New Developments in Machine Accounting for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
REIN W. IRWIN, Principal, and
DAVID D. KEELER, Systems Consultant, San Francisco Office
Adapted from paper presented at Accounting Systems Conference, San Francisco Chapter of The California Society of Certified Public Accountants— October 1960
THE SPOTLIGHT of publicity in the broad field of data processing has
been primarily focused on the development, installation, and benefits
obtained from the large electronic computer systems being used by many of our large corporations. Since major advances in this field have been made in less than a decade this attention is certainly justified. Equally important, however, to the smaller businessman has been the progress made in improving conventional office machines and systems techniques. Manufacturers of electronic computers and producers of peripheral equipment have applied the experience gained from installing
large integrated systems to the growing paperwork problems of the smaller organizations.
Most of the equipment that will be discussed in this paper can be classified in the "common language" category. The term common language refers to a coding in a paper tape produced by the output media and read by the input media. The communication media that most closely fits this description is the conventional five channel teletype,
punched paper tape. The combination of holes perforated in the tape represents numbers and letters which can be transmitted over wires or transferred between machines directly.
Since most small and medium-sized companies have no need to transmit their data long distances, the five channel restrictions of teletype
lines can be overcome. Instead of five vertical holes with a maximum
combination of 32 codes, six-, seven-, and eight-channel tapes have been developed for greater flexibility. For example, an eight-channel tape can offer 256 possible combinations. (See Chart 1 following
this article.) This extra capacity allows for individual upper and lower case alphabetic codes and many operation codes for programming
special features of the machines beyond the normal printing of numbers and letters. It also provides for the use of a parity checking device which adds an extra hole to make all combinations odd, regard-