The continuing development and improvement of information technology has revolutionised the accountancy functions in most organisations.
a) Discuss the benefits and dangers of the increasing use of information technologies to the accounting functions in an organisation.
b) Identify the major factors that influence the structure of an information system.
a) Benefits and dangers of the increasing use of information technologies to the accounting functions in an organisation.
1. Information technology to the accounting functions has brought about the simplification of accounting duties since accounting programs are more easy to learn and use as opposed to manual procedures.
2. Single packages used in information processing in the accounting function are thoroughly tested before being released then it follows that more quality and error free information is output in the system thus boosting the reliability of financial information.
3. Information technology facilitates the timely output of routine reports such as annual information. This improves the organisation‘s efficiency and accounting information.
4. Most packages used in the accounting function contain the audit trail of the accounting entries made on the organisation during the year. This boosts the authenticity and reliability of information as well as improving the internal and external check system.
5. Information technology has resulted to less expensive processors such that processing of accounting information will be widely available for many tasks at an acceptable cost, for example, accounting packages could provide both financial information and information for audit purposes.
6. Increased information technology has also resulted in increased end user computing in the accounting function such that even less qualified accountants can be able to perform more complex tasks like preparation of final statements.
7. Accounting functions may also be equipped with expert systems to provide the organisation with complex accounting information such as financial management and auditing.
8. Extensive use of information technology has resulted to the development of more productive and easier for users to access and use especially vital accounting information.
1. Accountants may not be able to cope with complex technology thus resulting to reduced efficiency in the accounting functions.
2. Information systems development staff may not communicate well with each other so that user requirements are not properly met thus information
3. Wider access to data as a result of widespread information technology increases the risk of threats to security particularly where data is transmitted between sites.
4. Information technology may result to a tendency to produce information for the sake the accounting function rather than because it is required.
5. Technology is still at its infancy and changes in the needs in the accounting function could lead to extra costs when upgrading occurs.
b) Major factors influencing the structure of an information system.
1. Organisations resources and activities: – An organisation can be likened to a system operating in a given environment thus its information system will be structured in accordance with its environment.
2. Size of the organisation: – The size of an organisation will determine the structure of its information system, for example, very complex organisations will have complex systems while small organisations may also have only a stand alone computer system.
3. Geographical dispersion of the organisation: – The organisations with branches all over are likely to have distributed data processing systems.
4. The management structure of an organisation: – This is likely to affect the flow of information especially the direction in which information flows.