Thursday, July 7, 2016

Personal Financial Manager


Personal Financial Manager - 小土刀的面试刷题笔记
Explain how you would design a personal financial manager (like Mint.com). This system would connect to your bank accounts, analyze your spending habits, and make recommendations.

write-heavy
categories
budget
different kinds of users
data retrieval

• The system is write-heavy. A typical user may make several new transactions daily, although few users would access the website more than once a week. In fact, for many users, their primary interaction might be through email alerts.
• Once a transaction is assigned to a category, it will only be changed if the user asks to change it. The system will never reassign a transaction to a different category "behind the scenes'; even if the rules change. This means that two otherwise identical transactions could be assigned to different categories if the rules changed in between each transaction's date. We do this because it may confuse users if their spending per category changes with no action on their part.
The banks probably won't push data to our system. Instead, we will need to pull data from the banks.

Alerts on users exceeding budgets probably do not need to be sent instantaneously.

With this basic architecture, the bank data is pulled at periodic times (hourly or daily). The frequency may depend on the behavior of the users. Less active users may have their accounts checked less frequently.
Once new data arrives, it is stored in some list of raw, unprocessed transactions. This data is then pushed to the categorizer, which assigns each transaction to a category and stores these categorized transactions in another datastore.
The budget analyzer pulls in the categorized transactions, updates each user's budget per category, and stores the user's budget.

we'll want as much processing as possible to be asynchronous.
We will almost certainly want at least one task queue, where we can queue up work that needs to be done.

This work will include tasks such as pulling in new bank data, re-analyzing budgets, and categorizing new bank data. It would also include re-trying tasks that failed.
These tasks will likely have some sort of priority associated with them, as some need to be performed more ohen than others. We want to build a task queue system that can prioritize some task types over others, while still ensuring that all tasks will be performed eventually. That is, we wouldn't want a low priority task to essentially "starve" because there are always higher priority tasks.

Follow Up Questions
How would this change if you also needed to support a mobile app?
How would you design the component which assigns items to each category?
How would you design the recommended budgets feature?
How would you. change this if the user could develop rules to categorize all transactions from a particular seller differently than the default?
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