characteristics of information in the context of accounting information system:
Information can be defined as processed data and can help user to take further actions or make further decisions. (p.10). The characteristics of information in AIS include relevance, timeliness, accuracy, completeness, and summarization. (p.12)
Relevance means relevant information for a specific purpose of the task or help manager to do further decision. For example, the main purpose of an invoice is let customer pay the right amount and know what they bought. Therefore the invoice shows the amount that customer should pay, and also shows the product name, code which customer bought.
Timeliness means provide timely information. For instance, if a statement shows pay it within 15 days will get a 2% discount, if they receive this statement and information within 15 days, that will be useful, otherwise will lose the value of this information.
Accuracy means avoid to provide information with major errors. For example, if a balance sheet shows the total asset is $100000, but the actual amount should be $90000, this error may cause the user make poor decisions. It could be cause by a data errors or process error. Sometimes, we have to give up the absolutely accurate to provide timely information, therefore system designer need make balance between accuracy and timeliness.
Completeness means should include all the essential information for decision making or daily tasks. For example, an income statement should include the calculation of the profit or loss, and must be clearly showing the figures.
Summarization means the information should summarized as the user needs. As the higher management, the more summarized information is needed.
Others, the independent of the information which means the accounting activities must be separated and independent from physical resources management and preservation.
In conclusion, relevance, timeliness, accuracy, completeness, and summarization are very important to obtain reliable information to the user. Reliability can determine the value of the information. (p.16) If follow those characteristic, information will be reliable and provides maximum value to the user.