THE IMPACT OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY ON ACCOUNTING SYSTEM AND ITS EFFECT ON EMPLOYMENT
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Accounting is the art of recording, classifying and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of financial character, and interpreting the results thereof (Conn, 1978). Accounting can also be referred to as an information system that measures, processes and communicates financial information about an economic entity (Wikipedia, 2013). Advancements in computer technology have dramatically improved accounting systems and transformed economic life. Computers and other digital technologies have increased office productivity facilitating the rapid exchange of documents, research, collaboration with far-flung partners and the collection and analysis of data. Computer technology gave all sorts of individual economic actors the new valuable tools for identifying and pursuing economic and business opportunities (Ballada and Ballada, 2011).
Computer Technology deals with the application of computers and other telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data. This may also be described as anything that renders data, information, or perceived knowledge in any visual format through any multimedia distribution mechanism. Applying computer technology in the context of business, it is designed to help management in their stewardship function, support management in their day-to-day operations and decision making. In 1880, machines where invented to help in the accounting system. As year years passed by, advancements on information technology also transformed accounting systems and its processes. There were many developments in the Accounting System. This is designed to help in the management and control of activities related to the firms’ economic and financial area. Accounting system is essential for majority of the business entities. The advancements of technology have lead in the creation of the computerized accounting system which is commonly adopted by business entities at present. This has created a competitive market. Thus, entities need to improve their systems in order to match their information needs for better decision making.
With the advent of computer-based accounting system, accountants have to cope with the resulting complexity of the flow of information through the accounting systems. Traditional accounting procedures did not accommodate the sophisticated processing devices that came with the computer-based accounting system. As the design of the computer based accounting system advanced from simple clerical automation to complicated integrated information systems, the accountant could no longer perform his duties around the computer but found it necessary to develop procedures to cope with the new challenges. However, the employment of accountants who does not consider further training on computer-based accounting is threatened. Furthermore, the traditional accountant was not trained in the special languages and devices used in the computer based system.
With the introduction of computer to many business applications, those business areas that involve repeated tasks which are often monotonous and fallible to human errors (cash, inventory control, payroll and etc) are increasingly being simplified accurately by combining the cost, effectiveness, simplicity of use, efficiency, reliability and accuracy of the computer to obtain, analyze and interpret data information for efficient business decisions. Nigerian business organizations being to grow in size, business operations and processes become increasingly complex, hence computers are being rapidly introduced to cope with the overwhelming demands of business and growth (Dandago and Rufai, 2013). Though the introduction of computer to many facets of business operations is a welcome idea, its use is further implicated on accounting system and as such organizations need to strike a balance between accounting areas to be manually operated so as to control or limit the menance associated with unemployment.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Accounting procedures are naturally complex and are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and so it becomes more necessary wanting to know how computer technology has helped in resolving this complexity and also to get to know of it holds any greater promise for the future and employment in the field of accounting. There is the need also to know if it hold any risk of aiding perpetrators of frauds in order to weigh its risks against benefit.
Almost all accounting duties are done on the computer today and this recent development in the practice of accounting has led to situations whereby organizations hire the services of a computer expert for audit purposes. The researcher is examining if the knowledge of computer has displaced accountant with a computer scientist thereby creating an employment deficit.
In addition to these problems, the electronic accounting systems are usually designed by systems analyst and programmers who are in most cases non accounts. This makes the accountant a stranger to the system he is to audit, unlike in a manual system. Furthermore, the accounting information processing procedures are stated in computer programs which are written in special computer languages and stored on machine-sensible medium.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the impact of computer technology on accounting system.
- To examine the impact of computer technology on employment in the field of accounting.
- To identify the factors limiting the use of computer technology in the field of accounting
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the impact of computer technology on accounting system?
- What is the impact of computer technology on employment in the field of accounting?
- What are the factors limiting the use of computer technology in the field of accounting?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this study will educate the stakeholders in the field of accounting on how accountants can key into the advent of computer technology for effectiveness in accounting.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the impact of computer technology on accounting system and its effect on employment will cover the effectiveness of computer technology in the field of accounting and how it influences employment opportunity.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Conn, N. (1978), “Objectives of Financial Reporting by Business Enterprises”, Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts no. 1, par 9.
Ballada W. and Ballada S., (2011), “Basic Accounting”, DomDane Publishing, pp. 20, 88-90.
Wikipedia (2013) Information Technology, http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Information_technology.
M. Ghasemi, V. Shafeiepour, M. Aslani and E. Barvayeh, (2011), “The Impact of Information Technology (IT) on Modern Accounting”, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 28, pp. 112–116.
Dandago K. I. and Rufai A. S., (2013) “Information Technology and Accounting Information System in the Nigerian Banking Industry”, Asian Economic and Financial Review, vol. 4, no. 5, June, pp.655-670.