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A Literature Review On Accounting Software Packages

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Question:

Discuss about the Literature Review on Accounting Software Packages.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

The company which I will review in this part is Taitung Food Services based in Australia. It distributes food products which include seafood, poultry, small goods, Asian fine foods and ingredients, fats and oils, frozen goods and carton meat among others.  It employs accounting software packages in its operations.

Its Current Organizational Structure

Organizational structure refers to the official patterns of interplay and coordination engineered by the management to connect the individuals` and groups` tasks in attaining organizational goals (Aquinas, 2008).  He adds that, however, organizations too have informal structures that are not engineered by management but egress normally due to common friendship or interests and that organizational structure is meant to avert chaos by establishing an orderly set of reporting interactions and communication channels.  This coincides with (Yasmine & Huub, 2014) argument that organizational structure should make sure the decision-making process is founded on expertise and should avert scenarios of conflicts of interest.  The organizational structure of the company follows that one of a typical food industry firm.

At the bottom, we have the position personnel that includes line cooks, prep, dishwashers, pantry, servers, and hosts.

Operational Problems Associated with this Structure

Operational challenges are inevitable in any given organizational structure.  Some of the major problems related to the above structure include workforce wastage, Personnel shortage, bureaucracy and occasional frictions between senior and junior employees among others.  A blend of the organization size and the concordant complexity of its operations can make it exceedingly hard for one person to hold everything together (Eric & Yvonne, 2012).  This corresponds with (Vasconcellos, 2004) argument that the job environment is the most discerning factor for workers and is often called the `common cause` of workforce wastage and production challenges within food plants. Taitung Food Service could face the problem of personnel shortage since it has assistant managers without supervisors to help in the activities that need supervision day in day out.  However, the operational units in an organization can make good decisions as independent objectives seeking systems and the synchronization by the organizational level is not required (Yasuhiko & Mihajlo, 2012).  This implies that there still could be smooth operations in the company even when each department is functioning independently.

 

Most Likely System Acquisition Method

Based on the medium size nature of the company, the highly possible acquisition criteria would be commercial software.  Accounting for one’s business is an indispensable activity to enable ones long term success (Steven & Tim, 2009).  This means that financial accounting is necessary for any given organization including small, medium and even multinational firms.  It will be more economical for the Taitung Food Service to purchase commercial software besides it other merits.  Commercial software cost is spread across many users; the unit cost is normally lowered to a fraction of the in-house developed system cost and has slim chances of experiencing errors compared to an equivalent in-house system (James, 2008).  As such, the company can comfortably afford it. 

However, the firm has the choice of obtaining custom software, but some of its shortcomings are a major discouragement especially to such a medium sized company.  Custom systems frequently take a long duration to develop and that it may take months or even years to fully develop a custom system via in-house procedures (James, 2008).  On the contrary, small commercial software systems may be executed almost forthwith upon recognizing a need and consequently, the user does not have to wait (James, 2008).  This vividly implies that it would be prudent for the company to adopt commercial software since it permits it to put it in operation right away without much time wastage as it would be in the case of custom-made software.  It is, however, hard for anyone to ignore the unique merit of custom accounting software, that is, its many components and applications.  Custom accounting software has paramount applications like wages, cost accounts, inventories, suppliers, purchases and sales (Shahzad & Mathew, 2010).

System flowchart of the Company Sales Procedures

A systems flowchart refers to the wide flow of work via the organization, and it normally emphasizes the data flow (Donald, 2002).  This simply means that it is a description of the sequential and harmonious flow of activities within a particular organizational department or even the entire institution.  However, (Donald, 2002) points out that, many times they are used to document both general accounting systems and specific computer programs.  As such, the wider application of systems flowcharts is usually in computer related programs and accounting issues.  (Donald, 2002) Goes on to add that the chief merit of the systems flowchart is that a graphical presentation of a system or rather a series of sequential processes is much easier to comprehend compared to a verbal description.  This is evidently true especially considering that it is far much easier to follow the activities within systems flowchart for a majority of people even to laypeople.  The systems flowchart displaying the sales procedures of Taitung Food Services would appear as illustrated below.  

Customer

Sales

Discount

Margin

Bill

Account

 

 

 

 

The arrows show the flow of activities which follow a cycle format while the empty boxes allow for the upward and downward arrows.  The crucial activities within the flowchart play a key role in ensuring the smooth operation within the sales department of the company.  As vividly seen, the customer is the major priority, and then the rest of the aspects touching on the customer follow.  The cycle then continues.

 

Control Problems in the System

The commercial software system experiences some setbacks. At times there occur input-output control problems in the software.  Input depicts the keying in of the data into the system, for instance, entering accounting data into the software system.  There is an activity that occurs in the midst of input and output, that is, there exist a process that pertains changing of the keyed-in data mostly in the form of digits into final systematic information.  The output means the documents or results produced by the system and most of the times it is in the form of a printout.  This implies that the work fed into the system fails to produce an output which matches the input amount.  As such, this brings about the issue of either overloading or under loading in the system.  In case there is overloading, the system becomes crowded, and this translates into increased inefficiencies and poor quality work.  On the other hand, when under loading occurs, it translates into resource wastage.  Using a vendor-supported system usually makes the company reliant on the vendor for maintenance (James, 2008).  This is true since the Taitung Food Services has procured the services of the host firm as users only.  He goes on to add that the user faces the risk that the vendor will stop to support the system or even exit the business.  Furthermore, according to him, the unique and complex needs of a firm may not be met by commonly available software which is too inflexible or too general.  The possible fraud problem types include fraudulent activities and embezzlement of funds executed by manipulating the system.

The advancement and acceptation of the accounting software Packages

The advancements made in this industry date back in the past several decades.  The need to automate accounting activities began in the early 1960s (Ashutosh, 2006).  According to him, a majority of the accounting software firms began in the early like Intuit started in the early 1980s.  Several specialist software houses have designed whole solicitors` accounts software packages over the past decade and have a considerable maturity (Ralph, 2013).  The increased advancement in the accounting software is greatly attributed to the increasing complexity of the business world.  Enterprise resource planning (ERP) works as a chief management package in a majority of organizations globally for the last two decades (Masaaki, 2016). The high levels of adoption of these packages are due to their ability to simplify the otherwise tedious and complex accounting process for small, medium and large corporations.  Business accounting software has had a remarkable impact on the financial setting (Abrar, 2014).  He adds that, moreover, because of technology, the accounting task which previously would have been executed by a group of people can be achieved by a single induvial.  Today, the accounting software packages have been immensely adopted globally.

 

The Current Market Size

The present market size is estimated to be around 2.84 billion dollars, and it constitutes key market players like Sage, Xero, Oracle, and Microsoft among others. The present day market size for accounting software packages is significant due to their perceived efficacy and effectiveness besides their ability to simplify accounting work.  The sage market share has been declining in the recent past.  However, the firm is aiming at embracing a customer-centred model which involves the adoption of cloud-based products for its customers.  Xero`s market dominance remains significantly high despite competition from other firms, particularly in Australia.  The company plans to introduce cloud-based software for the small businesses.  As such, the developers and manufacturers of the accounting software packages enjoy a huge market across the globe.

Leaders in the market and their competitive advantage

In the recent years, the industry of accounting software development has experienced stiff competition attributed to the bulging demand for the software by a large number of businesses worldwide.  MCBA Inc. is a leading accounting software manufacturer for Digital Equipment (Martin, 2014).  According to him, it has an eighteen module accounting and manufacturing software line and that it has enhanced its present Unit line.  Xero and Oracle enjoy a huge customer base across the globe, and this is attributed to their wide range of software products.  The two companies have majored on the development of cloud-based accounting software.  As such, they have won a large number of customers, especially the small and medium size businesses.  This implies that their accounting software is mainly based on online usage, that is, it needs internet use.

 

Current challenges for users of accounting software packages and the relevant recommendations

Some of the present day problems include perceived security challenges, technology failure risks, inadequate user skills, internet performance reliability issues among several others.  A great number of such users normally complain of security issues particularly for those using the cloud accounting software packages, which is chiefly dependent on the internet.

The majority of these problems are often rare and can be mitigated or even everted by following some of the mentioned steps below.  Ensuring that there are internet backup mechanisms which may be an alternative Wi-Fi access point or Ethernet cable network, installing of firewall in the organization`s computer systems to protect the organization`s accounts details from being infected by malware or even from possible hacking(who in most times use the financial information to blackmail an organization) , have some manual accounting backup, ensure that the users of the accounting software are well trained and skilled with up to date accounting software standards to enable them adequately cope with the current demands among other credible measures.

Here I am going to highlight some of the limitations of Oracle and Sap and their products in the market.  Oracle faces the limitation of poor implementation of sales which has contributed to the reduced profits exhibited by the firm in the recent past.  This means that the company has been employing sales techniques that have not been suitable for it in the stiffly competed market.  On the other hand, Sap`s main lacking is the performance problems of some of its products especially the ERP software.  There have been some instances of reports about system failures of the ERP product form some customers.

 

References

Abrar, H. (ed.), 2014. `Business Technologies in Contemporary Organizations`: Adoption, Assimilation, and Institutionalization. : IGI Global.

Aquinas, P., 2008. Organization Structure & Design:Applications & Challenges. New Delhi, Inda: EXCEL BOOKS.

Ashutosh, D., 2006. Digital Accounting: Th e Effects of the Internet & ERP on Accounting.: IGI Global.

Donald, A., 2002. Auditing EDP Systems. 2 ed.: Pearson South Africa.

Eric, G. & Yvonne, R., 2012. Growing Pains: Transitioning from an Entrepreneurship to a Professionally Managed Firm. 4 ed.: Wiley.

James, A., 2008. Accounting Information Systems. 6 ed.: Rob Dewey.

Martin, R., 2014. Top Stocks 2015: A  Stokebuyer`s Guide to Leading Australian Companies. 21st ed.: Wiley.

Masaaki, K. (ed.), 2016. Human- Computer Interaction: Theory, Design, Development & Practice. : Springer.

Ralph, D., 2013. Accounts for Solicitors. 2 ed.: Routledge.

Shahzad, U. & Mathew, T. (ed.), 2010. Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies. Vol 10 ed. Wagon Lane, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.

Steven, P. & Tim, R., 2009. Custom Wooden Sign Company. : Lulu.com.

Vasconcellos, J., 2004. Quality Assurance for the Food Industry: A  Practical Approach. Florida: CRC Press.

Yasmine, M. & Huub, L. (ed.), 2014. Food Safety Management: A Practical Guide for the Food Industry.: Elsevier.

Yasuhiko, T. & Mihajlo, M., 2012. Organizational Structure: Cybernetics Systems Foundation. Vol 22 ed. N.Y: Springer.

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