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I have got the following categories for accounting and cash flow purposes:

Equity
     Contribution
     Distribution
     Valuation
Debt
     Issuance
     Payment
     Valuation Allowance
Interest
     Accrued
     Paid
     Valuation Allowance

I have broken them into 3 tables: equity, debt, and interest. Each table has the following columns:

ID
Date
Amount
Type

My question is, within the "type" column, should I be using a number, i.e. 1,2,3, or text to indicate the value?

  • Why would you put all this in 3 different tables to begin with? Are they totally different concept, from the way your business uses it perspective? Something sounds weird by reading them. Maybe you should have only one table, I'm not sure – Sebas Jul 12 '14 at 0:04
  • I agree with Sebas. When three tables all have the same columns, the chances are the data will be more useful if it's all stored in one table. In your case, there shouldn't be enough rows to warrant splitting the tables for physical reasons. – Walter Mitty Jul 12 '14 at 14:44
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Speaking from the programming side of the house, I would do a numerical value that is a foreign key to a "type" table. This way if you change the text value, all previous entries automatically update, and adding new types is just a matter of adding them into the table.

This has the added benefit that if you do something like an interface with a dropdown list to select the value, it also automatically updates and there are no coding changes needed to update the list.

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