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A new accounting data model


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Vickers, Stephen Patrick 2001 , 'A new accounting data model', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis investigates the design of the data model underlying accounting systems. Despite
radical 9hanges to business processes and enterprise information systems over recent decades,
the data model used within accounting systems has changed little since the inception of doubleentry
bookkeeping over 500 years ago. Earlier studies have proposed alternative data models
for accounting systems but these have not been adopted in practice. One reason for this is that
they were not developed on the basis of accounting data representative of real world needs.
This study uses empirical data derived from models of accounting transactions processed by
actual organisations.
The motivation for this thesis arises from criticisms made about the inability of accounting
systems to provide useful information to users and to support the business activities of
organisations. However, there is very little empirical support for the criticisms which have
been reported. Evidence gathered from users of accounting systems indicates that many of the
criticisms have been overcome by contemporary accounting systems but some of the
limitations which remain are a direct result of the design of the underlying data model.
A comparison of the models of manufacturing organisations with the alternative proposals for
accounting data models shows that these alternatives are not sufficient for modelling the
transactions of actual organisations. Recent developments in both financial reporting and
enterprise information systems also confirm the need for a model which is able to
accommodate changing user needs. This thesis uses an analysis of the accounting transactions from three organisations as the basis for the design of a new data model. The proposed data
model extends the traditional recognition criteria to allow flows of a wider range of resources
to be integrated into a single system as well as both past and future resource flows. Not only
are some future flows used in the preparation of financial statements but their inclusion also
permits the same system to be used for forward-planning. When combined with an explicit
modelling of continuous resource flows, any need for end-of-period adjustments is removed
and the constraints imposed by pre-determined reporting dates no longer apply. Problems
concerning the choice of valuation basis and accounting method are avoided by designing the
accounting data model to record resource flows independently of accounting choices. This
makes the proposed model the first capable of supporting real-time reporting and allowing
users to request financial reports based on their own preferred set of accounting policies.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Vickers, Stephen Patrick
Keywords: Accounting
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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