Accounting Information Systems: Tradition and Future Directions

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DOI: 10.1016/j.protcy.2013.12.060
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This article reflects about current and future role of Accounting Information Systems by analysing the main responsibilities of accountants and financial professionals. While several of these responsibilities are already suitably supported by traditional technology answers, others represent challenges that do still not have appropriate responses and therefore deserve to be the focus of future research. This work foresees future technological answers to Accounting domain challenges, like external and compliance reporting. The identified technologies include web services, mobile devices, cloud computing, environmental scanning, business intelligence, enterprise application integration, business process management, computer assisted auditing tools and techniques and big data.
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Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 546
2212-0173 © 2013 The Authors Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of SCIKA – Association for Promotion and Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge
doi: 10.1016/j.protcy.2013.12.060
CENTERIS 2013 - Conference on ENTE
International Conference on Project MANag
Health and Social Care Info
Accounting Information
Fernando Belf
Polytechnic Institute of Coim
Algoritmi Research Centre
This article reflects about current and future role
responsibilities of accountants and financial profession
supported by traditional technology answers, others repr
therefore deserve to be the focus of future research.
domain challenges, like external and compliance repor
devices, cloud computing, environmental scanning, bu
process management, computer assisted auditing tools an
© 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selecti
Keywords: Accounting, Management Information Systems, Acc
Environmental Scanning, Business Intelligence, Enterprise Appl
Auditing Tools and Techniques
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +351 239 802 000; fax: +351
E-mail address:
prise Information Systems / PRojMAN 2013 -
ment / HCIST 2013 - International Conference on
mation Systems and Technologies
ystems: Tradition and Future
*, António Trigo
ra, ISCAC, Quinta Agrícola, Bencanta,
Coimbra, Portugal
ity of Minho, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
f Accounting Information Systems by analysing the main
ls. While several of these responsibilities are already suitably
sent challenges that do still not have appropriate responses and
his work foresees future technological answers to Accounting
ing. The identified technologies include web services, mobile
siness intelligence, enterprise application integration, business
techniques and big data.
n and/or peer-review under responsibility of
unting Information Systems, Mobile Devices, Cloud Computing,
cation Integration, Business Process Management, Computer Assisted
39 445 445.
Available online at
© 2013 The Authors Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of SCIKA – Association for Promotion and Dissemination of
Scientifi c Knowledge
Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
1. Introduction
An Accounting Information System (AIS) is generally a computer-based method for tracking accounting
activity in conjunction with information technology resources [1]. AIS is responsible for the collection,
storage and processing of financial and accounting data that is used for internal management decision making,
including nonfinancial transactions that directly affect the processing of financial transactions. Typically an
AIS is composed of three major subsystems: (1) Transaction Processing System (TPS) that supports daily
business operations; (2) General Ledger System and Financial Reporting System (GLS/FRS) and (3) the
Management Reporting System (MRS) [2].
TPS is responsible for supporting daily business operations or transactions. These transactions can be
grouped together in three transaction cycles: the revenue cycle, the expenditure cycle and the conversion
cycle. The purpose of the first information systems was to automate business processes, which shows that the
accounting domain was one of the very first to use information systems to support its activities [3]. Indeed the
era of computer accounting launched with the appearance of the first computers, in particular, with the IBM
702 which became available for accounting use in 1953 [4]. Usually seen as a single integrated service, the
GLS/FRS are two closely related systems, with the first one dedicated to summarization of transaction cycle
activity and the second one to the measurement and reporting of the status of financial resources, generally
outputted in the form of financial statements or tax returns to external entities [2]. MRS, usually in the scope
of Management Information Systems (MIS), offers internal management with special purpose financial reports
and information needed for decision-making such as budgets, variance reports, and responsibility reports.
For almost all professionals from the accounting domain, the main idea about the information system of an
organization and particularly an AIS is embraced by the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which
encompasses all the essential functions to support an organization and is implemented in almost all large
organizations [5, 6]. Current literature [7] is moving away from this established view about AIS domain,
considering now a more modular approach to an AIS where new technologies like Business Intelligence (BI)
or Balanced Scorecard (BSC) systems play an increasingly important role [3, 8]. The work presented in this
paper surged from this idea that there is a huge set of new technologies that can complement or integrate
current AIS and its present available facilities.
This paper presents a reflection, based on a literature review on the trends, challenges and answers of the
AIS domain. It tries to uncover the new challenges facing the Accounting discipline and identifies some of the
potential technology answers to those challenges. This paper is organized as follows. The second section
presents the current tendencies and challenges facing the Accounting domain. The third section presents the
answers to those tendencies and challenges. Conclusions and future work are presented in the final section.
2. Accountancy tendencies and challenges
In June 2010, a large online survey was conducted by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
(CIMA) and by the UK´s University of Bath to 5,426 senior finance and senior non-finance professionals
around the World [9]. The respondents of this study were a wide range of financial professionals, from all
regions of the world, with responsibilities split into six categories: accounting operations, which includes
transaction processing, accounts payable and receivable, and internal financial reports; external reporting,
which includes statutory reporting, corporate finance, treasury and financial risk, and regulation, including
internal audits, compliance with regulatory requirements, and taxes; preparing and interpreting management
accounting information, such as forecasting, budgeting, costing and reporting on variances, as well as cash
flow management; management support, which includes identifying and analysing strategic options, decision
support, designing and tracking key personnel indicators, benchmarking, strategic management accounting,
538 Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
and business risk management; developing, implementing and maintaining Management Information
Systems; and other like staff management, training, administration, and other miscellaneous activities.
CIMA study showed that the latest most important trend in accounting professionals is the shift of
accountants’ responsibilities from traditional accounting operations to strategic management guidance and
support. This trend, a consequence of the 2008 financial crisis, represents an increase of the value added to the
organization and the contribution performed by accountants. Nowadays, major corporations worldwide need
professionals who understand risk management, cash flow, financial instruments and other complex functions
that can offer strategic guidance to top executives [9]. The results also underscored the need for financial
professionals remain true to the traditional duties of accounting operations.
Reporting is probably the activity most frequently performed by accountants. Just as a curiosity, the word
“reporting” appears 357 times in the Accounting Information Systems book of James Hall [2]. Accountants'
need to be able to produce reports in real time and interactively (allowing them to choose what to put in the
reports, perform analysis and scenario creation) without the intervention of the Information Technology team.
Furthermore, with the recent international financial crisis, the usage of AIS by external stakeholders (external
reporting) is becoming more important and specially, much more critical [9].
One activity that is usually performed by accountants is Auditing, usually divided in two major groups:
Internal and External (or Independent) Auditing. Internal auditing covers a wide range of activities on behalf
of the organization, including conducting financial statement audits, examining an operation’s compliance
with organizational policies, reviewing the organization’s compliance with legal obligations, evaluating
operational efficiency, detecting and pursuing fraud within the firm, among others [2]. Internal auditors need
to support their activities with the use of Information Technology (IT) like Workflow Management Systems
[10]. External auditors’ activities are similar to those performed by the internal auditors but more focused on
the specific laws or rules on the financial statements of an organization and not on operational matters [11].
External auditors represent third-party outsiders, whereas internal auditors serve the board of the organization
[2, 11]. Audit firms are continually looking for ways to increase efficiency by performing focused audit
procedures and are increasingly relying on effective internal audit departments and controls. Engagement
teams are required to participate in brainstorming meetings to identify risks resulting from error or fraud,
along with ways to address these risks. As a result, audit firms are increasingly turning to Computer Assisted
Auditing Tools and Techniques (CAATTs) [12].
If on one hand it seems obvious that the new accountants’ responsibilities like management support
derived from the 2008 financial crisis require appropriate technological responses. On the other hand, some of
the traditional accountants’ responsibilities continue to present challenges and should not be neglected in a
work that seeks to be a thinking on the answers that technologies can give to the needs of the Accounting
domain. Thus, based on the literature review conducted, the most important concerns for accounting are [2-4,
12-16]: accounting operations (transaction processing, accounts payable and receivable, internal financial
reporting), external reporting (statutory reporting, corporate finance, treasury and financial risk, and
regulation, including internal audits, compliance with regulatory requirements and taxes), management
accounting (forecasting, budgeting, costing and reporting on variances (cost control, detailed reports about
performance against budget) as well as cash flow management), management support (which includes
identifying and analysing strategic options, decision support, designing and tracking key personnel indicators,
benchmarking, strategic management accounting, and business risk management), staff management, training,
scrutiny of capital projects, emphasis on customers and products, reports about debtor and creditor ageing,
real time reporting, interactive reporting, auditing, internal controls implementation, risk management, error
or fraud detection, accountability, among others. Several of these accounting concerns already benefit from
traditional technology answers, most of them provided by ERP systems.
The focus of the present work is on the concerns that represent challenges that still do not have appropriate
Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
technological responses and therefore deserve to be the focus of future research like, external and compliance
reporting, strategic analysis, benchmarking, forecasting, internal auditing, internal controls, risk management,
access and report nonfinancial data, analyse historical data, provide tailor-made and interactive reporting.
3. Technology answers
The alignment of Business and IT is still an important concern of both business and technological
managers. Winning organizations depend on the alignment of these two worlds among its multifaceted
dimensions (communications, competency/value measurement, governance, partnership, technological scope
or skills) [17]. Due to its difficulty and complexity, this task certainly needs fresh perspectives to accomplish
it, for instance, valuing workforce incentives [18, 19] or the role of knowledge management in this alignment
[20]. Information technology, in particular its' support to AIS, has proven to have a positive impact on
companies’ performance and productivity [21]. Accordingly to Ismail and King the investment in AIS by
Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), expands the scope of action, saves time in trips to and dealings with
banks, the central administration, etc., reducing company’s costs and increasing company’s productivity (if
the innovations are properly used) [22].
Fig. 1 presents the most important current tendencies and challenges around accountancy and finance,
respectively linked with some technological approaches that should provide adequate answers to those
challenges. Although other relations exist, the represented lines symbolize only the most important ones.
Fig. 1. Accounting challenges and its most important information technology answers.
540 Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
Next, it is briefly explained how each IT approach responds to each accounting challenge.
3.1. Web Services & Internet of Services
Terms like Service, e-Service and Web Service are usually used to identify an autonomous software
component that is uniquely identified by a uniform resource identifier (URI), accessed by standard Internet
protocols such as XML, SOAP, or HTTP [23]. Web Services correspond to communication through the
Internet. It facilitates Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), meaning integration among applications or
interoperability among the information which circulates in an organization, like electronic commerce with
clients and suppliers. Today, these services allow integration between different systems like AIS, operational
systems and web applications. Definitively, they enhance external reporting and real time reporting, normally
increasing information availability to a wider range of stakeholders, with almost a fulltime accessibility.
It is expectable that financial accounting information enhances economic performance by reducing adverse
selection and liquidity risk [24]. Investors and creditors accessing to high-quality financial accounting
information are more informed stakeholders and, consequently, have lower risk of loss or liquidity. Publicly
traded organizations usually need to use online reporting of financial data. Besides this, organizations also use
their Web sites to place their financial statements and other financial reports [25]. Significant part of this
effort of external reporting is related with the organizational compliance. Some of these web services should
allow external entities to make sure that the company is following all the necessary rules and regulations.
Besides the use of Web as a static container of financial information, there is a continued growth of web-
based and web-enabled accounting software services. These offers include web services and web support
around accounting [26]. The vision of the Internet of Services (IoS) describes an infrastructure that uses
the Internet as a medium for offering and selling services which become tradable goods [23]. Among
other services, online invoicing and online billing are frequently used by significant number of organizations,
from small to big ones. Usually, these services are supported with payment processors like PayPal,, 2CheckOut or Linkpoint. These gateways ensure that the transactions are secure, fast and
reliable, providing the necessary infrastructure and respective security.
Other new services can be designed to support accounting and finance, like helping to provide strategic
guidance, looking at what is happening outside, forecasting (now and future) or benchmarking (comparing
one's business processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices from other industries).
3.2. Mobile devices
The mobile revolution, provided via wireless technologies, brings impressive changes to civilization. It
influences many aspects on the way business is conducted, providing significant data in real time and
anywhere to help decision makers, influencing communications between businesses and their customers, and
transforming the way we live our lives. Yet, the mobile services also face challenges which include business
strategies, investment risk, limitations in mobile devices, networking problems, infrastructure constraints,
security concerns, and user distrust in mobile applications [27].
According to a survey conducted by Oracle to more than 3,000 mobile phone users around the world,
although consumers prefer to purchase in store, they use mobile and other channels to support shopping
experiences. Also, 24% of mobile users have read customer reviews on their mobile phone and 55% said they
use or would like to use banking/finance applications on their mobile phone and tablet computer [28]. This
tendency reveals the importance of the m-commerce to organizations, and so, the importance of integrating
these systems and their performance data with the AIS. It also highlights the importance of organizations
using mobile channels to make possible real-time reporting, supporting communication with their current and
Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
potential investors, creditors, fiscal or regulatory authority, increasing the information availability to a wider
range of stakeholders and thus the attraction in the organization. Today, there are business intelligence (BI)
solutions, like the Mobile-BI product from MicroStrategy, which offers business analytics and reports on
mobile phones and tablets, allowing executives to follow their company performance from the mobile [29].
3.3. Cloud Computing
With the spread of web-based systems, it is more common to have web-based accounting software,
reducing of solely on-premise or in-house accounting software. The technological answer may range between
an hosted solution, a mixed online and on-premise solution or an wholly online accounting software, with a
solution based on the cloud , which means an architecture based on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), also known
as Cloud Computing [26]. Contrary to an hosted application, running on an off-premises server, but not
necessarily managed by the application provider, SaaS customer is running the same instance of the
accounting information system without, of course, sacrifice the customizability (like the branding).
Today, an application can run much more instances at the same time, in a common environment, due to
new software design and delivery models. McKinsey 2006 survey of senior IT executives pointed to an
impressive jump in the number of companies considering SaaS applications during 2007. SaaS offers some
advantages, as more frequent and probably less troubling upgrades, a lower cost of ownership, and a higher
level of service from vendors (proportional to subscription) [30]. With this kind of solution, different sort of
stakeholders can access to solid accounting and finance management functionalities with real time reporting
from anywhere there's an internet connection. Examples of these products are NetSuite Financials, Intacct
Financials and Accounting System, SAP ERP Financials, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Epicor Financial
Management or SAGE. Like in-house accounting systems, the web-based accounting information solutions
may vary according to the components they offer. Most important components are core accounting, project
accounting, fund accounting, inventory management, billing & invoicing, work order management, budgeting
and forecasting, fixed asset accounting, financial reporting, payroll management or human resources.
3.4. Environmental scanning
Environmental scanning can be defined as the acquisition and use of information about events, trends, and
relationships in an organization's external environment, the knowledge of which would assist management in
planning the organization's future course of action [29]. Organization still neglect external information. Yet, it
remains crucial to take strategic decisions. So, it is important to develop systems which can look for external
information that can be used to help organization. For instance, historical costs has usefulness, but they are
insufficient for the evaluation of business decisions. The centre of attention of conventional accounting on the
stewardship function of accounting is important but should not be its only focus [30]. Another cost
perspective is the current cost. It corresponds to the price that must be paid for an asset or its use at the date of
the balance sheet or the date of the use. Some scholars are inclined to combine historical and current methods.
Although hard to implement, current cost accounting gains with environmental scanning.
The environmental scanning helps to build a more complete view. Its capabilities support strategic analysis
process by enriching the knowledge about important external aspects. It also allows benchmarking by gaining
more understanding about the market and competitors. Moreover, some external information, like current or
future prices of products or interest rates, may help to predict tendencies or identify and manage some risks.
542 Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
3.5. Business Intelligence
Strategic management provides overall direction to the enterprise. Yet, in order to be able to support and
validate their mission, vision and objectives, organizations need to evaluate the overall performance of the
business and its progress towards objectives. By handling large amounts of information, the BI helps to
identify and develop new opportunities. Also, BI helps organizations not only at a strategic level, but also at a
tactical and operational level, providing useful insights which help not only top decisions-makers but also
middle managers, offering tailor-made dashboards. BI often engages processes like data mining, process
mining, statistical analysis, predictive analytics or predictive modeling, which can support some management
accounting concerns like forecasting, or some management support concerns, like identifying and analyzing
strategic options, decision support, strategic management accounting or business risk management.
The last Computerworld´s survey about salaries showed that future recruitment (corresponding to the next
12 months) will give priority not only to traditional IT skills like application development or help desk
support, but also to some newer skills, such as business intelligence, cloud computing and mobile
development [31]. This survey also evidenced that business intelligence analyst was the job title with the
highest increase in total compensation comparing to 2012 report. According to Job hunters, companies are
seeking IT professionals "who can speak tech and business with equal ease".
Recently, a new term has emerged: accounting intelligence (AI). The accounting intelligence is a specialist
type of business intelligence, an expression meaning a set of technologies used to extract, analyse and present
information from accounting and ERP applications. One important difference between classical BI solutions
and AI is in the way information is extracted. At AI, information is directly extracted from the ERP at the
time that a query is run. On the contrary, classical BI solutions extract information through a data warehouse
or OLAP cube. SAGE offers an interesting solution called Sage Simply Accounting Intelligence which link
directly to Sage Simply Accounting system, offering real-time information [32].
3.6. Enterprise Architecture & Enterprise Application Integration
The provision of an holistic view of the enterprise is the most important characteristic of the enterprise
architecture. This higher systems integration brings together information from formerly unrelated domains
[33]. Among others aspects, an enterprise architecture should provide an integration framework that sits above
the individual architectures and the guidelines to define and establish interoperability requirements [34].
Usually, the design of an enterprise architecture strongly depends on the integration of various applications so
that they may share information and processes freely. This is usually called by the buzzword Enterprise
Application Integration (EAI) [35]. Interoperability characteristics, that is to say, "the ability to share
information and services", allows accounting information systems be more integrated or embedded with other
systems, and consequently, be more effective. The eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)
contributes to that purpose. XBRL, a XML-based language, is a freely available and global standard for
exchanging business information, allowing the expression commonly required in business reporting.
An integrated and multifaceted architecture enables some of the presented accounting challenges like
strategic analysis, benchmarking, forecasting, internal auditing, internal controls, risk management, real time
reporting and the combination of more non-financial data. For example, most organizations comprise
financial reporting as a batch process, due to its periodic nature. However, numerous organizations have now
real-time updating of general ledger (GL) and financial reporting system (FRS) producing financial
statements in the nick of time [23]. Real time reporting capability of systems depends on the level of its
integration. Theoretically, the more applications are integrated, faster the reporting can be done.
Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
ERP systems usually plays the higher attempt to integrate. Yet, ERP do not support significatively the
reporting and analysis, budgeting, non-financial, external and ad-hoc management accounting, and allocation
of costs. Strategic enterprise management (SEM) systems seems to better support management accounting,
namely changes among those practices. ERP and SEM systems are complementary. ERP systems appear to be
the primary enablers of change in data collection and organizational breadth of management accounting,
while SEM systems seem to be the primary enablers of change in reporting and analysis, budgeting, non-
financial, external and ad hoc management accounting, and allocation of costs [5]. Concerning management
accounting tasks, although ERP and SEM systems are distinct, it is crucial strengthen the way which led
organizations to higher levels of information integration not only among those two systems but also with
others. An important attempt to have a global view is the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) system.
CPM, or business performance management or enterprise performance management (EPM), is the area of
business intelligence (BI) involved with monitoring and managing an organization's performance, according
to key performance indicators (KPIs) like revenue, return on investment (ROI), overhead or operational costs.
A higher integration enhances reporting with varied types of data, powering new functions and capabilities.
The holistic view provided by EAI and enterprise architecture also allows a better strategic analysis.
3.7. Business Process Management
Significant thematic initiatives, like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource
Planning (ERP), Six Sigma, and more recently Business Process Management (BPM) refer process has an
important and central concept. Research about ERP critical factors of success and benefits, evidence that,
from a business perspective, the system deployment stage ‘includes the definition of the documentation,
analysis, improvement, control and redesign / reengineering opportunities of all the most critical processes
and core activities’ [36]. Processes is a common factor along all organizations. Processes are ‘the way things
get done’ [37]. Some authors stresses the importance of processes calling them ‘strategic assets’. For example,
Kaplan and Norton refer a “Strategy Map”, with intangible assets which influence company’s performance by
enhancing the internal processes most critical in creating value for customers and shareholders [38].
Good decisions must have information as complete as possible. Preferably, essential pieces of information
should be included to enrich the reporting, including different sort of data, like specific performance data
coming from workflow of all main processes [23]. The dematerialization of processes allows that BPM better
support the delivery of non-financial data to accounting information systems. Whether at an operational level,
or at strategic level, the management of processes also administrates indicators of performance and of other
types. Mature process applications fully explicit processes, with suppliers and customers being seen as part of
the organization [39]. Material, human and other production costs or performance indicators of the processes
can be managed at a lower or at a higher level. BPM, with its workflow functionality accordingly integrated
within AIS, facilitates the analytic accounting and real time reporting because it allows a detailed analysis of
processes and so, helps the direct allocation of costs and revenues to specific cost or revenue centre.
3.8. Computer Assisted Auditing Tools and Techniques (CAATTs)
Auditors need Computer Assisted Audit Tools and Techniques (CAATT) to enhance capabilities and
productivity. Many such tools and techniques can be implemented at minimal cost and relative ease, ranging
from maximized use of standard office suite software to Audit Command Language (ACL) and Interactive
Data Extraction and Analysis (IDEA) for the extraction and analysis of data [40]. These tools can be used to
perform a wide range of analytical procedures on various financial data including general ledger entries,
payroll and accounts payable data and trial balance calculations to flag outliers, miscalculations, or suspicious
544 Fernando Belfo and António Trigo / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 536 – 546
entries that might indicate the presence of fraud or misstatement [41]. These tools allow the implementation
of continuous auditing concept, which allows continuous risk assessment, trough audit activities that identify
and evaluate companywide risk levels by examining trends in the data-driven risk indicators within a single
process or system, comparing to their past performance and other business systems; and continuous control
assessment that identify whether key controls are working properly [40].
3.9. Big Data
Big companies always generate large amount of data. Corporate business manage several businesses.
Accounting and financial information from these different businesses across the world join large non-financial
data. Yet, today, businesses from all dimensions tend to produce much more data than they created in the past.
According to Phil Ostwalt, a partner in KPMG, as more and more business activities are captured
electronically, it is important to ensure that companies have the correct technology and resources to manage
data analytics and big data challenges inherent in all compliance arenas [40]. Internal auditing, internal
controls and risk management are areas where the big data may represent an important answer.
This great amount of data brings new and specific unfamiliar challenges to most developers. Big data
techniques are important to answer these challenges. The big data systems paradigm is supported by scale,
parallelization, and agility, using numerous machines working in parallel to store and process data.
4. Conclusions and future work
As shown in this paper this work identifies many of the concerns and challenges of the Accounting domain
to which the response from the current technology is still deficient. Technology answers identified and
characterized in this work can also be viewed as the future directions of research in the domain of AIS.
Although AIS research undoubtedly includes ERP systems, other emerging systems such as the ones
identified in this work are also important [3]. Unlike ERP systems, these new systems are not so thoroughly
studied in the AIS domain, so more research is needed to discover new potentialities and/or benefits that these
systems can bring to the organization's management and how they impact the role of the accounting function.
The authors developed this work as the cornerstone for future research in the area of Accounting
Information Systems. The vast directions indicated in Figure 1 of this paper, which presents the most
important relations between the challenges and technological responses, are pointing out the way for future
research in order to improve the alignment between technology and organization, in this particular case the
support of management information systems to accounting and management.
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[41] A. I. o. C. P. A. AICPA. (2013, Frequently Asked Questions: Computer Assisted Auditing Tools and Techniques (CAATTs)
  • ... CIMA study presented the trend in accounting professionals referring to the shifting in accountants' responsibilities from traditional accounting operations to strategic management guidance and support. (Belfo and Trigo, 2013) Strategic means in the sense of ability to guide and support management to take necessary action to achieve the main goal, given scarcity of resources, or to get benefit of competitive advantage over adversaries given a set of options. (Iqbal, 2013b) The economists wrote that the market demands today's accountants evolve into providers of insight on finance, technology and strategy. ...
  • ... The final section will discuss the empirical findings in relation to the extant literature and address the issues that emerged in the Jordanian context. Over the last two decades, there has been growing attention in the literature of MA regarding the relationship between ERP systems and MA (Booth et al., 2000;Granlund and Malmi, 2002;Caglio, 2003;Scapens and Jazayeri, 2003;Spathis and Ananiadis, 2005;Spathis, 2006;Sutton, 2006;Berry et al., 2009;Granlund, 2007;Kallunki et al., 2011;Belfo and Trigo, 2013;Kanellou and Spathis, 2013;Teittinen et al., 2013;Ruivo et al., 2014;Nwankpa, 2015;Kamal and Mouakket, 2016), as ERP systems have been implemented in companies of all sizes as an integrated system for streamlining business processes and for facilitating the flow of data and information across the value chain operation (Wier et al., 2007). This section will focus on the research paradigms, methods, theories employed and the main findings reported by prior studies. ...
  • ... Dessa forma, as informações devem refletir todas as transações ocorridas nas empresas, não deixando dúvidas quanto aos resultados obtidos, possibilitando o acompanhamento da situação financeira da empresa e atuar na altura pertinente, no sentido de corrigir possíveis erros.".A definição de um modelo de Reporting possibilita a identificação de métricas, isto é, indicadores de performance, em inglês, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), com os quais é exequível monitorizar, controlar e avaliar a evolução da empresa face aos objetivos definidos.A utilização dos KPI permite avaliar e medir os fatores críticos para o sucesso da empresa, isto é, disponibilizam a informação necessária de cada processo, proporcionam a exatidão na tomada de decisão, originam resultados mais rápidos e de fácil compreensão. A análise de indicadores envolve métodos, cálculos e interpretações de indicadores financeiros importantes que servem para compreender, analisar e monitorar a performance da entidade.O Reporting é uma área que recebe cada vez mais atenção por parte de quem desenvolve os sistemas de informação de suporte, como os ERP, procurando-se dar aos utilizadores a possibilidade de extrair do sistema relatórios à medida, interativos e em tempo real, que permitam responder às exigências de Reporting interno e externo das empresas(Belfo e Trigo, 2013;Trigo, Belfo e Estébanez, 2014).Visto que,Alzoubi (2011) argumenta que a integração dos sistemas de informação contabilísticos juntamente com o ERP melhora a qualidade da informação e o controlo interno nas empresas, pois permite um aumento da relevância da informação contabilística e a redução do grau de incerteza na tomada de decisão. Também facilita os processos de comparação de demonstrações financeiras na empresa ao longo do tempo, contribuindo obter uma posição financeira de forma acessível e clara, evidenciada na altura certa. ...
    Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    É unânime o impacto das tecnologias e sistemas da informação na vida das organizações, não existindo praticamente nenhuma organização que não as utilize. Um exemplo são os sistemas ERP, tipicamente constituídos por uma base de dados central e módulos aplicacionais, como os módulos de "Contabilidade e Finanças" e de "Reporting", de suporte ao Controlo de Gestão. Este artigo apresenta evidências desta realidade a partir de um estudo de caso, da utilização de um sistema ERP no suporte ao Controlo de Gestão, no departamento financeiro de suporte às startups do grupo Critical Software. Como resultados verifica-se que o sistema ERP suporta os principais processos das startups, tais como, compras, vendas e orçamentação, tanto ao nível do registo, como ao nível da obtenção de indicadores, tais como, quota de mercado, volume de negócios, Economic Value Added, Return On Investment e Cost Performance Index, permitindo o acompanhamento da avaliação e desempenho das startups.
  • ... Among the types of CAATTs used by auditors are electronic working paper, information retrieval and analysis, fraud detection, network security, electronic commerce and internet security, continuous monitoring, audit reporting, a database of audit history, computer-based training, and time tracking (Grand, 2001). CAATTs include Generalized Audit Software (GAS), Audit Command Language (ACL), Interactive Data Extraction and Analysis (IDEA), Utility Software, and many others (Karkar, 2002;Mahzan & Lymer, 2009;Belfo & Trigo, 2013;Mahzan & Lymer, 2014). ...
    Full-text available
    Computer Assisted Audit Tools and Techniques (CAATTs) are not new for auditors, and it needs to be adopted to gain the audit efficiency and effectiveness especially in a current era of technology. This paper examined the implementation of CAATTs by internal auditors in the public sector. Accordingly, this research reports the results from 12 interviews made with internal audit departments in public sector in both federal and state level in Malaysia. This research found that the implementation of CAATTs by internal auditors in public sector is still low due to lack of expertise, high implementation and maintenance cost, limited access of auditee's data, and most of them prefer to conduct the audit manually. Furthermore, it is not mandatory for them to use CAATTs. The evidence is a contrast with the encouragement made by the government to improve the IT usage in the public sector. The results implied that training for future auditors in CAATTs to ensure the successful implementation is crucial. For CAATTs to be a success, the head of internal audit also must have the awareness about the importance of CAATTs as well as enforcement of its implementation.
  • ... As accountants operate in such complex environments, the continuity of their business activities depends on adapting themselves to the changes in the business environment in which they are. For instance, today, with the advent of web services, corporate shareholders also can have full-time access to corporate financial reports (Belfo & Trigo, 2013). In such a situation, investors will receive more quality and timely financial information which can lead to lower liquidity risk (Bushman & Smith, 2003). ...
    Full-text available
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate factors affecting the students’ learning of the concepts of the accounting information systems (AIS) in Iran. Design/methodology/approach The statistical population of the study is the accounting and auditing students (Master’s degree) who have the lesson of AIS at state and private universities, as well as the institutes of higher education in 2017. The Likert scale has been used to design questionnaires. Further, the data were analyzed using structural equation modeling with the partial least squares technique. Findings Overall, after analyzing and comparing the results of the hypotheses, it was found that, respectively, “assistance to students,” “the power of critical thinking,” “academic professors skills,” “kind of transition to university,” “AIS course structure,” “proper timing of AIS presentation,“ “presentation of a prerequisite course” and finally, “appreciation of AIS” have the greatest impact on the level of student learning in AIS lesson. The results of this paper showed that “teaching style” and “having the previous background of the information system concepts” do not have a statistically significant effect on students’ general learning. Originality/value Without any overstatement, this paper will warn educational authorities in emerging countries that lack of attention to factors affecting university students’ learning can have serious consequences for the market of a country. Other than that, this paper will make university professors aware of the effects of effective methods for better student learning in the field of information technology, so that they can make a better assessment of the importance of AIS course.
  • ... Therefore, dissatisfaction can be used as an indicator of system ineffectiveness. Besides, current technology is said to be inefficient in coping with challenges in the accounting field (Belfo & Trigo, 2013); witness cases of fraud, corruption and the manipulation of accounting data which still occur today. ...
    Full-text available
    This paper presents preliminary work towards understanding the use of the Accounting Information System (AIS) in the Malaysian Federal Government setting, by investigating AIS users' perceptions of the system's effectiveness. Recently, the Government upgraded its AIS to cater for the function of accruals accounting treatment, as well as to improve financial reporting practice. The advancement of the system entailed a huge investment in both money and human capital preparation. As such, the installed system is expected to be effective in order to make the investment worthwhile. However, past literature has shown the measurement of system effectiveness to be rather ambiguous and inconsistent due to variations in the definition of system effectiveness. This has caused difficulties for both researchers and practitioners, in terms of making comparisons between studies to objectively assess AIS effectiveness. Therefore, this study is significant, in that it presents qualitative evidence from unstructured preliminary fieldwork, combining both group discussion and observational approaches. This preliminary study: (i) provides insight into the history of AIS enhancement and AIS current practice in the Malaysian Federal Government; (ii) provides an understanding of AIS users' perceptions of AIS effectiveness; and (iii) uncovers nine criteria for an effective system. ABSTRAK Makalah ini membentangkan permulaan kerja ke arah memahami penggunaan Sistem Maklumat Perakaunan (AIS) dalam persekitaran Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia, dengan menyiasat persepsi pengguna AIS tentang keberkesanan sistem. Baru-baru ini, Kerajaan menaik taraf AIS untuk memenuhi fungsi perakaunan akruan, serta untuk meningkatkan amalan pelaporan kewangan. Kemajuan sistem ini melibatkan pelaburan besar dalam penyediaan modal wang dan insan. Oleh itu, sistem yang dipasang dijangka berkesan untuk menjadikan pelaburan itu berbaloi. Walau bagaimanapun, literatur masa lalu telah menunjukkan pengukuran keberkesanan sistem menjadi agak kabur dan tidak konsisten kerana variasi dalam definisi keberkesanan sistem. Ini telah menyebabkan kesukaran untuk kedua-dua penyelidik dan pengamal, dari segi membuat perbandingan antara kajian secara objektif menilai keberkesanan AIS. Oleh itu, kajian ini adalah penting, kerana ia membentangkan bukti kualitatif dari kerja lapangan awal yang tidak berstruktur, menggabungkan kedua-dua perbincangan kumpulan dan pendekatan pemerhatian. Kajian awal ini: (i) memberikan wawasan tentang sejarah penambahbaikan AIS dan amalan semasa AIS dalam 49 Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia; (ii) memberi kefahaman tentang persepsi pengguna AIS tentang keberkesanan AIS; dan (iii) menyelongkar sembilan kriteria untuk sistem yang berkesan. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
  • ... Based on our prelimiary literature review of the state of the art, see for example (Taipaleenmäki and Ikäheimo, 2013;Sledgianowski et al., 2017;Kokina and Davenport, 2017;Janvrin and Weidenmier Watson, 2017;Güney, 2014;Davenport and Kirby, 2016;Belfo and Trigo, 2013;Crookes and Conway, 2018;He, 2018;Huang et al., 2018;Robson and Bottausci, 2018), and the derived utopian scenario we now propose an early framework (see figure 1) of digital accounting and subsequently outline its main defining characteristics. Level 0 (Software Assisted Accounting): In this basic level accountants are assisted in their traditional roles by standard functions of silo-based software applications. ...
  • ... The major motivation for the worldwide adoption of cloud accounting is the economic benefit that cuts expenses using an external data centre where these applications are stored makes the purchase of additional hardware and software no longer necessary (Arsenie-Samoil, 2011;Gangwar, Date, & Ramaswamy, 2015;Tarmidi, Rasid, Alrazi, & Roni, 2014). By having cloud accounting, companies especially SMEs could save the cost with regard to maintenance cost as well as lack of additional cost (Belfo & Trigo, 2013;Brandas et al., 2015;B. S. Ionescu & Prichici, 2013). ...
    Full-text available
    This study explores the underlying factors among SMEs that explain their intentions to use cloud accounting system in Malaysia. This study is motivated by the fact that SMEs are considered as significant economic players and an influential source of national and local economic growth. However, looking at high failure rate for Malaysian SMEs, more research should concern on supporting their business operation especially with regard to accounting or financial management. Based on the literature on this field as well as the concept in Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) this study establishes a conceptual model that incorporate additional perceived security to the original four explanatory variables of UTAUT: performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating condition. Hence, this paper proposes a conceptual framework of a modified UTAUT model with factors towards user intention to use cloud accounting system in Malaysia.
  • Research
    Full-text available
    تمثل الهدف الرئيس للبحث في دراسة وتحليل تقنيات الحوسبة السحابية كأحد ابتكارات تكنولوجيا المعلومات، وتحديد متطلبات تفعيلها ودورها في تحسين جودة التقارير المالية من خلال تعزيز الخصائص النوعية التي أقرتها معايير التقارير المالية الدولية IFRS، مع بيان أهم تحديات هذه التقنية ومخاطر تطبيقها وانعكاساتها على المشروعات الصغيرة والمتوسطة بالبيئة المصرية. وقد خلص الباحث إلى العديد من النتائج أهمها: مساهمة تطبيق تقنيات الحوسبة السحابية بمؤسسات الأعمال في تفعيل الالتزام بمتطلبات معايير التقارير المالية الدولية IFRS من حيث توافر الخصائص النوعية للمعلومات والتي تتعلق بالدقة والموثوقية والملاءمة والتوقيت المناسب، والقابلية للمقارنة. فضلاً عن دورها الفعال في تعزيز عمليات التحول من التقارير الدورية إلى تقارير الوقت الحقيقي/الفعلي لترشيد القرارات الادارية والاستثمارية، وأخيراً تزايد أهمية تطبيق تقنيات الحوسبة السحابية بالمشروعات الصغيرة والمتوسطة التي تواجه قيود وتحديات كبيرة من حيث نقص الموارد والامكانيات المالية والمادية لتصميم وتشغيل وصيانة النظم المحاسبية الالكترونية، والتي تم تحطيمها في ظل تطبيق هذه التقنيات المبتكرة.
  • Chapter
    In this chapter, we provide a broad overview of accounting history commencing from 8000 BC, when simple tokens recorded evidence on transactions, through the ancient civilizations, where clay and papyrus were used, to the invention of the first printing press in the fifteenth century to modern times. We focus on how accounting philosophy developed to take into account legal, competitive, and especially technological changes in the environment. From the development of the Abacus in around 3000 BC to present day sophisticated accounting software, we discuss how accounting has changed and adapted to environmental needs.
  • Book
    An enterprise architecture tries to describe and control an organisation's structure, processes, applications, systems and techniques in an integrated way. The unambiguous specification and description of components and their relationships in such architecture requires a coherent architecture modelling language. Lankhorst and his co-authors present such an enterprise modelling language that captures the complexity of architectural domains and their relations and allows the construction of integrated enterprise architecture models. They provide architects with concrete instruments that improve their architectural practice. As this is not enough, they additionally present techniques and heuristics for communicating with all relevant stakeholders about these architectures. Since an architecture model is useful not only for providing insight into the current or future situation but can also be used to evaluate the transition from 'as-is' to 'to-be', the authors also describe analysis methods for assessing both the qualitative impact of changes to an architecture and the quantitative aspects of architectures, such as performance and cost issues. The modelling language and the other techniques presented have been proven in practice in many real-life case studies. So this book is an ideal companion for enterprise IT or business architects in industry as well as for computer or management science students studying the field of enterprise architecture.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This research study is aimed, based on empirical evidence, at measuring the relationship between the use of the Accounting Information Systems (AIS) by the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Spain, and firms' improved performance indicators and productivity. This empirical study is based on a survey carried out among small and medium-sized firms to ascertain the extent to which development and implementation of accounting information systems had taken place, and subsequently an analysis was made as to how much this introduction may impact on improvement in outcome indicators and productivity. As interesting results we have found that there is a positive relationship among the SMEs that use AIS for fiscal and bank management and better performance measures. This research provides value added in accounting literature given the scarcity of works dealing with the relationship between the application and use of AIS and performance and productivity indicators in SMEs in Spain.
  • Article
    ERP systems are typically the largest, most complex, and most demanding information systems implemented by firms, representing a major departure from the individual and departmental information systems prevalent in the past. Firms and individuals are extensively impacted, and many problematic issues remain to be researched. ERP and related integrated technologies are a transformative force on the accounting profession. As the nature of business evolves, accounting expertise is being called on to make broader contributions such as reporting on nonfinancial measures, auditing information systems, implementing management controls within information systems, and providing management consulting services. This review of ERP research is drawn from an extensive examination of the breadth of ERP-related literature without constraints as to a narrow timeframe or limited journal list, although particular attention is directed to the leading journals in information systems and accounting information systems. Early research consisted of descriptive studies of firms implementing ERP systems. Then researchers started to address other research questions about the factors that lead to successful implementations: the need for change management and expanded forms of user education, whether the financial benefit outweighed the cost, and whether the issues are different depending on organizational type and cultural factors. This research encouraged the development of several major ERP research areas: (1) critical success factors, (2) the organizational impact, and (3) the economic impact of ERP systems. We use this taxonomy to establish (1) what we know, (2) what we need, and (3) where we are going in ERP research. The objective of this review isto synthesize the extant ERP research reported without regard to publication domain and make this readily available to accounting researchers. We organize key ERP research by topics of interest in accounting, and map ERP topics onto existing accounting information systems research areas. An emphasis is placed on topics important to accounting, including (but not limited to): the risk management and auditing of ERP systems, regulatory issues, the internal and external economic impacts of ERP systems, extensions needed in ERP systems for XBRL, for interorganizational support, and for the design of management control systems.
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    Information Systems (IS) and Technologies assume a wide variety of roles within companies, ranging from operational to strategic support of the company. This fact puts pressure on managers, who are required to manage these investments properly. This chapter presents a study conducted with several Chief Information Officers from large Iberian companies with the purpose of identifying and characterizing the roles played by IS and the motivations currently behind their adoption. The findings of this study reveal the reasons why IS and technologies are being adopted by Iberian companies are evolving and that, while the adoption of certain types of systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning systems is now consolidated, the adoption of other systems like Business Intelligence is expected to increase significantly in the near future.
  • Book
    An enterprise architecture tries to describe and control an organisation's structure, processes, applications, systems and techniques in an integrated way. The unambiguous specification and description of components and their relationships in such architecture requires a coherent architecture modelling language. Lankhorst and his co-authors present such an enterprise modelling language that captures the complexity of architectural domains and their relations and allows the construction of integrated enterprise architecture models. They provide architects with concrete instruments that improve their architectural practice. As this is not enough, they additionally present techniques and heuristics for communicating with all relevant stakeholders about these architectures. Since an architecture model is useful not only for providing insight into the current or future situation but can also be used to evaluate the transition from 'as-is' to 'to-be', the authors also describe analysis methods for assessing both the qualitative impact of changes to an architecture and the quantitative aspects of architectures, such as performance and cost issues. The modelling language and the other techniques presented have been proven in practice in many real-life case studies. So this book is an ideal companion for enterprise IT or business architects in industry as well as for computer or management science students studying the field of enterprise architecture.
  • Article
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  • Article
    Full-text available
    Organizations may have much to gain in attracting and retaining IT professionals than can help to reduce costs and improve the productivity of the business. That is even more crucial for IT companies that rely upon talented IT professionals to add value in their core business processes and not just to support them. Thus we need to better understand what motivates and keeps satisfied an IT workforce. As a successful IT company, Google may be a good example to look at adequate incentive policies for IT professionals. Using a netnographic approach, this study examined a blog discussion with the participation of past and present Google employees. The collected data was analyzed under a total rewards model, a framework from WorldatWork to encompass a diversity of topics in building a reward strategy. One of those topics, work-life, was significantly discussed showing that Google´s incentive policies take into consideration work-life sub-topics such as health and wellness, cultural environment, community involvement and work flexibility to attract and retain IT professionals. Adding to the sub-topics already proposed in the framework, some new ones popped out still under the work-life topic: equipment and technology, administrative efficiency and workplace stability. Although compensation and benefits are certainly incentives to not be disregarded, it seems there may be something else also important as work-life incentives to attract and retain an IT motivated workforce, specially, at an IT company.