Chapter 1: Information concepts and Processing
Information Data that is (1) accurate and timely, (2) specific and organized for a purpose, (3) presented within a context that gives it meaning and relevance, and (4) can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty. Information is valuable because it can affect behavior, a decision, or an outcome. For example, if a manager is told his/her company's net profit decreased in the past month, he/she may use this information as a reason to cut financial spending for the next month. A piece of information is considered valueless if, after receiving it, things remain unchanged. For a technical definition of information see information theory. 2.10 Data Organisation
Data is organised before processing on a computer. Data can be arranged in a variety of ways, but a hierarchical approach to organisation is generally recommended. l Data Item
A data item is the smallest unit of information stored in computer file. It is a single element used to represent a fact such as an employee's name, item price, etc. In a payroll application, the employee number 170 is a data item. PANKAJ the name is a data item.
Data items are physically arranged as fields in a computer file. Their length may be fixed or variable. Since all individuals have 3 digit employee numbers, a 3-digit field is required to store the particular data. Hence, it is a fixed field. In contrast, since customer's name vary considerably from one customer to another, a variable amount of space must be available to store this element. This can be called as variable field. l Record
A record is a collection of related data items or fields. Each record normally corresponds to a specific unit of information. For example, various fields in the record, illustrated in Fig. 2.4 are employee number, employee's name, basic salary and house rent allowance. This is the data used to produce the payroll register report. The first record contains all the data concerning the employee PANKAJ. The second record contains all the data concerning the employee REKHA. Each subsequent record contains all the data for a given employee. It can be seen how each related item is grouped together to form a record.
The collection of records is called a file. A file contains all the related records for an application. Therefore, the payroll file shown in Fig. 2.5 contains all records required to produce the payroll register report. Files are stored on some medium, such as floppy disk, magnetic tape or magnetic disk.
The collection of related files is called a database. A database contains all the related files for a particular application.
Electronic and manual record keeping
Record keeping for business
While some business owners prefer manual record keeping systems, most businesses use an electronic record keeping system - making it easier to capture information, generate reports and meet tax and legal reporting requirements. There are a number of issues you should consider when setting up an electronic or manual record keeping system, as each has certain advantages and limitations. Electronic record keeping
Most businesses use accounting software programs to simplify electronic record keeping, and produce meaningful reports. There are many other advantages to using electronic record keeping, as listed below. Advantages
* Helps you record your business transactions, including income and expenses, payments to workers, and stock and asset details. * Efficient way to keep financial records and requires less storage space. * Provides the option of recording a sale when you raise an invoice, not when you receive a cash payment from a client. * Easy to generate orders, invoices, debtor reports, financial statements, employee pay records, inventory reports. * Automatically tallies amounts and provides reporting functions. * Keeps up with the latest tax...