The greater part of the series concerns in detail the administration of the Dundas estate, and consists of accounts and discharges or vouchers relating to public burdens and feu-duty, annualrent, annuities, and other regular payments, and a wide variety of transactions with merchants, tradesmen, and estate tenants and servants. More personal accounts are also represented in considerable quantity, though until the 18th century they are not clearly distinguished from the estate accounts. There are also accounts relating to the affairs of Janet, Countess of Wemyss, for whom George Dundas of Dundas, Advocate, acted as factor (Adv.MSS.80.2.64-80.2.66), and concerning the building of Dundas Castle in the early 19th century (Adv.MSS.80.2.55-80.2.57).
As far as possible, the papers have been arranged in the order and form which they had when they were first assembled. The accounts relating to the estate may be divided into three groups. For the earliest period, before 1668, it has not been possible to detect the original arrangement of the discharges and accounts, partly because only a fragment of the total has survived. An arrangement (suggested by the form of later series) has therefore had to be imposed on the accounts of this period. The second group covers crops 1668 to 1734. In this period two methods of accounting were used. From 1668 to 1684 and from 1705 to 1717, series of vouchers, usually numbered, and corresponding to an account, were put together annually (though on two occasions a period of two years is covered). For crops 1685-1704 and 1718-1754 however, vouchers covering the whole of each period were kept together, and arranged chronologically in categories according to the matters to which they related. The former practice seems to have been that usually adopted when the estate was administered by factors, acting on behalf of either the laird or, more commonly, his tutors or trustees. The latter practice seems to reflect periods of personal management by the laird himself. No estate accounts survive for crops 1735-1755. In the third group, 1756-1824, series of vouchers, usually numbered, correspond to accounts covering one or more crops, though from 1805 annual accounting was adopted. The earlier accounts (up to and including crop 1735) have been fully indexed. Members of the family of Dundas of Dundas, or their agents, have not been indexed when the account has no personal relevance.