(a) In most organisations. the accounting function ranks among the first activities to be computerised. There are various reasons ashy some activities have to be computerised before others. These reasons range from staff shortage to initial cost outlay and maintenance costs.
(i) Name and explain any four unique properties of the accounting functions that
make it necessary for computerisation.
(ii) List four accounting functions that can be automated or computerised.
(b) What are the functions of a computerisation-project steering commute
Name two areas of interest in a formal systems walk through process.
a) (i)Properties of accounting functions:
1. They involve arithmetic
Maintaining records of cash receipts, cash payments, depreciation of fixed assets and employee payroll involves addition, subtraction and even calculating percentages of values (particularly in the case of depreciation and payroll records). Computers can be used to perform these arithmetical procedures since they are very fast and accurate.
2. They involve storage of information
Computers may be used to store records of cash receipts and payments, records of depreciation of fixed assets and employee payroll records since they can store very large amounts of data in very compact media as compared to the traditional filing system.
3. They are repetitive
Maintaining depreciation of records involves performing repetitive calculations on data (reducing balance depreciation). A computer, which is faster and more accurate, could best perform this repetitive task. Credit and debiting of accounts is also a repetitive task that is carried out frequently.
4. They involve production of reports (e.g. Balance sheet, profit and loss a/c)
Report generation and production could be computerized since computers are capable of producing quality reports.
Accounting functions that can be computerized:
1. Managing and maintaining records of receipts of cash.
2. Managing and maintaining records of cash payments.
3. Managing and maintaining records of depreciation of an organization‘s fixed assets.
4. Managing and maintaining employee payroll records.
5. Production of financial statements e.g. balance sheets, trial balance, trading and profit and loss accounts.
b) Project steering committee membership comprises of representatives form user departments
who are also members of the user group, some or all the project team leaders, the project manager and members of the senior management who are either responsible for the systems development staff or the functional areas primarily affected the developments in progress.
The project steering committee fits in the project management structure as shown in the following diagram:
Functions of the steering committee:
1. Providing a forum for the discussion of user concerns, where alternative solutions may be discussed at a more senior level with a view to providing recommended sources of action.
2. Reviewing the current status of the project reference to the dimensions of time, resources, costs and quality.
3. Analyzing the cause and effect of any deviations from the plan and evaluating alternative corrective actions.
4. Recommending changes to the project either to correct current or anticipated deviations or to reflect developments in the user‘s requirements from the system(s).
5. Providing advice on policy formulation for the operation of the information system within the organization at the strategic management and operational levels.
Although the steering committee‘s function is normally to provide advice, the committee may have real power and be able to persuade the executive arm of the management to adopt its recommendations. This is particularly the case if the members of the senior management responsible for taking ultimate decisions participate fully in the work and meetings of the committee.
c) Systems walkthrough
This is a planned review of the system under development people not involved in its development effort. It is carried out to establish areas where improvement can be made in the system or its development process.
Areas of interest:
1. System requirements
They are reviewed to check if there are any discrepancies between the requirements stated the users and those proposed the systems analyst.
2. Systems designs
They are reviewed to check whether the proposed designs conform to the requirements of the system and user.
3. System programs
They are checked to establish whether the programs being developed satisfy the design specifications.
4. System testing
The review aims to develop test data that can be used to direct system design errors.