By J. Hall

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In recent years, public accounting firms have expanded their involvement in the vendorsupported market. Organizational Structure The structure of an organization reflects the distribution of responsibility, authority, and accountability throughout the organization. These flows are illustrated in Figure 1-7. Firms achieve their overall objectives by establishing measurable financial goals for their operational units. For example, budget information flows downward. This is the mechanism by which senior management conveys to their subordinates the standards against which they will be measured for the coming period.

Failure to comply with the terms of the contract may result in litigation. This poor sales decision was a result of flawed information. Effective decisions require information that has a high degree of reliability. Accounting Independence Information reliability rests heavily on the concept of accounting independence. Simply stated, accounting activities must be separate and independent of the functional areas that maintain custody of physical 19 20 PART I Overview of Accounting Information Systems resources.

We use the term database in the generic sense. It can be a filing cabinet or a computer disk. Regardless of the database’s physical form, we can represent its contents in a logical hierarchy. The levels in the data hierarchy— attribute, record, and file—are illustrated in Figure 1-6. DATA ATTRIBUTE. The data attribute is the most elemental piece of potentially useful data in the database. An attribute is a logical and relevant characteristic of an entity about which the firm captures data. The attributes shown in Figure 1-6 are logical because they all relate sensibly to a common entity— accounts receivable (AR).

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Accounting Information Systems by J. Hall


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