Accounting information systems are associated with the primary objective of monitoring the utilization, performance and flow of financial assets of an organization. The need for monitoring the financial records of an organization could be validated on grounds of sustainability of an enterprise due to financial status of an organization. Varying sources of literature indicate the role of accounting information systems in maintaining control as well as stability of the financial apparatus of an organization (Akhgar, Parvin & Sherkat, 2014).
The necessity for determining the effectiveness of accounting information systems is associated with the references to prolific outcomes in the form of comprehensive accounting reports, cash flow statement, appropriate data collection and processing frameworks alongside formidable controls on the internal dynamics of financial assets and related entities. The following literature review emphasizes on the case of a specific organization in Australia which adopts AIS i.e. Myers and attempts at presenting a cognizable impression of organizational structure, operational issues associated with the structure, system acquisition methods, systems flowchart for illustrating the sales procedure as well as issues with control as well as fraud that could proliferate in the system (Akhgar, Parvin & Sherkat, 2014).
The organization that would be assumed as the case study for this literature review is Myers Australia which is the leading supermarket chain in Australia and has a comprehensive network of information systems. The organizational structure observed in case of Myers Australia is indicative of a two layered hierarchy with major privileges anointed to the CEO of the organization, Richard Umbers. The CEO holds immediate authority over all departments of the organization such as merchandise and marketing, planning and business development, digital and data department, store development, HR and legal and secretarial department. The organizational structure also includes a specific department for brand and marketing initiatives which is under the authority of the merchandise and marketing department (Altameem, Aldrees & Alsaeed, 2014).
The merchandise and marketing department could be considered as the preceding element in the formation of the brand and marketing department (Cassidy, 2016). The organization’s structure is a formidable substrate for determining the type of information system framework required for the organization. Therefore a critical review of the setbacks pertaining to operations of individual departments that arise due to the organizational structure could be a prolific addition in this literature review.
The common problems that could be associated with the organizational structure relate to inter departmental conflicts, limited communication, ambiguous goals and inconsistency. Some of the notable problems that could be noticed with respect to the case of Myers Australia are largely associated with errors in functional segmentation. The foremost pitfall pertaining to the organizational structure is noticed in the negligence for principles of accounting flexibility (Cassidy, 2016).
The individual departments are responsible for management of their accounting data and transactions pertaining to department specific activities. Unreliable information is another detrimental operational issue that can be derived from the organizational structure of Myers Australia that could lead to consequences of faulty decisions. The ambiguities arising from the interaction of physical activity and accounting activity could also lead to profound reduction in performance of the individual departments of the organization.
The selection of an appropriate system for addressing the accounting information management requisites of Myers could be addressed by evaluation of the system acquisition process. The first step in the process involves a comprehensive examination of software packages accessible in the market and determining its ability to address the needs of the organization. The concerns for system acquisition are largely associated with the competence of the system to deliver the needs demanded by the organization since customized software and internal development of information systems is observed in cases where the AIS package does not fulfil the requirements of the organization (Choi & Moon, 2014).
The modification in the package could be reflective of the subsequent outcome referring to the RFP provided by the organization for software and hardware followed by evaluation of the proposal. Custom software can be assumed as the most reasonable system acquisition method for Myers Australia referring to the variable departments and individual accounting concerns for them. The selection of custom software could be reflective of the formidable requirements of resources and time as well as higher probabilities of errors (Hovelja, Vasilecas & Vavpotic, 2015). However, Myers could capitalize on the services of an external agency for fabricating custom software directed towards the beneficial outcomes of cost controlling and sustaining effective communication within the varying departments of the organization. From the sales process diagram it can be explained properly.
The profound threats that could be apprehended in the case of accounting information systems implemented in an organization are noted in case of control and probabilities of fraud observed in the systems. The risks associated with information systems have become primary concerns of organizations leading to innovative measures for improving control through inclusion of enforcement, integrating control in the development process, security of environments, education and enhancing the security workforce that can be held accountable for any discrepancies in the systems (Kummer & Schmiedel, 2016).
The control objectives for Myers must be recognized as independent aspects and monitored through procedures and policies set as precedents rather than being associated with data processing methods. Myers could be subject to fraud due to the increasing levels of competition, demand for business intelligence and the wider distribution of networks that are related to the increased vulnerability of data. Therefore control problems with respect to the variable functions of internal controls could arise in preventive, corrective and detective controls.
Preventive controls could be affected by the lack of appropriate accounting information system management since precautionary measures cannot be implemented without the analysis of available information. The impact of legislations and organizational codes of practice can be considered as influential factors for improving the prospects for identifying and addressing the control related issues and incidents of fraud that could plague AIS frameworks and cause reduction of organizational performance. (Luse, et al., 2013)
With changing market environment and business structures the role of accounting packages have increased significantly and it is also being used as a competitive advantage by various firms. Accounting software packages basically refers to the kind of application software which is used to record and handle various accounting transactions like general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing, etc. It operates as an accounting information system and helps firms to simplify their financial process (Mehrjerdi, 2014).
In the retail scenario, the use of such software packages reduces the manual intervention in the financial process if the business undertaking. Since Myers stores which is one of the largest departmental store in Australia operates in all the Australian states and the product range includes a broad range of products like apparels for men, women, children, footwear, electrical and furniture items the use of accounting software packages is vital to control the financial inflows and outflows of the retail outlet (Mehrjerdi, 2014).
This accounting software used by Myers is user friendly application which can be accessed from any departmental store at any location, at any time with any device or tool which is Internet enabled. It greatly reduces the complexity and costs of the departmental chain. The core models like billing and inventory are very useful for such kind of departmental outlets.
Since the market has undergone drastic changes since the mid 1990s, business firms are adopting the techniques which will minimize their work load. They believe in doing smart work instead of doing hard work. The introduction of various accounting packages in the market is has brought about revolutionary changes just like the use of other information systems in different business situations like MIS, DSS, EIS, etc. The market size is still evolving and expanding which shows that now business undertakings are inclining towards technology based models.
It has been forecasted that the accounting software market is likely to grow at a much faster pace in the upcoming years since these applications help firms to manage their accounts and perform account related activities in an effective and efficient manner (Nakama, Onishi & Iki, 2015). Over the past few years, the development and adoption of such accounting software have grown at a robust pace in various nations due to rise in awareness about the advantages of using accounting software and growth in demand for real time security.
Significant growth in the market size has been expected on account of increase in the integration of accounting software with numerous online applications like e-commerce, etc, along with expansion of cloud computing market and increase in demand for various types of analytics and need of all-inclusive functionality in the accounting package software (Nakama, Onishi & Iki, 2015).
The use of such software in retail sector by huge retail chains like Myers shows that the market size is expanding.
Since the modules both core and non-core covered by different accounting packages cover various functions, for any player to introduce a new software is not an easy task. There are a few market leaders offering software which incorporate all relevant elements into ingle software like convenient functions, location specific products, industry specific products. These attributes are really convenient for the users and any business firm can install such software and use it for recording financial transactions quickly and accurately. One marketer can succeed and become a market leader only by satisfying the customers. Some of the accounting software package leaders in the market are QuickBooks Online, FinancialForce Accounting, etc. These leaders have significant market share, scale of functions, service resources, etc (Ogiela, 2015).
The competitive advantage of the market leaders is that they combine the client’s front and back office on a single platform while focusing on the needs and requirements of the businesses who can be their potential clients (Ogiela, 2015). This aspect helps them to focus on minute details of the software and its functioning and remove any loophole and thus simplify the entire accounting experience. Such attributes help in the retail scenario and simplify various inventory and billing related processes. The use of a strong and effective accounting software package by Myers has simplified its long processes and it has reduced manual intervention.
In certain cases where the business undertaking is huge and activities involved are vast the implementation i.e installation and configuration of the accounting package with the activities of the client might be a herculean task. The cost of such software packages is the biggest constraint for the clients since once they invest money in it and if it does not suit their business model and requirements, it is a waste of funds. A certain amount of money needs to be spent on periodic basis to purchase the yearly maintenance and support functions for the installed software (Peppard & Ward, 2016).
The firms creating accounting packages must focus on simplifying the implementation process since it involves a series of processes which a client business might not be comfortable with. Different price variations can be introduced in marked depending on specific modules so that users can purchase software based on module requirement.
Thus with the changing business structures and activities, there has been significant reduction in manual work. This has been the driving force for the development and adoption of numerous information systems and accounting software packages. The steady growth of market and increase in market share by the participants shows that the tool is catching up in the market and its use will further increase by different business undertakings. Myers departmental outlet is the best example which shows how the numerous activities related to inventory, invoicing, etc can be managed in a simplified manner, without human intervention and just by using various information systems and the financial aspects are simplified by using accounting software package.
Akhgar, B., Parvin, E.S. and Sherkat, M.H., 2014. Axiomatic agent based architecture for agile decision making in strategic information systems. Journal of ambient intelligence and humanized computing, 5(1), pp.93-104.
Al-Hashedi, A.H., Arshad, M.R.H.M., Baharudin, A.S., Mohamed, H.H. and Osman, O., 2014, November. Strategic information systems planning for RFID implementation in Hajj management systems. In Information Technology and Multimedia (ICIMU), 2014 International Conference on (pp. 146-150). IEEE.
Altameem, A.A., Aldrees, A.I. and Alsaeed, N.A., 2014, October. Strategic information systems planning (SISP). In Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science (Vol. 1).
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Chemlal, Y. and Medromi, H., 2015. Improving the quality of information in strategic scanning system network: approach based on cooperative multi-agent system. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence & Applications, 6(1), p.53.
Choi, S. and Moon, T., 2014. Mediating Effect of Strategic Use of Information Systems in the Relationship of IT Competency and Organizational Performance. The Journal of Information Systems, 23(2), pp.67-90.
Hovelja, T., Vasilecas, O. and Vavpotic, D., 2015. Exploring the infulences of use of information system development methodologies elements on strategic business goals in enterprises. Technological and Economic Development of Economy.
Kummer, T.F. and Schmiedel, T., 2016. Reviewing the role of culture in strategic information systems research: a call for prescriptive theorizing on culture management. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 38(1), p.5.
Luse, A., Mennecke, B., Townsend, A. and Demarie, S., 2013. Strategic information systems security: definition and theoretical model.
Mehrjerdi, Y.Z., 2014. Strategic system selection with linguistic preferences and grey information using MCDM. Applied Soft Computing, 18, pp.323-337.
Morozov, V.V. and Timinsky, A.G., 2016, August. Strategic gaps in the capabilities of internal and external adaptation of methodologies and information systems of project management. In Data Stream Mining & Processing (DSMP), IEEE First International Conference on (pp. 405-409). IEEE.
Nakama, Y., Onishi, Y. and Iki, K., 2015. Development of building information management system using BIM toward strategic building operation and maintenance.
Odit, M.C.A., Rwashana, A.S. and Kituyi, G.M., 2014. Antecedents and Dynamics for Strategic Alignment of Health Information Systems in Uganda. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 64.
Ogiela, L., 2015. Advanced techniques for knowledge management and access to strategic information. International Journal of Information Management, 35(2), pp.154-159.
Oliveira, L.M.C., Sellera, P.E.G. and Curvo, N., 2016. Development of an information system at the Strategic Management Support Office of the brazilian Ministry of Health. Revista Cubana de Información en Ciencias de la Salud, 27(2), pp.168-184.
Peppard, J. and Ward, J., 2016. The Strategic Management of Information Systems: Building a Digital Strategy. John Wiley & Sons.
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