Title:
Controlling, configuring, storing, monitoring and maintaining accounting or bookkeeping information employing trees with nodes having embedded information
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and system for providing multilevel information about aspects of accounting. The method comprises the steps of generating a display, on a computer display screen, of a tree having a plurality of nodes, and embedding in the nodes multilevel information about said accounting aspects. For example, trees may be generated that represent credit, debit, revenue, expense, credit and/or debit plans, credit or debit thresholds, assets (cash, investments, receivables), inventory costing and control, short term and/or long term liabilities (stocks, bonds, mortgage notes), stockholders (equity, dividends, cost basis, restrictions, donations), working capital, cash flow (income statement, operations, earnings, forecast, historical data), customer data, manufacturing costs (processing, target), profit (product, division), taxes (income, sales, real estate, etc.). Information may be embedded with a matrix approach. As examples, matrices may be used that contain cost accounting information for a catalog of elements of products with a catalog of subsystem, matrices may be used that provide particular bookkeeping and accounting requirements, and matrices may be used that represent corporate accounting firms.



Inventors:
Herzberg, Louis Paul (Monsey, NY, US)
Lingafelt, Charles Steven (Durham, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/830333
Publication Date:
10/07/2004
Filing Date:
04/22/2004
Assignee:
International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G06Q10/10; G06Q40/00; (IPC1-7): G06F17/60
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ADE, OGER GARCIA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCULLY SCOTT MURPHY & PRESSER, PC (400 GARDEN CITY PLAZA SUITE 300, GARDEN CITY, NY, 11530, US)
Claims:
1. -17. (Cancelled)

18. A method for representing interconnection of a plurality of elements of an accounting system, the method comprising: providing a first catalog for a first subset of said elements, and providing a second catalog for a second subset of said elements; creating a matrix of connection cells formed by an intersection of a pair of elements, wherein a first element of each pair is taken from the first catalog and a second element of each pair is taken from the second catalog; and forming a connection representation for at least a subset of the pairs.

19. A method as recited in claim 18, wherein at least one element is a catalog of sub-elements, and the method further comprises the step of including all sub-elements in the matrix.

20. A method as recited in claim 18, wherein at least one of the catalogs includes a plurality of sub-catalogs.

21. A method as recited in claim 18, wherein at least a portion of one catalog is formed using combinatorial operations upon elements of other catalogs.

22. A method as recited in claim 18, further comprising displaying at least one portion of the matrix.

23. A method as recited in claim 18, further comprising employing a wizard to form at least a subset of the elements.

24. An article of manufacture comprising a computer usable medium having computer readable program code means embodied therein for causing representation of interconnection of a plurality of elements of an accounting system, the computer readable program code means in said article of manufacture comprising computer readable program code means for causing a computer to effect the steps of claim 18.

25. An architecture comprising: a matrix module forming an accounting information system matrix having at least one matrix row element and at least one matrix column element, an intersection of each said at least one matrix row element with each said at least one matrix column element forming a matrix cell; a set of accounting elements, a first subset of said set having a connection requirement with a second subset of said set; a first catalog including at least one accounting element forming said at least one matrix row element; and a second catalog including at least one accounting element forming said at least one matrix column element, wherein each matrix cell represents an accounting connection between each accounting element of the first catalog and each accounting element of the second catalog to enable systematic cooperation among accounting elements according to an accounting requirement.

26. An architecture as recited in claim 25, wherein at least one accounting element is a catalog of accounting sub-elements.

27. An architecture as recited in claim 25, wherein at least one accounting element is a catalog of elements only peripherally related to accounting.

28. An architecture as recited in claim 27, wherein the catalog of elements only peripherally related to accounting includes an item selected from the group of items including customer habits, customer likes and/or dislikes, customer product data.

29. (Cancelled)

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE

[0001] This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/138,172, filed on Jun. 8, 1999.

[0002] This application is also related to the following copending applications, filed herewith,

[0003] Ser. No. ______, “Control And Maintenance Of Multicast Distribution Employing Embedded Displays,” (Attorney Docket YOR9-1999-0272);

[0004] Ser. No. ______, “Method Of Control, Maintenance And Allocation Of Computer Server Farms Resources And Other Resource Farms To Their Users,” (Attorney Docket YOR9-2000-0347):

[0005] Ser. No. ______, “Video-On-Demand configuring, Controlling And Maintaining,” (Attorney Docket YOR9-2000-0348); and

[0006] Ser. No. ______, “Doing Business Employing Linked Trees Having Retrievable Embedded Information,” (Attorney Docket YOR9-2000-0366); which are all incorporated herein by reference in entirety.

[0007] This application is also cross referenced with copending application Ser. No. 09/327,708, entitled, “Representing, Configuring, Administering, Monitoring, and/or Modeling Connections Using Catalogs and Matrixes,” by E. H. Booth et al., filed Jun. 8, 1999, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in entirety;

[0008] The disclosure of this application is related to the disclosures of the following U.S. patents:

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,289,460, “Maintenance of Message Distribution Trees in a Communications Network,” by Drake, Jr. et al., issued Feb. 22, 1994;

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,724,646, “Fixed video-on-demand,” by A. Ganek et al., issued Mar. 3, 1998;

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,682,597, “Hybrid Video-on-demand Based on a Near-video-on-demand System,” by A. Ganek et al., issued Oct. 28, 1997;

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 5,459,725, “Reliable Multicasting over Spanning Trees in Packet Communications Networks,” by Bodner, R. A. et al., issued Oct. 17, 1995;

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 4,277,837, “Personal Portable Terminal for Financial Transactions,” by Stuckert, P. E., issued Jul. 7, 1981;

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 4,106,667, “Apparatus and Method for Conducting Financial Transactions,” by Lynott, J. J., issued Aug. 15, 1978;

[0015] which are all incorporated herein by reference in entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0016] This invention generally relates to accounting; and, more specifically, the invention relates to the use of computer displays having accounting information embedded therein.

[0017] There are many separate applications to satisfy the many facets and aspects of accounting. It would be highly advantageous to have a single application which enables the display of the broad array of aspects.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0018] An aspect of this invention is to provide a displayable tree configuration for each of a plurality of accounting aspects.

[0019] Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a displayable tree configuration having a plurality of nodes, and to embed in each node levels of information useful for a specific accounting aspect or attributes.

[0020] These and other aspects are attained with a method and system for providing multilevel information about aspects of accounting. The method comprises the steps of generating a display, on a computer display screen, of a tree having a plurality of nodes, and embedding in the nodes information about said accounting aspects. For example, trees may be generated that represent credit, debit, revenue, expense, credit and/or debit plans, credit or debit thresholds, assets (cash, investments, receivables), inventory costing and control, short term and/or long term liabilities (stocks, bonds, mortgage notes), stockholders (equity, dividends, cost basis, restrictions, donations), working capital, cash flow (income statement, operations, earnings, forecast, historical data), customer data, manufacturing costs (processing, target), profit (product, division), taxes (income, sales, real estate, etc.).

[0021] Information may be embedded with a matrix approach. As an example, matrices may be used that contain cost accounting information for a catalog of elements of products with a catalog of subsystems. Matrices may be used that provide particular bookkeeping and accounting requirements, and matrices may be used that represent corporate accounting firms.

[0022] Further benefits and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description, given with reference to the accompanying drawings, which specify and show preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] FIG. 1 is a flow chart outlining a preferred method embodying this invention.

[0024] FIGS. 2 and 3 show displays of trees having nodes with embedded information.

[0025] FIG. 4 illustrates a matrix method used to define or display information.

[0026] FIG. 5 shows a matrix expanded from a point of the matrix of FIG. 4.

[0027] FIGS. 6 and 7 show a computer system that may be used in the invention.

[0028] FIG. 8 illustrates a memory medium that can be used to hold a computer program for carrying out this invention.

[0029] FIG. 9 shows an alternate tree display.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0030] With reference to FIGS. 1-3, this invention provides a display 10, 12 showing a tree configuration 14, 16, 20 for each of a plurality of accounting embodiments. Each tree includes nodes 14a, 16a, 20a that represent members making up the tree. The nodes are all capable of having many levels of embedded information useful for its specific accounting embodiments or attributes. The embedded information is accessible for display by a user having viewing and/or other rights to the specific level of information.

[0031] Although the trees in FIGS. 2 and 3 are shown bottom up (extending upward from the root node), trees may similarly be formed and/or displayed top down (extending downward from the root node), sideways (from the root node) or in any combination of these (as known to those skilled in the art). The particular tree formation and/or display is formed as is best suited to the particular application and/or display, and in accordance with the desire of a viewer or user. In some embodiments these display variations are selectable by the user. When more than one tree is displayed (e.g. in a split screen utilization), each tree may be formed and/or displayed in a different form/shape.

[0032] Thus, individual trees may be formed for credit, debit, revenue, expense, credit and/or debit plans, credit or debit thresholds, assets (cash, investments, receivable) inventory costing and control, short term and/or long term liabilities (stocks, bonds, mortgage notes), stockholders (equity, dividends, cost basis, restrictions, donations), working capital, cash flow (income statement, operations, earnings, forecast, historical data), customer data, manufacturing costs (processing, target), profit (product, division), taxes (income, sales, real estate, etc.).

[0033] In another embodiment, as particularly shown in FIG. 3, various trees are link-able and displayable with each other. In a further embodiment, various trees are formed and made displayable for data retrieved from internal, commercial and/or industrial databases. In still another embodiment, various trees are link-able and displayable with trees and/or data retrieved from internal, commercial and/or industrial databases.

[0034] In another embodiment, a tree may contain nodes for each customer. The nodes would include embedded data on the credit healthfulness of each of the customers. Information is periodically received from financial databases (e.g. Dun & Bradstreet) which are linked to determine, store and monitor an amount of credit limit and credit terms with each customer.

[0035] In another embodiment, this invention provides threshold and limits which are embedded with certain nodes which provide various levels of alarms (colors, intensity, size, audible, etc.) as the limits and/or threshold are approached or exceeded. In a further embodiment, a tree can be formed by set manipulation operations, e.g. union, intersection, exclusive or, performed on a plurality of other trees.

[0036] In another embodiment, the nodes in a tree can be ordered. For instance, cash may be more important than marketable securities which may be more important than accounts receivable which may be more important than capital assets; order in this case is by liquidity. This ordering could enable the display or operation against a tree of only the most important items within the tree.

[0037] One embodiment allows one to perform cost accounting processes by using embedded information with the matrix approach. FIG. 4 shows a matrix, 3000, containing cost accounting information for a catalog of elements of products, 3001, with a catalog of subsystems, 3002. If one activates the intersection, 3003, then one can cause the expansion of the catalog elements by selecting the intersection of two elements, 3003. Each catalog element can be expanded or not under the control of the user. In FIG. 5, the user chooses to expand each element, resulting in a new matrix 3100 with catalogs of elements 3101 and 3102. The intersection of two elements, if applicable, yields the cost, for example, 3103.

[0038] Additional modifications to matrix elements may provide and/or satisfy particular bookkeeping and/or accounting requirements, such as a list of customers/accounts, special requirements and/or obligations of customers/accounts; time scheduling, monitoring of time spent for customers/account; particular cost and charging information for each customer's/account; identification of responsible bookkeeping information provider of customer's/account; customer's/account's payroll data; account/customer data (sales, revenue and profit of each account); customer/account statistics; customer/account satisfaction failure rate and failure causes; customer/account payment information; ledger data; journal data; account information location: filenames and description, book location: volume, date, pages; etc.

[0039] Additional modifications are advantageously used to satisfy account requirements, such as matrix and/or element information for: a list of potential new accounts; information sources about new accounts; meeting attendees and scheduling with new account representatives; financial statistics and/or histogram of new and old accounts; accounts that are to be dropped and the date of dropping; special account features; industry statistics regarding new and old accounts; etc.

[0040] In a further embodiment similar matrix configurations and/or elements may be used to represent corporate and/or enterprise accounting firms. The matrix may include financial information broken down by: product line; division; geography; responsible entity; etc.

[0041] As will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art, any suitable processor, computer or computer network may be used to carry out the present invention. For example, software for performing the needed operations may be embedded in a processor. Alternately, dedicated hardware may be used to perform the calculations.

[0042] A computer or computer network may also be used to perform the operations; and FIG. 6 illustrates, as an example, a computer of a type that may be used in the practice of this invention. Viewed externally in FIG. 6, a computer system has a central processing unit 42 having disk drives 44A and 44B. Disk drive indications 44A and 44B are merely symbolic of a number of disk drives that might be accommodated by the computer system. Typically, these would include a floppy disk drive such as 44A, a hard disk drive (not shown externally) and a CD ROM drive indicated by slot 44B. The number and type of drives vary, usually, with different computer configurations. The computer has the display 46 upon which information is displayed. A keyboard 50 and a mouse 52 are normally also available as input devices.

[0043] FIG. 7 shows a block diagram of the internal hardware of the computer of FIG. 6. A bus 54 serves as the main information highway, interconnecting the other components of the computer. CPU 56 is the central processing unit of the system, performing calculations and logic operations required to execute programs. Read only memory 60 and random access memory 62 constitute the main memory of the computer. Disk controller 64 interfaces one or more disk drives to the system bus 54. These disk drives may be floppy disk drives, such as 66, internal or external hard drives, such as 70, or CD ROM or DVD (Digital Video Disks) drives, such as 72. A display interface 74 interfaces a display 76 and permits information from the bus to be viewed on the display. Communications with external devices can occur over communications port 78.

[0044] FIG. 8 shows a memory medium 80 that may be used to hold a computer program for implementing the present invention, and this medium may be used in any suitable way with any appropriate computer to carry out the invention. Typically, memory media such as a floppy disk, or a CD ROM, or a Digital. Video Disk will contain the program information for controlling the computer to enable the computer to perform its functions in accordance with the invention.

[0045] In some embodiments a tree may have more than one so called root node, as shown in FIG. 9. The elements/nodes emanating from each of the plurality of roots 910 and 920 may be common and be ultimately connected to each root at any subsequent tree level as appropriate to the application. Thus node 930 is shown to be ultimately connected to root-A 910 and root-B 920. An example of this occurs when root-A 910 represents corporate division-A and root-B represents corporate division-B, and node 930 represent the costs of a shared legal department.

[0046] Some embodiments provide for any combination of the following capabilities: matrix and/or element expansion; logical set manipulation of catalog elements to form changed and/or new matrices, changed and/or new elements, and/or changed and/or new catalogs; catalog manipulation an/or combination; formation of one or more super-catalogs and/or super-elements representing a catalog of catalogs; display of a plurality of trees and/or portions of trees in a variety of tree formats and shapes; and formation and/or manipulation of sub-catalogs and/or sub-elements from one or more catalogs, matrices and/or elements.

[0047] While it is apparent that the invention herein disclosed is well calculated to fulfill the embodiments stated above, it will be appreciated that numerous modifications and embodiments may be devised by those skilled in the art, and it is intended that the appended claims cover all such modifications and embodiments as fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.