Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


Interpretation and audit of financial information is a significant undertaking that must rest on a fuller understanding of the firm and its operations. A pictorial representation of firm activity offers promise for supporting this requirement. After reviewing the literature related to visualizations, we describe the design of an interactive animated version of the cycle model. Business Animator assists users in developing an intuitive sense about the cycle model itself, while exploring and visualizing how firms at various stages of growth, sustenance, and decay are affected by specific operating decisions. Principles and findings from the accounting and information systems literatures were used to drive the design of the representation and software used to control it. This resulting system adds depth to traditional accounting representations by conveying information about the momentum of the firm’s activities, the rate of change at which various activities are occurring. The animation facilitates identification of backlogs or breaks in operating processes, thus increasing understanding of the firm’s financial health.