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block diagram (horizontal)
A type of graphical systems documentation that provides an overview of an accounting system in terms of its major subsystems. Two varieties are commonly used-horizontal and hierarchical. A horizontal block diagram shows the subsystems of an accounting system and the direction of the information flows among the subsystems.
block diagram (hierarchichal)
A type of graphical systems documentation that provides an overview of an accounting system in terms of its major subsystems. Two varieties are commonly used-horizontal and hierarchical. A hierarchical block diagram show the analysis of an accounting system into successive levels of subsystems or, alternatively, the synthesis of subsystems into a complete system. The connecting lines show the associations among the levels.
A type of graphical system documentation that shows a high-level overview of the system. Only the system being diagramed and its relevant environment are displayed.
data flow diagram
A type of graphical system documentation that provides a more detailed representation of an accounting system than a block diagram, but fewer technical details than a system flowchart. It show only what an accounting system is doing, not how the system is doing it.
Written policies and procedures that govern the preparation, use, and maintenance of documentation.
Guidelines for Effective System Flowcharting
- Guidelines that help preparers represent systems more clearly & make the flowcharts easier to understand.
- Start with the entry of data into the system you are flowcharting.
- Show all working files or database tables.
- Show the source and disposition of all major documents and reports. This does not apply to paper journals and ledgers because they do not flow anywhere.
- Use arrowheads on all flow lines to indicate the direction of the flow.
- Make the direction of the flow lines primarily from left to right and top to bottom. Occasionally, these directions can be reversed when it makes the flowchart more concise, but this should be done sparingly.
- Avoid crossing flow lines to the extent possible.
- Put the entire system on one page unless it is impractical to do so.
- Use on-page and off-page connectors sparingly. An overuse of connectors indicates poor layout and makes the flowchart hard to follow.
- Use telegraphic, keyword active style in the words on the flowchart, leaving out nonessential words, such as a, an, and the.
- When abbreviating is necessary, use standard abbreviations only, or use a footnote or legend to explain nonstandard abbreviations.
- Include written comments whenever it helps make a flowchart more complete or easier to understand. Comments can be included within the flowchart using the comment symbol, or they can be included as footnotes at the bottom or on one side. If showing segregation of duties, use vertical columns, horizontal rows, or the organizational change symbol.
- Do not leave dangling branches. A dangling branch occurs when a process suddenly stops on the flowchart, but obviously needs other activities to complete the process. Explain what happens with a note or show data going into another system. Do not leave the reader wonering.
- Place a title, the preparer's name, and the date on all pages of the flowchart. Number pages as "page x of n," for example, "page 1 of 3," so the reader will know when the flowchart is complete.
- Use a template for symbols if drawing the flowchart by hand.
level 0 data flow diagram
A type of graphical systems documentation that describes the entire accounting system on a single sheet of paper. All major processes, data stores, data flows, and external entities are shown.
internal control flowchart
A system flowchart that also shows the functional areas to permit identification of the authorization of transactions, the custody of assets, and the recording functions. In addition, an internal control flowchart identifies all existing control procedures for preventing or detecting errors and irregularities.
A document that shows the invoice or invoices to which a customer's payment will be applied. A remittance advice is usually provided with the invoice so it can be detached and included with the customer's payment.
Documentation that provides an inside view of the accounting system and is written in precise technical language.
system narrative description
The highest level and broadest form of systems documentation. This description is the basic source of information regarding the system's goals and objectives and helps accountants quickly understand the system without being involved with the details of each file or database table and each program.
A type of graphical system documentation that shows what a system does and how the system does it. It documents complex activities and details the sources of information, the processes involved, and the disposition of the information.
Documentation that describes a system "from the outside, looking in."
Arrange the following terms in order of detail, from least detailed to most detailed:
Data Flow Diagram
- Narrative Description
- Block Diagram
- Data Flow Diagram
- System Flow Chart
What does the term "Level (#)" when used following the term "Data flow diagram" refer to?
The higher the digit, the greater the level of detail about the processes.
When do you stop adding levels?
The rule is that when you reach the point where further detail requires that you think about how you are going to implement the process, its time to stop.
Draw a generalized picture of a horizontal block diagram.
Draw a generalized picture of a hierarchical block diagram.
What is the difference between what a system flowchart shows and what a data flow diagram shows?
System flowcharts show what a system does and how the system does it. Data flow diagrams only show what an accounting system is doing.