AFM341 Lecture 4: Systems Documentation
SchoolUniversity of Waterloo
DepartmentAccounting & Financial Management
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Class 4: Systems Documentation
● Three key types of documentation can aid our understanding of an information system: data
flow diagrams, flowcharts, and business process diagrams.
● We use data flow diagrams to map where data goes in a process, flowcharts to depict
information systems flows, and business process diagrams to detail the activities in a business
● There are a variety of systems documentation techniques, but generally the aim is to articulate
who, what, when, where, why, and how data is entered, processed, stored, output, and
● We will cover:
○ Data flow diagrams (DFDs)
○ Business process diagrams
● We won’t cover REA (resources, events, and agents) data models or entity-relationship diagrams
(refer to chapters 17-19 if you are interested in these topics).
Data Flow Diagrams (DFD)
● DFDs are a graphical depiction of data flows within an organization. We are primarily concerned
with the following elements:
Basic Data Flow Diagram Elements
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Data Flow Diagram Levels
● DFDs can be constructed at varying levels of detail. The highest level view is referred to as a
context diagram. This diagram provides a summary of the full system
● Drilling down to a more focused level, a Level 0 DFD specifies particular sub-processes
(denoted in the form of #.0), as well as the associated data flows and sources
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