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Introduction to Westpac Banking Corporation

Question:

Discuss about the Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management.

Westpac Banking Corporation is a banking organization that offers a range of financial and banking services in markets involving business, institutional banking, consumer and wealth management services. The company is primarily involved in the offering of financial services relating to lending, payments, deposits taking, etc. Besides, the company operates throughout Australia, Asia, New Zealand, and the Pacific region. In relation to its current organizational structure, it uses a matrix form of structure.

A matrix organizational structure necessitates a specific minimum size to manage the overheads of two chains of management. Besides, companies such as Westpac that has grown to several hundred workforces, is a matrix organization. This structure groups employees by both product and function simultaneously. Furthermore, Westpac frequently utilizes its team of employees to procure the company objectives, to take advantage of its strengths and make up for its weaknesses. This is the reason why recently in 2015, the CEO of Westpac announced a fresh organizational structure of the company that is designed to enhance its customer-oriented strategy. Moreover, two new divisions are being added in the current organizational structure of Westpac that is commercial and business bank, and consumer bank (Westpac Bank, 2015). All these divisions are liable to improve the end-to-end experience of their segments of the customer base. On one hand, while the consumer bank is liable for consumer banking products and services, commercial and business bank, on the other hand, is liable for catering small and medium enterprises, equipment and asset finance, etc.

In relation to Westpac, since it uses a matrix organizational structure, there can be various operational problems, which might pose a threat to its vision statement. Moreover, since individual departments are liable for hiring and training professionals, and offering them to projects as required, there can be an enhancement in complexities of the company’s chain of command. This is because of the variations betwixt such project and functional managers that make it confusing for the employees to understand who is further in the chain of command (Westpac Bank, 2015). Moreover, since Westpac primarily believes in customer satisfaction for the attainment of its goals, it emphasizes a higher manager to employee ratio that can play a key role in creating conflicting loyalties of such employees. In addition, companies like Westpac with huge numbers of employees often incur massive overhead costs in order to maintain its matrix organizational structure (Douma & Hein, 2013). This is because there will be more collection of information and paperwork in the company that carries huge costs. Besides, most of the employees of the company are qualified specialists, and therefore, they are offered high fees and facilities that increase costs in such structure.

In relation to Westpac Banking Corporation Ltd, since it utilizes accounting software packages like MYOB, the most likely system acquisition method for it will be Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Moreover, long-term planning is necessary for such companies while procuring information services and services in order to fulfill its mission statement. This system is beneficial for Westpac with a high business profile because it assists it to collect, manage, store, and interpret information from its diversified business activities. Furthermore, because of varied services provided by Westpac, ERP as a system acquisition method allows it to update the view of its prime business processes regularly through common databases. In addition, the system integrates different organizational systems and facilitates error-less transactions that are very vital for banking companies like Westpac, as it aims for fuller customer-satisfaction. Moreover, such system acquisition methods are more favorable for larger businesses like Westpac, as catering to thirteen million customers cannot be done by any other method (MYOB, 2016). However, with due course of time, even smaller businesses have started adopting ERP methods in their businesses for greater efficiency.

Organizational Structure of Westpac

The flowchart describes the function of the bank in terms of sales and banking function. It initiates when the customers arrive at the bank. This is the initial point and henceforth the stages arrive. The teller asks for the bank id and if the account number is correct then the customer is able to transact with the bank while if the answer appears to be no then some authentication steps need to be undertaken. Such steps are taken to authenticate the client. If any discrepancy arrives then the customers is asked to fetch a clear detail. However, if the details appear correct then the customer is allowed to transact.

Although ERP is an effective system acquisition method, yet it faces many control problems that may create a chance of fraud. Firstly, ERP as a system must be updated regularly and unsupported software cannot result in an enhanced efficiency to the users. This is because older ERP software cannot be compatible and integrated with the newer products. As a result, browsers and servers are badly influenced due to the system. Moreover, incompatibility of the software can also result in crashing the system, thereby generating a control problem, and necessitating the requirement of the new system with the due passage of time. Secondly, the system of ERP poses a lack of functionality that has restricted users to access and evaluate their information with the tools that are already available within their systems. Therefore, often users become bound to hold relevant information within tools like Excel that has a higher chance of fraud, as it is external to the ERP system. Lastly, often an overlooked ERP software related threat is associated with the delay of companies updating their software. The real problem behind such threat is that up gradation of ERP systems is very complicated and problematic in nature. Hence, the system of ERP not only has control problems but also can pose a risk of fraud.

With due course of time, accounting software packages have evolved beyond a mere accounting package to a complete business management tool. With significant improvements in technologies, most of the organizations are now involving with computerized accounting systems. The challenges in the 1990’s were that every business system was incapable of communicating with each other in terms of accounting. That is the time when accounting software packages were made to infiltrate ordinary business software. The traditional viewpoint of small business records depicts that it is paper-based. However, in lieu of enhanced competition in the market, accounting software packages have played a key role in changing the nature of businesses. Besides, with the arrival of new technologies, and enhanced user-friendly software, computerized accounting system appears to be the most significant in minimizing the complications in bookkeeping practices. In addition, with the advent of rapid and fresh financial information, new changes and updates can be made easily available to others in their decision-making processes. In relation to the adoption of such packages, constrained startup expenses and other risks are very significant to be determined. Furthermore, efforts and considerable time of clients result from conversions of software and surpass even the most pressing requirement for change. Such changes are likely in the current scenario or rapidly changing technologies, regular development of competing for products that offer significant abilities and improvement, as well as the natural growth of organizations that diversify beyond their current accounting software packages. Therefore, it is useful to know what export or import options and conversions are available.

System Acquisition Method for Westpac

Westpac Bank is one of the major banks in Australia that is engaged in sales, as well as customer service. The Westpac bank not only caters to sales and customer service rather looks after the small to medium enterprise, commercial and business of agriculture.  Westpac Bank has spread its arm in the area of wealth management through BT Financial group. Westpac bank holds a significant chunk of interest that is 31% in the investment management of BT group.  The revenue of the group stands at $30.19 billion followed by an asset presence of $570.98 billion. Its presence can be traced not in the banking sector but also through the management of funds and insurance needs. It provides numerous ranges of services that pertain to a diverse group of customers. The lending percentage of the company increased 18.5% and market share of the bank stands at 16.5%. The impressive profit of the bank indicates a strong market scenario of the bank.

Westpac bank is purely a market leader and that is reflected from the graph projected below. The company has a strong policy when it comes to risk minimization. The dealings overseas are done with ease. The risk management solution provides the skills to manage, as well as reduce the exposure of the currency that caters to the needs of the onshore and offshore. The major competitive advantage reaped by the company is that of doing business in an effective manner. The business and banking needs are emphasized in a clear manner (Horngren, 2013). The skills of negotiation and settlement provide Westpac to have a competitive advantage over other competitors.  The process of trading is made smooth that has led to an effective result in terms of relationship and business.  A proper transaction method enables the company to hedge risks and eliminates the risk associated with the foreign exchange. Moreover, there is a strong level of transparency that helps in providing a better scenario and reduction of exposure.

In relation to accounting software packages, there are various challenges encountered by users. Besides, accounting problems are generally common amongst those who utilize accounting software packages, which they believe can enhance their accounting operations (Layton, 2007). Firstly, even though in the prevalence of firewalls, lack of appropriate security is the most relevant challenge while using accounting software package. This is because most of the software are accessible by foreign parties, and often the firewall does not assist in solving the problem, thereby creating a situation where users can do nothing (Abbas et. al, 2011). Secondly, most of the accounting software packages are not user-friendly in nature and are hard to customize. This is because there are often system restrictions that prevent users from performing customization according to their preferences. Besides, some of the packages are rather cluttered and complicated to understand, thereby making it challenging to users to avoid unnecessary information and columns on their own (Zissis & Lekkas, 2012). Thirdly, most of the users are stressed out by the absence of proper guidance and training in relation to the use of accounting software packages (Basta et. al, 2013). Besides, even in the case of fixing the occurred problems, they have to encounter challenges. Moreover, extra guidance and training often necessitate additional expenses to the users. In addition, provision of contact numbers is also not facilitated on many websites of accounting software companies (Mehdi, 2006). Fourthly, many users are frustrated, as their accounting software package is not entirely compatible with their programs. For instance, a customer might not be capable of importing few dates into his program as the software restricts such action (Lapsley, 2012).


Lastly, most of the software packages operate through the internet, and delays are more likely to happen because of the distance of the data center, thereby generating a location problem. Moreover, such technical issues regarding the speed of internet are not predictable in nature and it may happen that in an urgent situation, the internet vanishes (Carroll, 2014).

Proper training and education of related personnel can assist in minimizing the challenges encountered by such users because they can further assist in educating the users regarding the issues they are facing in relation to the software packages. Furthermore, use of cloud accounting software like MYOB, XERO, etc, can assist in terminating the challenges of desktop accounting software. Besides, to encounter cloud-accounting frauds, authentication strategies, predicate cryptography, etc, can be used.

References

Abbas, H, Magnusson, C,  Yngstrom, L & Hemani, A 2011, ‘Addressing dynamic issues in information security management’, Information Management & Computer Security vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 5–24

Basta, A,  Basta, N & Brown, M 2013, Computer security and penetration testing, Cengage Learning.

Brigham, E. & Daves, P 2012,  Intermediate Financial Management , USA: Cengage

Carroll, J.M 2014, Computer security, Butterworth-Heinemann.

Davies, T & Crawford, I 2012, Financial accounting, Harlow, England: Pearson.

Douma, S & Hein, S 2013, Economic Approaches to Organizations. London

Horngren, C 2013, Financial accounting,  Frenchs Forest, N.S.W: Pearson Australia Group.

Lapsley, I. 2012, Commentary: Financial Accountability & Management, Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 291-292.

Layton, T.P 2007,  Information Security: Design, Implementation, Measurement, and Compliance, Boca Raton, FL: Auerbach publications.

Mehdi, K.P 2006, Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology, Management. Idea Group.

MYOB 2016, MYOB accounting system, viewed 25 April 2017 https://www.myobaccountingsystem.com/

Westpac Bank 2015, Westpac bank annual report 2015, viewed 25 April 2017 https://2015annualreport.westpacgroup.com.au/docs/defaultsource/downloads/2015_Annual_Report.pdf

Zissis, D. & Lekkas, D 2012, ‘Addressing cloud computing security issues’, Future Generation computer systems, vol. 28, no. 3,  pp.583-592.

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