advise adjusting expectations accordingly.

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