What the Symbols Mean

Data flow diagrams use only four symbols to trace information through a system. Think of a form (a sales invoice for example) and follow it through each step in its process.

Outside Entity Outside Entity
The person, business, etc. that is outside the system being diagrammed - usually represents the beginning or end of the process.
File folder Storage
Where the paper sits until needed for the next stage. (It's supposed to represent a file folder, but there are other storage devices.)
Process Process
Work gets done here. You should be able to write a job description, for the day when you delegate this step.
Data flow Paper Flow
Direction of the paper flow. Includes a description of the form & what has just been changed on it. (For example, once a vendor's invoice is paid, write your cheque number on it)

Organize your paperwork Money Coming In Money Going Out
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