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Computerised Accounting for Small and Medium Enterprise

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Title: Computerised Accounting for Small and Medium Enterprise


1
Computerised Accounting for Small and Medium
Enterprise
  • PBCS Week 7

2
Computerised Accounting for SMEs - 1993 1995,
Migration to Windows
  • 100s of NEW offerings
  • Additional Functionality
  • Flexible Reporting and Linkage to 3rd Party
    Software
  • Friendly User Interfaces
  • Vertical Market Products
  • Suppliers forced to release Windows Version of
    Product
  • 2nd and 3rd Generation system Users

3
Computerised Accounting for SMEs 1996 1997,
The end game for DOS and the birth of Windows 95
  • Unprecedented increase in capacity of computers
    (PCs)
  • The Specter of the Millennium
  • EMU Looming
  • The world dominating aspirations of Microsoft
    (Bill Gate)
  • Simplified User interfaces as the expected norm
  • ODBC
  • Demand for Information to Manage, rather than
    mere accounts
  • Disparity among the available packaged solutions

4
The Selection and implementation of accounting
software is fraught with DANGER..
  • Or opportunity for Accounting and Systems
    Consultants to earn a crust
  • A Users Guide to the Selection of Accounting
    Software
  • A hero is only as good as his weapon
  • Dont be stuck with wet fish to administer your
    accounting systems

5
To minimise the frustration and DANGER of the
WRONG package..
  • Automation is NOT the end but the MEANS
  • Accounting systems do not make decisions
  • Automation will NOT eliminate poor decision
  • People are the most important resource
  • Success is rarely dependent on automation
  • No Accounting system will make a company
    profitable

6
The Selection and Implementation Plan
  • Advice and Help
  • No one supplier/accountant has all the answers
  • Do as much as possible yourself
  • Lucius Aemilus Paulius,
  • Commanders should be counselled, chiefly, by
    persons of know talent by those who have made
    the art of war their particular study, and those
    whose knowledge is derived from experience-from
    those who are present at the scene of action,
    embarked in the same ship and are sharers of the
    same danger

7
Sources of Information
  • Trade Business magazine
  • Databases
  • Software Consultant
  • The Internet/WWW
  • Contacts in similar companies, Trade Associations
  • Published Reports

8
Recognition of Needs
  • A need must be perceived
  • A problem must be solved
  • An opportunity must be grasped
  • The Decision to Automate
  • Bear in mind the following
  • Automation for the sake of it
  • Lack of staff support failure
  • Fright and Unease with new systems is Normal
  • The scale investment is high Are there real
    benefits?
  • Must involve Everyone
  • The best ideas usually come from those doing th
    job
  • The Decision should be cooperative not imposed

9
Considerations for the Selection and
Implementation Plan
  • Prepare a set of agreed objectives
  • Set realistic time scales
  • Identify key participants
  • Identify specific responsibilities and timetables
  • Leadership better than orders
  • Do not rush merely to achieve timetable
  • Manage collection and communication of data
  • Define selection criteria in detail
  • Meet regularly
  • Training

10
Considerations for the Selection and
Implementation Plan
  • Prepare a set of agreed objectives
  • Set realistic time scales
  • Identify key participants
  • Identify specific responsibilities and timetables
  • Leadership better than orders
  • Do not rush merely to achieve timetable
  • Manage collection and communication of data
  • Define selection criteria in detail
  • Meet regularly
  • Training

11
Assume the worst will happen (it invariably
does), expect changes and problems along the way.
12
A Methodical Approach to the Selection Process
  • Analysis of needs
  • Define corporate goals
  • Analyse data/information requirements
  • Determine desire/desirable functions
  • Consider re-design of current processes
  • Define/Clarify needs
  • Cost benefit justification
  • Software Evaluation
  • Identify SW packages
  • Evaluate Packages

13
A Methodical Approach to the Selection Process
  • Tailored packages
  • Check references and make selection
  • Implementation

14
Define the Expected Benefits
  • What should the system do for us?
  • What do we need to do well to succeed?
  • To what degree (if any) will automation assist
    the company?
  • Select an accounting system which will contribute
    directly to the business success.

15
Involving Employees
  • Ask for specific comments
  • Appoint a liaison / functional area
  • Formal specification (analysis comment)
  • Review specification in each functional area
  • Tailored demonstration script (Key personnel)
  • Key personnel in demonstration comments
  • Strive for consensus in selection
  • Communicate decisions promptly

16
Qualitative Selection Criteria
  • What are our present/future needs and how well
    does this product meet these?
  • What are our feature needs and how well does this
    product meet these?
  • Will its procedures help us do well as a
    business?
  • Do the input screens make sense?
  • Are speed and performance adequate?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • Can it be of immediate benefit?
  • Is there potential for growth?
  • How will I and others feel?

17
Qualitative Selection Criteria (contd)
  • What are help facilities like?
  • What was my first impression?
  • What is my impression after experimenting?
  • How useful are the standard reports?
  • How would I rate the Vendor?

18
Checking the Vendor
  • As for a few problem customers
  • Seek assurance about
  • Functionality Robustness of Software
  • Problem areas frustrations (plus vendors action)
  • How was the implementation managed
  • What would they do differently
  • What is Vendor support like
  • Promptness
  • Staff expertise
  • Attitude

19
Make your final selection
  • Beware brand new technology
  • Balance between General and Vertical
  • Draft contract with Vendor (carefully)
  • Deal with a single vendor

20
Typical Planning Pitfalls
  • Not enough time selection to live
  • Not testing prior to implementation
  • Lack of time for data conversion
  • Leaving key staff out of the process
  • Poor construction of codes
  • Skimping on training
  • Losing continuity (when staff changes)
  • Top management failing to see it through

21
A Brief View of Some Accounting Software
  • Pegasus/Opera 32 Bit Converted Version
  • As a history lesson the older modular formats
  • Quicken Windows
  • To illustrate the entry level, low functionality
  • Sage Line 50
  • To indicate the shape of things to come

22
A Classification of Small Business Accounting
Packages
  • Price
  • Focus
  • Function
  • Construction
  • Size of Business

23
Focus
  • General
  • Current features
  • Less specific to needs
  • Vertical
  • Features for particular businesses
  • Lack the depth in core accounting
  • Custom
  • Not really packages at all
  • Platform
  • Dos to Windows, Novell/NT to Mini and Mainframe

24
Functionality Considerations
  • Entry level, Mid Range to High Level
  • Glorified cash book to comprehensive suit
  • Level of configurability
  • Links to 3rd party software
  • Upgrade and networking

25
Structure of the Software
  • Single Compilation
  • Little Choice over integration
  • Difficult when corruption occurs
  • Modular
  • Choice over level and timing integration
  • Cut off made much easier
  • Recovery from corruption simple
  • Add on modules are common

26
Changes in the last decade have been dramatic,
choice is growing, But the face of UK accounting
software is relatively unchanged
  • Entry-level Sage Instant, TAS Books, Quickbooks,
    MYOB
  • Mid-range Sage Line 50, Opera
  • High-End Oracle, SAP, Sage Line 100
  • Other Suppliers are becoming more active. The
    really big players have not yet entered.
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