White Papers

The following are white papers and significant presentations about financial systems research and development.

A Proposed Approach to Minimum Costs for Financial Data Maintenance

This white paper, published here first, has been 30 years in the making.  Others will be added over time.

Computing Costs Using Transactions and Balances Over Time
A Proposed Approach to Minimum Costs for Financial System Data Maintenance


McCarthy’s 1982 REA framework proposed a radical simplification of financial data.  This paper explains that balances have consistently been used in financial reporting processes because they lower computing costs.  But an environment that uses detailed balances for most reports, and a limited set of transactions for all others would produce an even lower cost of computing and related financial processes.  The traditional approach of maintaining duplicative balances for customer, vendor, inventory, employees, etc. and enterprise balances (typically in the General Ledger) does not meet this test.  The IBM Asset Scalable Architecture for Financial Reporting (SAFR) experiences give evidence this approach is possible, even for the largest organizations in the world.

The Mainframe, Open Source, and Renewal of Financial Systems

This post reflects learning about the dynamics of open source, and the impact it will have upon the renewal of our financial systems, most of which still remain on the mainframe for large enterprises. This was produced as part of the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project Summit, the hosts of the GenevaERS Project.

Sharealedger.org: My Report to Dr. McCarthy on REA Progress

The following is my guest lecture for Dr. William E. McCarthy on my use of REA concepts in my work over 30 years, and the introduction of a new open source community called Sharealedger.org. A breakdown of the video is available in the YouTube comments.

The slides are available here:

Shared Ledger R&D Results: A Recent Expert Review

This is a very comprehensive view of my work efforts over the last number of years on ledger reinvention.  This is a video filmed in May at a presentation to alum of Geneva/SAFR practice from 30 years of work together.  This wide ranging discussion covers topics such as:

  • What is the purpose of the General Ledger,
  • What is the CFO’s challenge in reinventing ledgers,
  • What a real shared ledger would look like, including prototyping screens,
  • Why do systems maintain balances,
  • How does one measure the cost of what financial systems or ledgers do,
  • Progression how a shared ledger will end up getting developed, and other topics.

Although abridged, it is comprehensive, and audience comments still perceptible. The full presentation with participant comments are accessible here.