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This lesson should take about 1 1/2 hours to complete. After completing this lesson, you should be able to describe the content of table and data element help and recall the tables that make up the FINQUERY Universe and identify their physical content.

Lesson 3. Table and Data Element Documentation

Activity 1

Read the document "What the Warehouse Contains." After reading the document, use your browser's back button to return to this lesson.

Activity 2

After reading the document, "What theWarehouse Contains," please answer the following questions:

  1. Why should you read the Cautions section in the table help documentation?
  2. What is a data element?
  3. What is included in the online help for data element documentation?
  4. The Data Warehouse contains data at the summary level. Identify the types of summary data that can be available within a data collection.
  5. What is a data collection?
  6. What is the purpose of the Related Tables section in the table help documentation?

Activity 3

Read through the explanations and common uses sections of the tables that make up the FINQUERY universe. After reading the explanations and common uses for the tables that make up this universe, please answer the following questions.

  1. Name the table that contains budget, encumbrance, and actual balances for detail-level Accounting Flexfields by accounting period.
  2. Which reference code table contains codes that are defined by each school or center that are used to record information important to the school or center that is not captured under any other segment of the Accounting Flexfield?
  3. The CNAC_CODES table is a reference table for codes identifying the school or center and the Net Asset Class. What are the three classifications of Net Asset Class?
  4. What are some common uses for using the FUND_CODES table?
  5. Name the reference table for the codes that identify assets, liabilities, revenues, or expenses.
  6. Name the table that is commonly used for retrieving the description of an organization, identifying organizations external to Penn, reporting the organization's type or parent, retrieving organizations with a particular category or purpose, identifying surrogate organizations, and determining the legacy codes for schools and centers.
  7. Which table lists organization and program codes as used in BEN Financials and their counterparts in other systems (such as the Payroll system). A common use for this table is finding the BEN Financials equivalent for a school/center or department code used in another system (or vice versa).
  8. Name the reference table for codes that identify the primary purpose of the organization or fund.

Activity 2 Answers

  1. The Cautions section provides additional guidance, help, or explanation about a table. It can also include recommendations that must be followed to prevent poor query results.
  2. A data element is the smallest unit of data that you can work with which cannot be logically divided any further without losing its meaning or context.
  3. Help describes the data element and includes its indexed, format, and not null values. If applicable, it also provides a list of valid values for the data element.
  4. Summary data can be made available by week, by month, or by year.
  5. A term used to refer to the information in the Warehouse from each transaction system at Penn.
  6. The Related Tables section helps you to identify other tables that may be meaningful to your query. That is, tables that are good candidates for containing information that you may want to include in your results.

Activity 3 Answers

  1. The BALANCES table.
  2. The CENTER_REF_CODES table.
  3. Restricted, Temporarily Restricted, and Permanently Restricted.
  4. Some common uses for the FUND_CODES table include: retrieving the description for a fund number, identifying the principal investigators for grants and contracts funds, determining the purpose of a fund, retrieving fund sponsor information, retrieving fund restrictions, checking required financial and other reporting requirements, determining whether the fund is subject to ORA review, determining revenue restrictions, and retrieving billing information.
  5. OBJECT_CODES table.
  6. ORG_CODES table.
  7. ORG_OLD_TO_NEW table.
  8. PURPOSE_CODES table.
Additional Lessons
Lesson 1. Security, Etiquette, and Ethics
Lesson 2. General Ledger Data Diagrams
Lesson 4. Questions to Ask Before Writing a General Ledger Query
Lesson 5. Evaluating Query Results
Lesson 6. Getting General Ledger Help

Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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