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Managing Accounting Information in Workflow Management Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014681D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 5 page(s) / 89K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

1 Introduction

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Managing Accounting Information in Workflow Management Systems

1 Introduction

  Accounting rules mandate that the operation costs are allocated as precisely as possible to the different tasks that are being carried out. For example, all the costs associated with managing car loans should not be combined with the costs associated with managing house loans, but kept and managed as two different figures. Operation generates not only people cost, but also hard- and software costs.

  Whereas it may be simple to collect the people costs, it is a difficult, maybe even an impossible, task to collect all the costs associated with the hard- and software since these resources are typically shared between many users.

  This paper outlines a method how that can be achieved by building applications as workflow-based applications and having the workflow management system collecting the accounting information when the business process that underlines the applications is carried out.

2 State of the Art

Collecting accounting information and having tools available to consolidate it, is well-known in the area of main frames. The operating system was collecting this information for each of the jobs it executed or for each of the interactive services it provided for a particular user. User written or vendor supplied tools are then used to generate the appropriate costs for each accounting unit by running through multiple steps, such as accumulating the amount of resources used by the accounting unit, determining the total amount of resources, derive the costs asscoiated with a particular resource (such as costs per CPU minute), and then multiplying the determined amount with the resource costs.

  Managing accounting information in such an environment is simple since all applications are running on the same central computer; thus all accounting information is held in a single place. However, this structure is changing to a distributed environment where the different servers are distributed over the company. Applications are no longer carried out on a single computer system but are carried out on different

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servers. It will not be just the clients (the individual users) that access multiple servers, but applications that are executed as a series of steps where each step is carried out on a different system.

3 Problem Statement

  In this distributed environment, each of the systems writes their own accounting information, which makes the consolidation and proper allocation of accounting information rather complicated, if feasible at all. The easy part is the collection of the accounting information and transferring it to a central location. The heavy part is the consolidation of the different accounting information and allocate it to the appropriate business process. It requires an indepth knowledge of the relationships between the different programs that are carried out on the different systems.

  Different companies handle this undesireable situation d...