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Question:
Discuss about the Strategic Information Systems Trends in Computing.
 
 
Answer:
Introduction

An accounting software/package is a system that is used on a computer and it perfoms  all accounting tasks,  such as recording,  storing,  sorting, retrieving, analyzing, presenting and conveying accounting information to different shareholder groups (Spathis, 2006).  Applications enhance the quality of accounting data and promotes moving efficiency between organizations’ sectors and among organizations’ branches and their numerous users or investor groups.

The literature review on accounting software/packages used in Australia.

All the necessary information to the organization of any company requires the valuation of numerous cost objects to do a proper evaluation; correct data is required regarding all resources that are consumed directly or indirectly (Drury, 2008). 

The introduction to using accounting software is precious to organizations. However, the software applications should have a general guideline on what application standards the software need to have. There are four general features that accounting packages must have (Rushinek and Rushinek, 1995). They include; ease of installation, ease of use, should have seller support and the capability to be updated. Training should also be done on how to use the applications so that the future needs of the organization or business can be met. This can only be achieved through training.

An appropriate accounting application should have a compatibility feature. A compatibility feature is smooth functional system constant with operations, workforce and administrative structure (Byrd & Turner’s, 2000)

Flexibility is of great importance in accounting applications. Flexibility can be defined as an n application capacity alongside a variation of course or a deviation from the programmed path of activity (Genus & Dickson, 1995).

 
History, development, and adoption

The commonly used accounting system also known as “general ledger” is a book with distributed pages for every account i.e. payables, receivable, cash, equity. Each day transactions are entered by use of hand into the journal. Intuit came up with a computerized application named Quicken. The company later introduced Quickbooks for small business accounting in 1983. Turbo Tax, an application for calculating income taxes and federal, were presented to Nivinson. That saw the end of using manual entries and computers was embraced because it made the work of accountants much easier. They gave accountants an opportunity to be more productive.

In the recent past, there has been a significant improvement in the innovation in technology and organizations now depend on machines to help in the running of businesses. Since the formation of Intuit in the year 1983, It has played a significant role in developing applications for the current age. Intuit products are vast, but QuickBooks is the most commonly used (Miller, Hopper & Laughlin 1991: 396).

The current market size

Australia has two accounting software companies competing for the market share; Xero which is from Zealand and QuickBooks Online (QBO) from is US-based Intuit.  They are not the only companies in the market but because of the recent developments, they are outshining the others throughout other continents. (Smith, 2013).

Quickbooks has been on the market for quite some time, but its entry to Australia is relatively recent. Whereas Xero has been in the Australian market for a couple of years and has seen its widespread use by accountants and small businesses due to its capability to communicate with customers.

Despite Xero being wide known in Australia, Quickbooks has launched a new user interface for Quickbooks Online (Harmony), customized with Australian localizations to the product, employed staff and opened an office in Australia and is trying to capture the Australian market share (Smith, 2013). 

 
Leaders in the market and what gives them the competitive advantage.
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • MYOB
  • Reckon
  • Saasu
  • Xero

Intuit QuickBooks - A highly ranked accounting software in Australia.  QB is among the most widespread accounting application used by small businesses in Australia. The factors that contribute to this include:-

Price which is $12/month and $21/month for the premier version.

QuickBooks provides a wide-ranging level of features that businesses in Australia use to trail business revenue, expenditures, and earnings (Claire, 2010)

MYOB: - Australias best accounting software. It targets to be more than a functional accounting application. It has an additional feature that helps owners of businesses to increase productivity and make enhanced choices with a simultaneous view of a company’s fiscal operations. It integrates the point of sale transactions into the entire business operations. It has an interface known as Kounta which works both online and offline, and the clientele hardly notices if the Internet connection slows down. They have a compliant capability known as ATO which is a huge attraction (Best, 2005)

Reckon: – Purposes to be the best accounting application for accountants, bookkeepers, and companies in Australia. It’s one of the affordable cloud accounting software for small businesses in Australia’s and is well recognized. It uses a platform’s known as Reckon Pay. This platform accepts debit/credit card payments using cell phones (Chibber, 2010)

Saasu: - It claims to be the future of accounting.  By using the application, business people in Australia can immediately execute cash flow cashing with just a click without additional setups. It offers smart bank payments that efficiently execute bank settlements thus, helps on saving time. It manages transactions in different foreign currencies. It’s considered the best accounting applications for businesses in Australia. It has all that is needed to run a business from anyplace, by use of any podium (Rushinek and Rushinek, 1995).

Xero: - Xero is a highly popular online accounting software in Australia. It offers real-time data monitoring abilities. It has over half a million subscribers who use the application. It has a wide range of business accounting functionalities since it offers speedy internet billing.  It has a cutting-edge reconciliation process that allows the user to import and group bank transactions. Xero has two subscription categories (Smith, 2013).

Starter software subscription $9/month

Premium accounting software $70/month

 
Current gaps or challenges encountered by users or customers of accounting

Leading accounting software packages are cloud based, or they intend to do so. Security of any data is essential to any business. Online content is prone to hacker attacks, fraud, and other threats. It needs a high level of security which might be very expensive.

Software/Packages

A software/package is an of application that records and processes accounting transactions by use of well-designed components i.e. accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and trial balance. There are different types of accounting application in the market which depend on business requirements. Small business/individual accounting applications are mostly intended for home users. The applications are straightforward and low-priced through the simple functionality e.g. managing one's budget.

Low-budget accounting applications are meant for small business markets that are capable of serving a single market. These applications are characterized by ‘single entry’ products. Mid-market accounting applications is meant for establishments with large businesses. These applications serve the requirements of multiple nationwide accountancy principles due the the multi-currency facility (Rushinek and Rushinek, 1995).

Relevant suggestions or recommendations

Accounting users have demands for enhancing the quality of software. They software is expected to have general application features i.e. ease of installation, ease of use, should have seller support and the capability to be updated.

Accountants and bookkeepers to undergo training on how to use the applications so that the future needs of the organization or business can be met, this can only be accomplished through training.

An appropriate accounting application should have a compatibility feature. A compatibility feature is smooth functional system constant with operations, workforce and organizational structure.

Flexibility is of a key important factor in accounting applications. Flexibility can be defined as the system’s capacity alongside a change of course or deviation from the programmed direction of course.

 
Conclusion:

An accounting software that is per the standards discussed above should easen an accountant work since computers are being used instead of the manual book keeping methods. Research indicates that the use of accounting applications minimizes the amount of time accounting professionals spend while undertaking accounting tasks to minimal.

 
Reference

Avi Rushinek, Sara F. Rushinek, (1995) "Accounting software evaluation: hardware, audit trails, backup, error recovery and security", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 10 Iss: 9, pp.29 - 37

Byrd, T. A., & Turner, D. E. (2000). Measuring the flexibility of information technology infrastructure: Exploratory analysis of a construct. Journal of Management Information System, 17(1), 167-208.

Carnegie, G. D. & Napier, C. J. (1996). Critical and interpretive histories: understanding accounting’s present and future through its past, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 9(3): 7-39.

Claire Kamm Latham (2009), Business-student partnership: Linking accounting information systems, internal control, and auditing, in Bill N. Schwartz, Anthony H. Catanach (ed.) Advances in Accounting Education (Advances in Accounting Education, Volume 10) Emerald Group

Fleischman, R. K. & Radcliffe, V. S. (2005). The roaring nineties: accounting history comes of age, Accounting Historians Journal, 32(1): 61-109.

Frishammar, J.  (2002). Characteristics in information processing approaches. International Journal of Information Management, 22(2), 143-156.

Genus, A. and K. Dickson, 1995, Technological Analysis and Strategic Management 7(3), 283–285.

Ramazani, M., Zanjani, M., &Vali, F.  (2012). Accounting Software Expectation Gap Based on Features of Accounting Information Systems (AISs). Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences, 3(11).

Rushinek, A., & Rushinek, S. F. (1995). Accounting software evaluation: hardware, audit trails, backup, error recovery and security. Managerial Auditing Journal, 10(9), 29-37. 

Spathis, C. 2006.  Enterprise systems implementation and accounting benefits. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 19, 67-82.

Tabachnick, B. & Fidell, L. 2007. Using multivariate statistics, Boston, Allyn & Bacon.

Tornatzky, L. G. & Fleischer, M. (1990) Processes of Technological Innovation, Lexington books, Lexington, Massachusetts.

Venkatesh, V., Thong, J. Y. L., & Xu, X. (2003) “Consumer acceptance and use of information

technology: extending the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology” MIS Quarterly,

Vol 36 No 1, pp. 157-178.

Zeff, S. A. (2000) Henry Rand Hatfield: Humanist, Scholar, and Accounting Educator (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press). Publishing Limited, pp.205 – 255

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