What is an Input Device?

Definition: An input device is the component of an accounting system that captures information from source documents and transfers the data to information processors. In other words, an input device is the access point for data into an accounting system. It’s where the data gets input or entered into the system.

What Does Input Device Mean?

More often than not input devices also convert physical source documents into electronic documents. Take a scanner for example. A computer scanner take a paper source document, converts it into a digital document, and transfers it to the information processors. Data can also be manually entered using an input device. Keyboards and keypads are used to manually enter data into the system.


Another good example of an input device that converts physical information into digital data is a barcode scanner. It takes the information stored on the barcode of a product and creates an electronic document saying a piece of inventory was sold or transferred. The digital document is stored in the information storage area and then sent to the information processes for further analysis.

It’s a good idea for management to set up internal controls to make sure no unauthorized employees can use the data input devices. Since these devices provide direct access to the accounting system, it’s important that they are secured, so employees can’t fraudulently enter information. For example, an employee could scan the wrong barcodes during a purchase or exchange in an attempt to alter the purchase price.

Employee passwords or key codes are often used to protect input devices. For example, employees have to login to cash registers before they can ring up any transactions.