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Structuring Database for Accounting
In the earlier chapters, you have already learnt that accounting of transactions are documented with vouchers. Let us consider a few accountingtransaction to understand as to how these vouchers are used. On April 01, 05 M/s Kshipra Computers commences business with initial capital of Rs.5,00,000, which is deposited into bank. Recall the journal entry that is recorded using manual accounting system. This journal entry has data contents that are filled-up using a simple transaction voucher, which is prepared by Smith and authorised by Aditya.
The process of computerised accounting involves identifying, storing and retrieving the data content of an accounting transaction. This requires a mechanism to store such data content of vouchers in a manner that allows its easy and convenient retrieval as and when required. This is achieved by designing suitable database for accounting. Such a database consists of inter-related data tables that are structured in a manner that ensures data consistency and integrity. In this chapter we shall discuss the basic concepts of database system of accounting.
In order to understand the dynamics of database design, let us understand the data processing cycle in the context of accounting. Data processing involves the technique of collecting, sorting, relating, interpreting and computing data items in such a manner as to provide meaningful and useful information for decisionmaking. The necessary steps involved in data processing cycle are data capturing, inputing, processing and generating information available to the user. Data processing cycle, when thought of in the context of accounting, requires a series of steps that have been described below briefly :
(i) Source Documents : The first step is to capture accounting data from transaction(s) so as to prepare a document, called voucher (as already stated earlier), that expresses and documents an accounting transaction. The relevant accounting data is set out in the voucher, the sample of which is shown in figures 14.1 to 14.3. These documents are so designed as to permit the recording of accounting data in a systematic manner.
(ii) Input of Data : The accounting data contained in vouchers is to be entered in a computer’s storage device. This is achieved by using a pre-designed Data Entry Form. This data entry form is designed in a manner that it is similar to physical voucher document. The data entry form is designed using software and it is made to appear on the computer monitor so that the data is entered.
(iii) Data Storage : A suitable data storage structure is required to provide for a blank data record. Hypothetically, the category type 4 above refers to Liabilities and the category type 1 indicates Expenses. The data storage structures (also called data tables) are created as a part of structuring database for accounting.
(iv) Manipulation of Data : The stored data is manipulated for necessary transformation to generate final reports. Such transformed data may be stored separately and subsequently used for generating final reports. Alternatively, the transformed data can be directly presented in the form of a report.
(v) Output of Data : The accounting reports such as ledger, trial balance, etc. are obtained in a pre-designed format by accessing the transformed data. Now that you have understood the way data content is stored in structured manner, we shall discuss how the data structures are designed in consonance with the data content that emerges from accounting transactions.
Questions for Practice
1. State main categories of data models.
2. How are computers useful in processing the accounting data?
3. What do you understand by accounting data? Discuss the stages through which it is finally transformed for being presented as information in financial statements.
4. What do you understand by database. How does it differ from DBMS?
5. What is meant by entity type? How it is different from entity set? Illustrate by giving suitable example from accounting reality.
6. What do you understand by relationship type? How is it different from relationship instance and relationship set?
7. What do you understand by multi-valued attribute? How is it different from complex and composite attribute? Illustrate by giving suitable example.
8. What do you understand by the concept of weak entity used in data modelling? Explain the relevance of owner entity type, partial key and identifying relationship in the context of such modelling.
9. What is a participation role? State the circumstances under which the use of role names becomes necessary in description of relationship types.
10. Define foreign key. How is this concept useful in relational data model? Illustrate with suitable example.
11. What is meant by NULL value? What are the reasons that lead to their occurrence in database relations?
12. Why are duplicate tuples not allowed in a relation?
13. What do you understand union compatibility of relations? For which operations such compatibility is required and why?
14. What is the need for database normalisation?
1. Discuss the basic concepts of Entity Relationship (ER) Model. Illustrate as to how an ER model is diagrammed.
2. What integrity constraints are specified on database schema? Why is each considered important?
3. Discuss the different types of update operations in relation to the integrity constraints which must be satisfied in a relational database model.
4. Discuss the steps you would take to transform an ER Model into various relations of Relational Data Model. Give suitable examples.
(i) Consider the following reality in a business enterprise, which is engaged in trading activity.
• It buys and sells a given number of items each of which is uniquely identifiable. Each unit of item is expressed in numbers or Kilograms.
• It procures its supplies from a given number of suppliers who can supply any number of items at a time. Each transaction is on credit for a particular period of time expressed in days.
• It sells various items to its customers on credit for a definite period of time expressed in days.
• Each purchase is made through a regular invoice, which has its distinct number for the supplier. It is duly dated, mentions the items being transacted, their quantities and prices and total amount of invoice.
• Design an ER schema for a database application for purchase and sales accounting and also show as to how it shall be transformed into various relations of a relational data model.
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