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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An intelligent management information system as a test of a formal accounting theory Clarke, Bevan J.


An 'automated accountant' or 'robot bookkeeper' is implemented. This is capable of deducing accounting entries and updating an accounting model of the world. It is given as input a narrative or dialogue in ordinary idiomatic English. This empirical project is a focus around which we study the possibility of an IMIS, an 'Intelligent Management Information System'. Under this heading three avenues of research into what Mattessich calls the 'instrumental sciences' are unified. They are (a) The Intelligent MIS per se: an application of research into so-called Artificial Intelligence to the development of the computerized Management Information System. We consider that if computers and their software are to be employed reliably in very complex systems it will become necessary for the design of such a system, its adaptation to changing circumstances and the management of the organization via the computer all to be integrated and directed largely by, the computer itself. In its ultimate form the IRIS would use the deductive and inductive formalisms of Artificial Intelligence to pursue top management objectives delegated to it. (b) The methodology of the instrumental sciences: we review the merits of the axiomatic method of scientific theory construction. Instrumental disciplines, such as accountancy, appear to call for extensions to scientific logic, notably in the direction of non-declarative logics. (c) We examine the value of implementation as part of a test of formal theory, specifically Ijiri's axiomatized accounting theory. At the sane time we employ his axioms as the enspiriting knowledge of our accourting robot. We find that when elaborated to the point where it may be used successfully to deduce accourting conclusions via a computer program the theory bears a closer resemblance to Mattessich's axiomatized theory. Such an attempted refutation is interesting in its own right. Moreover, since the management of accounting information may be regarded as a core of an MIS, it is suggested that if theoretical accounting may be successfully implemented as the guiding knowledge of an IMIS this may lead to the elaboration in a similar style of an implementable theoretic foundation for Management Information Systems.

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