REA Enterprise Ontology has been initially created by William E. McCarthy, mainly for modeling of accounting systems. However, it proved so useful and intuitive for better understanding of business processes that it became one of the major modeling frameworks for both traditional enterprises and e-commerce systems. It has been extended to provide concepts useful for understanding the processing aspects (processes, recipes) in addition to the economic aspects (economic exchanges). Please see for more information. Some of the REA concepts have been used to model the Business Requirements in UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology ("UMM", formally known as TMWG N090), and the Business Process Analysis Worksheets in ebXML, and it's use is currently a subject of further study in the Business Collaboration Patterns and Monitored Commitments team of the E-Business Transitionary Working Group (eBTWG) - the successor to ebXML.

As far as I know, this is the first attempt to formally define this ontology, other than in written textual form. This work is a part of the E-Commerce Integration Meta-Framework project (see for more information). There surely are errors and dubious choices I've made, and I'd appreciate any comments or corrections to that model.

Some of the disputable issues I encountered, and how I solved them:

Here's the REA Ontology zip file, containing the Protege project with ontology and the Car Rental example from one of the reference documents. Here's the OntoViz diagram of the main concepts. Here is also the REA ontology saved as an RDF schema , and the associated project zipfile.

In parallel, I created a UML model of the central REA concepts. Here's the main class diagram. For now, these two models - UML and Protege - are synchronized manually. I'd appreciate suggestions on how to automate that process.

For comments and further info please contact the author: Andrzej Bialecki .

Last updated: November 12, 2001.