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Accounting Information Systems - Essay Example

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Obviously, this new function of accounting emerged in the second half of the 20th century has required new approaches to be developed. Eventually, the analysis of financial data has become more sophisticated, development of IT industry has allowed more complex techniques to be used and the variety of management/accounting information systems (M/AIS) has become so great that accountants themselves have lost their tracks in the growing complexity of automated solutions developed for their use.

Nowadays companies have to follow certain principles, called implementation strategy, when choosing the approach they need for information management. First of all, the need for new information system has to be based on the real need caused by a real problem a company is facing. Naturally, the transition of a company from one M/AIS to another is a difficult process that requires time and money, so the motives for the planned changes should be reasonable. For instance, current IS may provide insufficient or inaccurate data for stakeholders, may be to costly and excessive to use, or lack security. Thus, the first important step on the path of implementation new M/AIS is the realisation of the need for its change.

Since the M/AIS is a "system of collecting and processing the transaction data and disseminating the financial information to the interested parties" (Kieso et al, 2004, p.68), several questions should be answered, such as: how and what data should be collected and processed, and what are the interested parties. Answers for these questions are provided during the second step of M/AIS implementation: planning. During this stage the outlines of the future IS appear in the minds of developers. According to the classification provided by Brecht and Martin (1996, pp. 18-21) M/AIS can be classified into the following types, regarding of their main focus: strategic, management and task/operational. The main function of a strategic M/AIS is the support of long-term decision-making of executive management. Management system is concerned with operations management: focusing, motivating, controlling and supporting business performance. Taskoperational is the lowest level, providing data for some operating functions (e.g. tracking purchases, cost control, production and inventories monitoring, and payroll processing). Of course, the size of the company also affects the requirements to M/AIS: small firms may require only the task/operational information system, while larger companies will need every level of focus.
Once the planning is complete the installation phase begins. At the beginning of this phase all the main choices of the future IS have been made and the time comes for practical solutions: e.g. what equipment suits better to the needs of data gathering, processing and output. Although, decisions have already been made this stage is the most important since it relates to real-life implementation of the planned M/AIS. The final phase of implementation process is the analysis of the transition; it is performed to realise to what extent the initial goals have been achieved, what mistakes have been made during implementation and how to avoid them in future.
Thus, managers of ABC Ltd. should start the transition project from: 1) assigning the development team, 2) identifying goals of transition and the main stakeholders, 3) forming the experts team from them, 4) choosing the solutions, which suit best to goals set, 5) think of their practical implementation, 6) organise the process of implementation and 7) further analysis of it.

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The development of M/AIS requires the effective participation of different stakeholders. Freeman (1984) first ...Show more
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Summary

Accounting systems are used in a modern business environment not only as a standartisation tool for the financial data, but more importantly, as an information source for decision-making processes…
Accounting Information Systems
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