There are many computer fraud and computer crime through computerized accounting information systems owning to its vulnerability, not only in internal of the organization such as asset theft, perquisites, artificial revenue information, expense manipulation, change the computerized accounting information system illegally and so on, but also the external, such as hacking, spam, phishing and identity fraud etc.
There are also some informations about fraud and computer crime. Fraud is a deception act committed by people against another entity, usually causing damage to the victim or bringing benefits to the perpetrator. Internal people not only employee but also managers and shareholders maybe fraud through computerized accounting information system.
Computer crime is easily happened to computerized accounting information system. It is difficult to define the computer crime. And then introduce some methods to solve these problems. For example, understand the employees deeply, and have the internal and external auditor.
The computerized accounting information systems have some vulnerability and lead to fraud and computer crime. There are some informations about the vulnerabilities of it and some methods to solve this problem.
The computerized accounting information system is easily attacked by internal people. Fraud is one way. Fraud is a deception act committed by people against another entity, usually causing damage to the victim or bringing benefits to the perpetrator. Internal people not only employee but also managers and shareholders maybe fraud through computerized accounting information system. Because all the information is put into the computer, so it is easier to theft, change and get accounting information from computer. Comparing to traditional accounting information which is writing by hand and can be keeping by special people like manager and safe, the computerized accounting information system is more vulnerable. White-collar crime is deliberately misusing ones employer’s resources or assets for personal enrichment. Christensen & Byington identify 12 ways that white-collar crime can be committed: fraud/conspiracy; bribery; bickbacks; price-fixing; embezzle-ment; violations of securities laws (such as insider trading); illegal political contributions; tax issues; bid-rigging; forgery; corporate theft and fraudulent financial reporting (Christensen,J &Byington).
There are some typical frauds. Firstly, the internal people maybe theft asset and change information of accounting, like paying vendor who is fictitious, misappropriation of incoming cash or may be not recorded the goods returned by customers. There is a truth case of paying nonexistent suppliers. John MacIntosh who is a payment clerk for Deep Water, creates a company named ABC Enterprise. ABC Enterprises issue invoices to Deep Water and John is responsible for paying them. There are several invoices, which valued at several thousands of dollars are processed and paid by Deep Water with the money going to MacIntosh. Secondly, internal people maybe get perquisites from changing the information of accounting system, such as personal items paid by company. Thirdly, internal people make artificial and cutoffs or recognition criteria which applied to sales inappropriate. The real case of creating fictitious invoices is happened in GHI Led, which slightly below its budgeted sales, which were released to stock market with mid-year figures. The chief financial officer of GHI Ltd order the financial accountant to change some information to make some nonexistent sales using computer system in order to hide the sales below the company’s budgeted forecasted sales. Fourthly, make valuation through computerized accounting information system. For instance, recognizing asset revaluation as revenue; make some nonexistent debtors; make inappropriate expense capitalizing and misclassifying the goods work in process as finished goods. Finally, make some change on payroll, like paying salaries to nonexistent employees; siphoning money from the employee’s pay. The last one is manipulating the expense, such as the expense which should be recognized immediately as expense is capitalized.
The crime of computerized accounting information system is always made by external people of company. Computer crime is easily happened to computerized accounting information system. It is difficult to define the computer crime. Some people maybe think of the concepts such as fraud and theft. For example, sending a virus to attach a computer system; acquire funds illegally through a computer; get self gain using illegally obtained data files intercepting messages from a third party and sending of unsolicited email or junk email.
Many of above computer crimes made a bad effect on computerized accounting information system. External people will be easy to attack the computerized accounting information system through the net. So the information is unsafe using the computerized accounting information system. There are some usual ways assailed by external. First of all, spam can cause to their reputation and image through the damage, which is potentially dangerous to organizations. The receiver of the email will often be tricked by the technique, believing it to be a bona fide email from the organization when the creators of spam send their message through the severs of well-know organization. Second is phishing and identity fraud. Phishing make users go to fraudulent website and leave personal details through a technique of online deception. The information is used for deception and identity theft. In the United States more than US $2.4 billion has been stolen from users on the internet, with 17 per cent of the theft attribute to identity theft, which includes phishing schemes.(Wolfe, D). Banks are a common target with the perpetrators setting up sites that resemble the URL of the genuine site (Varghese, S). For example, if a bank had the URL www.bankl.com.au, but it might be www.bankl.org.au which created by the phisher. At first glance, these site addresses seem to be the same, especially to an uninitiated user. So the user maybe clicks the wrong address and entering the phisher’s site. The wrong site will resemble the bank’s site and lead to no suspicion. So any details submitted by the user will be sent to the creators through to the phishing site. So if accountant send the accounting information to these site, the creators will get all these accounting information and gain profit through it. Thirdly, hacking is another computerized accounting information system crime. Hacking is gaining unauthorized access to a system to get information. There are many examples of it. For example: NASA’s system. Hacking is a threat, particularly for large and prominent organizations that, by virtue of their position, because targets for hacks. The increased use of the internet, combined with the higher levels of IT sophistication in adolescents, has made hacking an increased threat (Dearne, K)
Because the computerized accounting information system is vulnerability and it is easy to be attacked by internal and external people of company. It is essential to consider some method to solve these serious problems. There are many ways for organizations manage their exposure to computer crime and fraud. Firstly, establishing a sound corporate governance structure which thoroughly designed general and application controls and pursues a strong control environment is a good starting point. Not only tools but also other mechanisms for reducing the risk of computer crime are available to the organization. Another effective approach knows the employees. Not only know who they are, but also their background and so on is essential. This is helpful to identify potential instances of fraud. The other approach is force employees to take annual leave on a regular basis can be effective means of reduce fraud. Because an employee who carrying out fraudulent activities not want to leave their job for any time which for fear that someone else will discover their action. After consider, this is a common technique which is effective for detecting fraud in cash-handling areas of organization. Also, the internal and external auditor should be critical in preventing and reducing fraud, and one of the best tools for both parties is computer for detecting fraud.
The search power, range of analytical techniques and processing tools, which a computer can possess make the analysis especially when it combined with modern computer-assisted audit technique. There is another method to reduce the threat of fraud which form a strong ethical culture that come from the top of the organization. At the same time, it should having report properly and mechanisms of monitor and providing ethical training. What is more important to protect the computerized accounting information system is having passwords, which are a way of restricting access to users who has authorize and can prevent white-collar crime. The control facility must restrict what information different users are able to view. The people who do not authorized attempts to access or change these data should be restricted and create a audit trial and keep the information accuracy. We must have to consider how to protect computerized accounting information system from hacking. Now, many organizations are hiring hackers to test explores of their system. This test is named as “penetration testing”. It is a new concept to organizations which are just venturing into the world telecommunications.
There is some vulnerability of computerized accounting information system. And also have some computer crime. Not only happened inter of company, such as asset theft, perquisites, artificial revenue information, expense manipulation, change the computerized accounting information system illegally and so on, but also external of organization, like hacking, spam, phishing and identity fraud and so on. Recognizing the risk of that computer crime to their external of organization, like hacking, the organizations adopt many methods to solve these problems, such as understand the employees deeply, and have the internal and external auditor and so on. After the effort of organizations, the computer fraud and computer crime on external of organization, like hacking will be reduced.
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Today, utilization of computerized information system is popular and common based on the fiercer competition. Actually, this system has incomparable advantages to the traditional systems. More and more organizations consider using the computerized information system, for it can save time and help their work by increase the efficiency of a project or a particular work in process. For a company, adopting the computerized system to get a competitive advantage is intelligent. Certainly, there are some critical successful factors to help the company adopt computerized system. In this essay, I regard clear goal and objectives, the top management support, Interdepartmental communication and cooperation, the Business process reengineering (BPR), and project management. These five factors as the most critical factors when set up a successful computerized information system.
Nowadays, with the development of technology and science, the information system has changed a lot. Moreover, the objective for every business is making profits, so it is common to use the computerized systems within a company to gain competitive advantages. As well as the computer science has been widely used, the computerized system becomes more and more popular and replace the traditional system is becoming a certain trend. Comparing with the old system, computerized systems have some distinct preponderance such as: faster and efficient in processing of information, relatively cheaper than manual accounting system, more timely information can be produced, many types of useful reports can be generated for management to make decisions. (http://basiccollege accounting.com).
Although the computerized system has many visible benefits, there are some essential critical successful factors to implement a computerized information system such as clear goal and objectives, top management support, Interdepartmental communication and cooperation, the Business process reengineering (BPR), and project management. In this essay, I will emphasis on the listed critical successful factors and make explanations in detail.
Critical successful factors for computerized information system
The clear goal and objectives
Set up the clear goals and the objective is the basic element for adopting and implementing a computerized information system successfully. First of all, it costs a lot of money and time to work on it. If the goal and objective is not proper, it may lead to a waste of time and effort and will be a loss to the company. Hence, it is better to set up an eligible goal, here is a method called ABCD (Heinich, et al., 1996) used by instructors to design lessons which it also suitable here, only needs little changes. In this system, the original meanings for "A" is for audience, "B" is for behavior, "C" for conditions and "D" for degree of mastery needed. In this case, we can regard ABCD method as following:
-Audience –Which computerized system you want to use?
-Behavior –What do you expect it to be able to do?
-Condition –Under what circumstances the systems should be used?
-Degree –How well will the behavior need to be performed, and to what level?
Obviously, this method can be the principle when set down goals and objectives and the concrete standard should be “SMART” which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. (Otilia Otlacan, 2005).
Furthermore, clear goals and objectives help the employee understand what is expected of him or her. They help tell employees what parts of their jobs are most important and less important. So, in short, they guide employee behavior. Moreover, the clear goals and objectives make the employee performance review meetings go much more smoothly. Because the criteria are clear, it let both the manager and employee work in the same direction. That will reduce arguments in the performance process. In a word, setting objectives is being crucial importance for the computerized information system.
Top management support
After clarify the goal and objective of an entity, the following factor is the support from the top managers. In order to success to adopt the computerized system, the top manager support is indispensable and it should be the most important and most complicated part out of the other factors. This reason is the most powerful man usually involved in this part. As well as, the support of top management for introduce a new technology not only influence the popularity of new technology, but also affected the work efficiency.
If there is no support of the top management, there will be more problems with the capital and financial resources and it will be more difficult to implement the computerized information system. Furthermore, if top management is not actively backing and all-pervasive project, there is little hope for it. This is especially so in the early stages of some big project (Slevin & Pinto, 1986; Bingi et al, 1999). Obviously, resistance is unavoidable when making changes. For instance, some employees may be reluctant to change. Over the years they may have required a certain degree of proficiency in the performance of the jobs. To solve this problem it’s time for the top managers exert authority to coordinate the whole company reasonable.
However, the top manager is not omnipotent. Middle management and other staff are at least as important, but will play different roles (Mumford, 1983; McKersie & Walton, 1991). Only got the support from the top manager is not enough, the detailed step of popularize computerized system rely mainly on the other staff. Accordingly, the series of activities can facilitate the successful of the computerized information systems.
Interdepartmental Communication and Cooperation
Interdepartmental communication and cooperation has to be considered for the success of adoption of computerized systems.
First, the importance of communication across different organisation functions and departments is well known in the IT implementation literature. As Schwalbe described ‘Communication is the oil that keeps everything working properly’ (Schwalbe 2000), good communication can make the organization work more effective and efficient. Once the computerized information systems has adopted, changing the employees’ routines and standards of performance, being required to learn new skills, or working with unfamiliar persons may be unsetting. So the employees unwilling or unable to make the transition may choose to resign or in some cases may attempt to sabotage new project. Obviously, personal conflict and physical separation maybe incurred during this process of implement. To solve this problem, people should try to put themselves in their position, efficient communication is an important element for finding a constructive solution. ’ (http://lifecho.com/2007/03/)
Second, when the goals and objectives of the organisation have been fixed, every major department should make their effect to work together rather than individually fighting. For instance, middle management should be a strong backup for the top management. Indeed, only responsible for one apartment’s own duty is not enough. Since the computerized system is new to all people and some employees may be reluctant to change, when whatever fault or successful experience emerged, it should solved by cooperation and good communication is the prerequisites to make this real. Moreover, organizational change also requires higher levels of coordination across functions and departments, and employees and management must be committed to continuous improvement. Hence, there should be greater interdepartmental cooperation. Trust and open communication across the organization will have to be developed. Accordingly, if there is no cooperation interdepartmentally, computerised systems will be impossible to implement.
All in all, these two treasures may bring big progress and help for the adoption of computerized system and good interdepartmental communication and cooperation would provide unmeasurable benefit for the organisation.
Business process re-engineering (BPR)
A business process is defined as a series of activities which is corporative to solve a particular question. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_process). It has three types which are management processes, operational processes and supporting processes which are influenced by each other to achieve the goal. In order to achieve the competitive advantage, the business process reengineering (BPR) is adopted in early 1990s.
Hammer& Champy, define the business process reengineering (BPR) as ‘the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic service, and speed.’ (Hammer, M & Champy, J 1994) Obviously, some principles should be considered when the BPR is adopted. For instance, rectifying the organisation structure based on the goal, empowering others to meet the vision, create a single reference point for customers, and reduce the impediment of controls and reconciliations.
According to the computerized information system, more possibilities to re-engineer the business process will be provided. After the redesign and improvement of the business process, the information system can do their best job with the existing system because they can best construct these processes to improve how they conduct business. However, in the past, some of the organizations always use the existing even the outmoded way to solve problem, not emphasis on the how the work should be properly done. As well as the enterprise resource planning (ERP) also plays an important role in that process. Indeed, BPR if implemented properly can give huge returns. For example, It helped American Airlines somewhat get back on track from the bad debt that is currently haunting their business practice.
Hence, the business process reengineering (BPR) is essential because it can help the computerized information system to implement and achieve the goal better.
Project management is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific (and usually) one-time effort.( http://www.managementhelp.org/) Project management includes developing a project plan, which includes defining project goals and objectives, specifying tasks or how goals will be achieved, what resources are need, and associating budgets and timelines for completion. It is clear that the project management followed by the goals and objectives. As mentioned, the goals and objectives are very important when adopted the computerized system, for they make clear that what should mangers and employees do, and project management is about how to make goals and objectives happen.
Recently, as the high development of business technology; adopting a computerized system is a complex work which will involve almost every department. It’s not easy for the company to achieve this kind of work in a short time. But a company wants to be survived in the furious business environment; it has to achieve it as soon as possible. Under this circumstance, an effective project management is needed. Meanwhile, numbers of details would be indicated in this process. To solve this problem, “a great amount of methodical planning and calculated management” is required (Soliman & Youssef, 1998 p.890). Following on, a clear idea and methodical schedule is helpful to fulfill the requirement of the project. It can assure the process goes on in the perfect order by identify prioritize tasks, assign start, and stop dates to each task.
In a word, the project management is very important for the company, when it decides to adopt of the computerised system, it likes a guide for the company. It applies the technology, skills and techniques to meet the requirement of a particular project. It can deal with the complex combination of software, hardware, as well as some other resources in order to help the computerized information system to achieve a specific goal. All in all, in order to make the adoption of computerized system successfully, project management can not be absent.
To conclude, as the technology develops dramatically, the computerized information system is adopted by many organisations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency. There are five critical success factors introduced in this essay which are important to assist the computerized information system to be successful: the clear goal and objectives ensure the manager and employee work to the same direction; top manager support makes the new program put in practice smoothly; Interdepartmental communication and cooperation is the prerequisite that only when all department can work on well; the business process reengineering can dramatically increased the effective of process, and actualised the goal; and project management can coordinate the whole company to adopt the new technology. Different people have different views and there is no rule which factor should be put at the first place. But then in this essay, these five factors are the mainstay for the adoption of computerized system.
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Based on the challenging business environment, many companies would like to use computerized system, as it has many advantages over the traditional one. For example, computerized records can save time by automatically issuing routine reports, improve interpersonal communication, improve work efficiency and analysis of data for research. But when a company decides to implement the computerized system, some critical success factors for adoption of computerized system should be considered carefully. This essay is mainly about the critical successful factors addressed by Somers & Nelson (2001) which should be emphasized during the process of the adoption of computerized system. It will discuss five of them, they are clear goals and objectives, top management support, interdepartmental co-operation, project management and project champion. These five factors are very important criteria for the success of adoption of computerized system. In this essay, a review of the current literature relating to computerized systems was made. The case study “vicious and virtuous cycles in ERP implementation” written by H Akkermans & K van Helden was studied. Some other resources are from internet.
The main purpose of carrying a company is making profit. Basically, it requires the company has competitive advantage, so that it can survive in the inclement competitive environment. Nowadays it is common to employ one or several computerized systems within a company to gain competitive advantages. Undeniable, compare to traditional systems, computerized systems got some distinct preponderance such as: Faster and efficient in processing of information, relatively cheaper than manual accounting system, more timely information can be produced, many types of useful reports can be generated for management to make decisions.(
Assessing critical success factors for the adoption of computerised systems
Clear goals and objectives
Everyone has a “dream”, for the company, the “dream” means goals and objectives. A person lives without a goal just as a ship sails in the sea without direction. A company can’t run properly without the goals and objectives. It has long been common knowledge that the first phase of an IT project should start with a conceptualisation of goals and ways to accomplish these (Cleland & King, 1983; Slevin & Pinto, 1987). A goal is a long-range aim for a specific period. An objective is a way of knowing what action or plan is to be taken and identifying the expected results, which provides a set of directions so that making the decision will not be as complicated as when the goal is just being considered. (
For an organization or a company, once the goals and objectives are set up, the employee must understand what they should accept and confrontation clearly. In other word, the clear objectives and goal could guild the employees’ behaviours. Furthermore, clear goals and objectives make the relative activities and implement would run smoothly in the future, because the goals and objectives are clearly, which let both the manager and employee work in the same direction.
All in all, setting effective goals and objectives is very important. During the practice, there are many methods to set the goals and objectives, the S.M.A.R.T method is one of them. S.M.A.R.T refers to the acronym that describes the key characteristics of meaningful objectives, which are Specific (concrete, detailed, well defined), Measurable (numbers, quantity, comparison), Achievable (feasible, actionable), Realistic (considering resources) and Time-Bound (a defined time line) (http://www.thepracticeofleadership.net), which will benefit to the company in future.
Top management support
After the goals and objectives are set up, the next step is to implement the goals and objectives. In order to success to adopt the computerized system, the top manager support is necessary. The top manager is the most powerful man in the company, adopting a new system maybe a chance to make their capital increased. But on the other hand, it also can be a threat to the top manager. Therefore whether the top manager has faith in employing a certain computerized system is the key point whether the system can be successfully implemented. Without the support and commitment of the top management, no program can be completed smoothly. When the top managers don’t want to use the computerized system, the company can’t run with that system, because they have the right to decide how to run a company. Only if these people want to and have determination to use the computerized system, the adoption can be started and run.
If top management is not actively backing and all-pervasive project, there is little hope for it. This is especially so in the early stages of some big project (Slevin & Pinto, 1986; Bingi et al, 1999). Clearly, when make changes in the whole company, resistance is unavoidable. That causes the obstructions during the implement. To solve this problem, on the one hand, it’s time for the top managers exert authority to coordinate the whole company reasonable. On the other hand, it calls interdepartmental co-operation. And the interdepartmental co-operation will discuss below in detail.
During the process of implementing the computerized system, the resistance is unavoidable. Once the conflict is happen, the communication is very important. In other word, the interdepartmental co-operation is important. As Schwalbe said, “Communication is the oil that keeps everything working properly.”
In the practical world, a standard company should have at least 4 or 5 departments. When adopting a project like a computerized system, a company should be viewed as a whole, every major department would be involved in. Under this situation, only top manager support is not enough, the middle management should be strong backup for them. Besides these, each department should communicate and co-operate well with the others. Another reason is that the computerized system is new to all people, when faults or successful experience appear, it should solved by cooperation or shared by all departments, and good communication is the prerequisites to make this happened. It is believed that the key to successful cooperation is ongoing, wide-ranging communication. Usually, personal conflict, physical separation, short of time etc, can be the barriers of developing communication. To solve this, five approaches can be considered: Identify What Information is Really Needed; Conduct Team Building with Department Heads; Reengineer Processes to Include Communication Components; Implement Job Rotation; Conduct the "JFK Communication Exercise (http://www.discoverysurveys.com)
All in all, good interdepartmental communication and cooperation are such like virtuous circles that would provide immeasurable benefit for the adoption of computerized system. It makes the team more powerful and effective.
As it defined, the project management is the controlled process of feasibility study, planning, executing, and closing down a project, even evaluation and maintenance. (
When the company decides to adopt a computerized system, it will be a complex work which will involve almost every department and it indicates the project would be complicated and involved numbers of details. Sometimes a slight negligence may lead to great disaster. To resolve this problem, “a great amount of methodical planning and calculated management” is required (Soliman & Youssef, 1998 p.890).
To sum up, the project management applies the technology, skills and techniques to meet the requirement of a particular project. It can deal with the complex combination of software, hardware, as well as some other resources in order to help the computerized information system to achieve a specific goal. For the company, in order to make the adoption of computerized system successfully, project management must be regarded seriously.
“The success of technological innovations has often been linked to the presence of a champion, who performs the crucial functions of transformational leadership, facilitation, and marketing the project to the users.” (Beath, 1991; quoted from Somers & Nelson, 2001).
A project champion is seen to have a promotional, influencing role. They are often, but not always, local authority elected members. Sometimes they are a non-political figure, such as a senior officer. Project champions have played a vital role in helping The team gain support from the decision makers involved. (
A man can’t live without soul, and also a team can’t work without “soul”. The champion is the core of a project team. In some way, he is more like a spiritual leader rather a technological expert in the project team. Once a project loses its champion, progress may be ceased due to lack of leadership. Once the implementation of adopting a computerized system has began, it can not be reworked, and for an individual company the funds for a specific project usually can not be reallocated to other projects once it started. When the program or plan (like adoption of computerized system) starts, there must be a man to lead it run for long. That man is project champion.
There are several characteristics a champion should exhibit in order to be a qualified leader. Firstly, Influence: The individual needs to carry weight in organizational decision-making. Secondly, Proactive ness: This person must be someone who will be diligent when actively pursuing project support within the organization. Thirdly, Relations: Successful champions are skilled relationship managers and bridge builders. Fourthly, Rising star or VIP: Many successful champions are current employees whose careers are on the rise or who are already organizational leaders. (
In short, if there isn’t someone in the organization who is actively promotion, supporting, and advocating the benefits of the project, the project may be at risk. (
To conclude, in this essay, it has discussed five of critical successful factors for the success of adoption of computerized system. They are clear goals and objectives, top management support, interdepartmental co-operation, project management and project champion. The clear goals and objectives ensure the manager and employee work to the same direction. The project management makes the goals and objectives run in a proper way. Interdepartmental co-operation makes sure that the company runs well, so that the process of adoption of computerized system goes well. The other two CSFs are about the key people in the process- top manager and project champion. Top manager support makes the new program put in practice smoothly, without their support, no progress will happen. The project champion is the spiritual leader in the project team, it’s the real key people during the process of adoption, a good project champion can lead the process to be success, also a poor one can cause the mission fail. Besides these 5 CFSs, the other 18 CFSs which listed on Somers & Nelson(2001) are also important. When a company adopt of computerized system, it should consider all of them, because this process is not a simple one. The managers should look before they leap.
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Assessing Critical Success Factors for the Adoption of Computerised Systems
Nowadays, with the rapid development of Information technology, more and more enterprises intend to adopt computerised systems rather than traditional ones, in order to adjust to new economic conditions and more and more fierce competition. Computerised systems, indeed, have many advantages that traditional systems cannot compare with. For instance, computerised systems are easier and more convenience to operate and save time, because, nearly all calculations could be done by computers, as well as minimalise mathematical errors. In addition, top management could be more powerful to control over the business and budget more accurately with the assistance of computerised systems. However, there are still some critical success factors for adopting computerised systems. In this essay, some critical success factors will be assessed and analysed.
A vital success factor to computerise their system is the needs of the business. Wether or not to develop a computerised system depends on wether the existing system can meet the needs of the business or not. It is the right time that the business should modify its system when the existing system failed to cope with the new situation. Not every organisation needs a computerised system, especially for accounting department. A small business, which does not have so big amount of transactions, may not need to computerise. For example, a business, which can just receive 500 dollars per month and never had any mistakes and difficulties to use a traditional way, and things are doing well, may not feel their system should be computerised. To change a system for a business means a big amount of money and other difficulties, such as employee training, the new balance and coordination among departments and so on. So needs of the business is the first factor must be considered.
2, Top management support
Another critical success factor is the support from top management. To make changes are usually very difficult. The implementation of computerising nearly involves all of the departments and employee within the business, if the effects caused by changes could not be managed well, it would be a disaster for the business, so the organising and co-ordinating of top management is very important. There are some aspects that need the support of top management. Firstly, the allocation of employee. It is very hard for employees to change and adjust to their new positions, so top management support is very important. Secondly, the capital issue. Capital will be very hard to obtain and distribute for changing without the support of top management. Thirdly, the co-operation and co-ordination among all departments. Furthermore, the following adjusting revolution activities are also very important. Without the support of top management, computerising will face all sorts of difficulties and impediments. So obtaining the support of top management is critical.
3, Business process re-engineering (BPR)
Hammer& Champy, define BPR as ‘the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic service, and speed.’ (Considine, Razeed, Lee and Collier, 2005). BPR is the rethinking and redesign for the existing business system, so some basic principles should be obeyed. For example, rectifying the organisation structure based on the organisation goal, empowering others to meet the vision, getting support from top management to encourage further change, choosing some appropriate processes to re-engineer and so on. Computerised system provides more possibilities to re-engineer the business process. According to the data base and expert systems, each department could make their plans based on their professinalisation. In the past, most of business set up some department for collecting and processing the information generated by the other departments. It shows a traditional opinion that low level employees have not enough capacity to process the information that generated by themselves. However, with the increase of employees’ skill and application of IT, information process could be done by low level employees. Ford Corporation was a good example, when they utilised the new computerised system, information collection, storage and sharing was achieved and dramatically increased the effective of process, and actualised the goal of reducing 75% employees. So BPR could be a critical success factor for computerising systems.
4, Well-managed fundamental logistics
Fundamental logistics means the integrated and standardised management regulation and data, especially for accounting policy. Computerised systems need to set up data processing method in advance, so all the process related to the data processing should be regularised and standardised. If there is well-managed fundamental logistics, the development of computerising would be extremely hard, in another words, the fundamental logistics is the precondition of developing computerised systems.
5, The right allocation of professional (For computerised accounting system)
To implement computerised accounting system will alter the position and function of the accountants in the traditional system. Because the traditional accountants could not meet the needs of computerised system, it is necessary to allocate additional computerised professional to manage. First of all, to allocate a staff for managing, programming, planning, and organising. The first step is for the smooth of the new system. The second is the allocation of hardware maintenance staff. They are liable for the repair and maintenance of hardware system, in order to keep hardware system running smoothly. The last one is the allocation of the staff, who are familiar with both computer system and accounting and finance. They could participate the research and development, and maintenance. If the allocation of staff is not appropriate or sufficient, computerised system could be really dangerous for the business. So the right allocation of professional is essential.
Cost is a crucial factor for implementation of computerising. Specialists of computerised systems are necessary, software and hardware systems as well. However, it needs to invest a big amount of money for them. The expenditure for computerising could be divided by two types, which are initial outlay and overheads. Initial outlay includes the money for purchasing hardware and software systems, capital outlays, training of manpower, whereas the overheads include consumables, operating maintenance fees and so on. A business have to hold sufficient capital to run and support the adoption of computerised systems, that is also the reason why still many business did not modify their traditional systems.
Time is also a very important factor to consider. To change over to a computerised system, to ensure it is implemented properly and to train staff will all require a long time commitment. If the opportunity cost of changing the system by time was calculated and showed that it was not worth to do that, the top managers would forgone the idea of computerising.
8, Interdepartmental cooperation
Interdepartmental cooperation has to be considered. When the goals and objectives of the organisation have been fixed, all departments within the organisation should make their effect to work together rather than individually fighting. Computerised system is a whole system over the organisation, if there is no cooperation interdepartmentally, computerised systems will be impossible to implement.
A business should decide whether to computerise its systems or not, depending upon whether the conditions for computerising are existed. Computerised system is not suit for all businesses. The critical factors, which mentioned above, should be carefully considered. Well-utilised computerised systems could bring amazing benefits for the enterprise, bad-utilised, certainly, could be a disaster as well. An enterprise should select the most appropriate operational system to run, rather than an advanced system, which is not design for them.
Considine Brett, Razeed Abdul, Lee Michael & Collier Philip, Accounting Information System, John Wiley& Sons Australia, Ltd, Melbourne, 2005, pp47-56
Van Briefing, the voice of voluntary arts, DATABASE SYSTEM NOW? No.102, October 2002.