In the business world, the availability of relevant data and how it is processed into information for a good decision to achieve an organization’s goals is very important. Accounting Information systems(AIS) constitute one of the essential tools an organization can use in that regard. Thus, an Accounting Information system(AIS) is a computer-based approach to collecting data, storing and process it to produce information for decision-makers to plan and implement decisions or prepare reports for stakeholders. Data is usually collected and stored from business activities carried out by a company.
Indeed, the ability of a modern Accounting information system (AIS) to run efficiently also depends on smooth interrelation of its components. These are the IT Infrastructure (such as computers, peripheral devices and communication network circuits), software, data, the people (accountants, management and staff, auditors, regulators) and internal controls. Aside from that, a business must have in place procedures and instructions manual to guide its people in the effective use of the systems after its implementation.
It is very important to establish internal controls to prevent threats to accounting information systems and protect sensitive data. A threat to Accounting information system (AIS) can occur during a data processing phase or through an unauthorized access to create illegal programs, deleting files or corrupt a program’s logic through a virus which in the end could damage a company’s operations, business continuity, competitiveness and reputation. Internal controls include security protocols such as passwords, data encryption or biometric identification. Biometric security protocols involve storing unique human features such as fingerprints, voice and facial recognition.
Accounting Information System (AIS) used be a manual-based system but currently, software development is in vogue and a business can obtain a customized software to meet their unique needs and specifications. An efficient Accounting Information System (AIS) must track all accounting and business activities with the integration of traditional accounting practices and principles with modern information technology resources. An Accounting Information System (AIS) helps different units within a company to work together and must be designed and then implemented appropriately to support all those functions. The most widely adopted accounting information systems have been auditing and financial reporting modules.
Implementing Accounting Information System(AIS)
The implementation process of an Accounting Information System(AIS) is very crucial to help harness its full benefits. In respect of that, the design and the implementation process must pass the gold standard test which will make the system robust on completion. The implementation process must first of all have a plan of your company’s specific user needs and scope of the project. Other steps will include system design and configuration, documentation, data migration, testing and training.
The system design stage usually caters for functional areas of a business, transactions, processes, security, and database or coding structures of the plan. It also involves the installation of a compatible software application, hence, there is the need to ensure hardware and network support a new system. It is equally important to ensure seamless data migration from the existing legacy system to the new one.
System design must also have a documentation regime of the procedures to demonstrate that the end goal for the implementation is achievable. The implementation process is incomplete without the necessary testing and training program for staff and other users to learn how to use the new system. Indeed, testing of the system design and configuration is necessary to ensure hardware and software are fit for purpose and all the processes are well documented. A good Accounting Information System(AIS) project should also include a regular maintenance schedule, time for upgrading components of the hardware system, as well as a plan for the disposal of broken and outdated hardware so that sensitive data is completely and securely destroyed.
It is worthy to note that an investment in Accounting Information System(AIS) is aimed at ensuring easy access or retrieval of data from the computerized system to inform real-time decision-making. It also facilitates time-effectiveness and efficiency by reducing the amount of time involved in recording, classifying, and reporting any financial information while safeguarding the accuracy and relevance of data for reports. The success or otherwise for implementing an Accounting Information System(AIS) can be influenced by the organizational structure and the culture prevailing in a company. Extensive training regimes can orient staff to accept the intended benefits of adopting and using a new system.
Transformation in Accounting Information Systems (AIS)
Accounting Information Systems (AIS) are witnessing significant changes due to rapid technological advancements. Some of the innovative changes include cloud computing, cloud accounting, real-time accounting or mobile accounting with the integration of Artificial Information (AI). Integration has further led to significant improvement in data processing and decision-making. In the face of these advancements, issues relating to data privacy and ethical considerations or human judgments still persist. By carefully addressing these challenges and leveraging the capabilities of Artificial Information (AI), accountants can adapt to the changing landscape, provide value-added services and continue to play a vital role in financial management and reporting.
In closing, advances in information technology and increased use of the internet require that accountants and other related users become more knowledgeable and conversant with the design, operation, and control of accounting information systems. It is, therefore, incumbent upon accountants to embrace and navigate this technological shift to thrive in the evolving digital world. Accountants will need also to embrace technical knowledge by collaborating with IT professionals. That said, the use of AI technologies in effect will increase efficiency, accuracy and productivity in financial reporting to stakeholders. It is on the basis of those benefits that one can strongly assert that the integration of Accounting Information System(AIS) with Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds a great potential for transforming business processes.
Bernard is a Chartered Accountant with over 14 years of professional and industry experience in Financial Services Sector and Management Consultancy. He is the Managing Partner of J.S Morlu (Ghana) an international consulting firm providing Accounting, Tax, Auditing, IT Solutions and Business Advisory Services to both private businesses and government.
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