It is a device for the processing of alphanumeric documents—for example, accounts, invoice-payment demands, payrolls, and construction estimates—that require simple calculations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and the computation of percentages. The machine also automatically prints the result of a processing operation on paper by means of a typewriter and simultaneously records the result on an auxiliary information carrier, such as a magnetic tape, a punch tape, or punch cards.
A billing machine consists of an electric typewriter, a calculator (in a modern accounting machine, a minicomputer), a programmed control device, and a unit for recording the information on an auxiliary carrier. Billing machines are used, for example, at computer consoles, in bookkeeping departments of commercial and industrial enterprises, in banks, in large warehouses, and in construction and assembly-installation directorates. The use of such machines substantially expedites the processing of accounting and financial documentation. With the development of automated control systems, billing machines have been employed as input terminals for such systems.
The various billing machine models differ in the width of the typewriter carriage (32, 45, or 62 centimeters), the set of computational operations performed, and the degree of automation. The model VA-345M and VA-345P machines are widely used in the Soviet Union, as well as such machines as the Soemtron, which is manufactured in the German Democratic Republic.