I suggest you buy a copy of the AUDITOR's HANDBOOK or GUIDE to BPCS.
Here is link to some sample pages.
http://www.unbeatenpathintl.com/8menu/source/1.htm

You may be aware that every ERP has its quirks, strengths, weaknesses. This is a guide to BPCS quirks, strengths, weaknesses, from perspective of problems an auditor needs to be aware of. A big issue for me has been that the general business world has some assumptions about computers and ERP that are not always a good match to BPCS or 400 reality. These false assumptions can lead to data handling errors that auditors need to get a heads up warning about, and a guide how to check on that type of possibility's consequences.

While this manual is specifically for auditors, I feel that as an accountant, you may have a lot in common from perspective of needing to understand the overall system.

BPCS 2.1 is older than most people now use, but the look and feel of BPCS evolves very slowly as new features get added, so most documentation for later versions has a lot of relevance to earlier versions.

Each version of BPCS comes with extensive on-line documentation that explains the whole system, including functionality and purpose of all the fields. However, this documentation is extremely fragmented, usually without standard organization ... you need to have the BPCS Guru at your facility guide you to the documentation you need to refer to.

Ask that person about
* BPCS naming conventions ... which is the basis for navigating the whole system
* function keys ... F1 navigation, F4 etc.
* accessing help text on programs without actually running the programs
* getting at list of BPCS files in use at your company, with title of file function
* getting at layouts of files, with annotation of significance of individual fields

You may need to get one of the manuals that lists the fields and their functions.
There are several. They cost several hundred dollars each.

So long as you are on-line with the original BPCS data, as opposed to a Microsoft copy, there are rich definitions of what each field contains, thanks to DB/400 external definition architecture, and IBM cross-indexing tools on the host platform.

For example, I use an IBM tool for software mining ... I can get a list of all the programs that update a particular file.

IBM and Microsoft use different standards, such that it can be a royal pain getting IBM data, in a useable form, to Microsoft tools using native architectures.

There are several 3rd party products to streamline that process.

What we currently do at our facility, is use the rich data base reporting tools from IBM to construct a report close to what the end user desires, then we export that to Microsoft Excel or whatever. On the IBM side, the data as been reconfigured to meet the less flexible and more limited standards of the Microsoft tools we have.

For example, I have constructed what I call a General Ledger dump.

I use SQL/400 embedded in an RPG program to back track reference numbers in GL to the original accounting invoices, and other sources, so that the GL dump shows name of vendor or customer that this $ was due to, then the whole thing ends up in an Excel spread sheet. We never print it, because it is too wide to go on any IBM printer.

At the end of each fiscal month, we send our auditors the GL dump on all Journal activity for the month just ended.

All,

This is a great forum. As an accountant I dontunderstand a lot of what
you guys are saying(too computer smart for me) but Im trying to learn
all I can about this system. It appears to be pretty old, so Im not
certain there is any info available for it any more.

Reading old posts I was able to configure the database for use with
Microsoft Query to enable some custom reporting. I can see the tables
and am successfully seeing data in excel via my queries. The table names
are not very friendly unfortunately. I have located some key tables for
my needs, but Im curious to see if there is an all encompassing list of
tables and their fields so I can determine where best to look to find
certain information. Im mostly interested in the following:

Inventory quantities, part #'s, values
AR & AP open transactions
General Ledger accounts, transactions

Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Brian Brosch
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