Business Rules vs. Reference Data

This week’s episode of Conversations with Kip discusses the need to maintain lists of reference data values, that then are embedded into various rules, and the impact if those are not valid values.

Reference data is typically lists of things, like chart of account numbers, products, services, people or organizations.  These values are maintained independently from the rules.

On accounting rules, we are often translating from source systems values–one set of reference data–into chart of account values for the finance system–another set of reference data.  The translation between those values are defined in the rules.

Alternatively, we translate out of the finance system code set into extracts, reports, regulatory submissions.  These again are different code structures that rules translate between.

In most cases though, there is not a one to one correspondence between source and target values; thus maintenance of the reference data independently from the rules is important to ensure the rules only produce valid outputs.

If inappropriate values can be embedded in the rules, then an edit process must be created to ensure rule results are correct before they are stored in repositories, used in reports, or posted to ledgers.

This is episode 174 of Conversations with Kip, the best financial system vlog there is. Literally learn more–about ledgers and financial systems–at

Last week’s episode: Business Rule Structures

Next week’s episode: Developing and Testing Business Rules

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