Computer accounting systems began their development a long time ago. They changed in parallel with changes in information technology, software and hardware for processing information, development methods and tools, the concept of building information systems (IS). The beginning of the formation of the market falls on the end of the 80s of the twentieth century.
Today, there are a large number of different software tools for automated accounting: from automating local accounting tasks to full-featured as part of an enterprise information system. The software market is associated with leading development firms. One of the business software providers is Xero.
A large number of software products on the market are designed to solve accounting problems, so the question naturally arises about the effective choice of software. The complexity of the choice is associated with significant differences in the construction of software tools, their functional completeness, ease of adaptation to user needs, cost, ease of use on any software and hardware platforms, etc. We will conditionally divide enterprises by the number of accounting employees into small (1-3 people), medium (4-6 people), large (more than 6 people).
For small businesses, where the number of accounting employees is 1-3 people, the most appropriate is the use of software, based on a universal model of credentials and built in the form of a single software system. This conclusion is substantiated by the fact that there is no significant specialization of employees for accounting areas and data entry is actually limited to the formation of extended postings with minimal analytical information. In addition, the use of a set of specialized modules requires constant switching between them, and often the implementation of auxiliary technological procedures related to the exchange of information.
This procedure for using the system is less efficient than using a single software environment. On the other hand, the presence of specialization among accounting workers requires the use of software systems that contain modules specialized in functions and data, each of which provides more technological solutions for servicing information flows that occur in each area. In addition, usually in the accounting department of large enterprises there is a higher need for delineation of user rights with access to information, which is more pronounced and easier to achieve than the use of highly specialized complexes. By the way, the accounting software from Xero fits the bill. Plus, there are some innovations. For more information, follow the attached link!
Significant differences exist between enterprises in terms of the availability of technical staff capable of performing maintenance of the and linking programs to the specifics of accounting work. Large enterprises, as a rule, have such personnel, and therefore their own qualified employees can be involved in adapting the software. For small enterprises, it is important to support the software system by the manufacturer’s dealers, since such enterprises, as a rule, do not have their own specialists.
Related to the general arguments above is the criterion for supporting sharing with other office software. For enterprises that have their own staff of programmers, the possibility of organizing the connection of standard software of an independent manufacturer with programs of their own development is relevant. And for enterprises that do not have their own fund of programs, the possibility of its integrated use with programs from other independent manufacturers is relevant.
The requirements for the possibility of functioning of software systems in the environment of computer networks and on various software and hardware platforms are quite obvious. In this regard, for accounting with a small number of workstations, it is sufficient to use peer-to-peer networks on the Intel PC platform using one or another version of Windows. For large accounting departments, it is desirable to use software systems that operate in PC networks with a dedicated server in the client-server architecture.
For with a large number of workstations, the use of heterogeneous networks using servers on more powerful software and hardware platforms is relevant. Hence the requirements for specialized programs that provide for the future scaling of the system and the possibility of its operation based on the “thin” client technology.
For corporate systems, the selection criteria for software are supplemented by the requirements to support data replication and consolidation functions with the possibility of reporting in several accounting registries.
So, summarizing the above, we present the general criteria for choosing software by enterprises, depending on the number of accounting employees. Small businesses should pay attention to the following factors:
- Unified data representation model.
- Unified software environment.
- Work in a peer-to-peer network or in a network of personal computers with a dedicated server.
- Availability of certified dealers for the implementation of the software manufacturer’s system in their own region.
- Possibility of joint use of standard office software and problem-oriented software from other manufacturers.
Medium enterprises are focused on:
- Construction of the system in the form of a full-featured set of software modules specialized in accounting areas.
- Possibility of development of system functions due to professional development tools.
- Work on a PC network with a specific server in a client-server architecture.
- Functions for delimiting user access rights to data.
- The possibility of sharing with software from other manufacturers, including software of our own design.
Large enterprises are interested in:
- Building the system as a set of highly specialized software modules.
- Opportunities to develop system functions using professional development tools.
- Opportunities to work in heterogeneous networks, significant user freedom in choosing hardware, operating systems and DBMS.
- Development of functions for delimiting access rights to data and automating actions performed by users.
- Developed delimitation of the functions of accounting operational and technical and statistical accounting.
- Possibilities of sharing with software from other manufacturers, including software of our own design.
For corporate enterprises, the following criteria are important:
- Compliance with the listed requirements of individual enterprises and independent divisions in the corporation.
- Advanced tools for replicating data from remote departments.
- Ability to consolidate data for corporate reporting, as well as accounting in different accounting standards.
Having chosen the appropriate group of software tools, you need to analyze specific programs in detail, paying attention to such factors:
- The possibility of using specialized programs in the software and hardware environments used by the enterprise;
- The composition of the auxiliary software necessary for the functioning of specialized programs;
- Functionality, degree of automation and completeness of the solution of the most complex and important accounting tasks for the enterprise;
- The composition of adaptive properties, the ability to customize the program for the specifics of accounting in the organization;
- Convenience of the user interface – when entering and correcting data, organizing access to incoming and resulting information;
- Means of protecting databases from illegal penetration, as well as means of prompt recovery in case of failures in the system operation of computers or as a result of errors during operation;
- The possibility of sharing with other software products of our own design or other manufacturers with general-purpose office software;
- Quality and ease of use of documentation, availability of instructions for using software;
- Reliability and degree of trust in the developer company, the presence of widespread regional branches, a dealer network and the possibility of proprietary support. The professional support of the system during its operation, the possibility of its development depend on this;
- Developer’s pricing policy – the cost of licenses for the purchase of the program and the provision of services for its implementation, maintenance, the composition of discounts when purchasing new versions;
- Possibility of support from audit and consulting firms.