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ACCTING 2503 Accounting Information Systems Proof Reading Services
Case – Research project
a. Overview of Cloud-based Xero
Cloud based Xero is an accounting software provided by Xero which is one of the fastest growing Software as a service companies operating in the international market. It helps in connecting people in any number at any time, at any place and on any device. It has been especially designed for accountants and bookkeepers to build a trusted relationship with small business clients through collaborations with them online. The main features of the software include automatic feeds for bank debit and credit transactions, quick and easy invoicing, calculation of depreciation on fixed assets, expenses claims, recording purchase and sales orders and standard business reporting and management reporting. It facilitates multiple tax rates and currencies. It also supports the integration of external applications with Xero for customers and third party software vendors through an API offered by the software. It helps in automatic importation of bank statements. The financial data is stored on cloudin single ledgers that the users may get the access anytime and anywhere to work in the same set of books. It also offers payroll features for the users that are specifically based at Australia and United States. The software is designed in such a manner that it achieves the purpose of providing the users with the experience of real time real time financial situations and also a summary of the financial situations so that it can be reviewed at a glance (Marks, 2013).
b. Functionality of software
The functions of cloud based Xero software are as follows:
Easy invoicing – It helps in generating and sending online invoices and thus helps in getting paid quickly. It can also be known when the invoice has been opened by customer. The invoice template can be customised and the logo of the firm can also be added. The expenses can be easily charged from customer y just tagging the items as billable expenses and adding them to invoices. Customers can directly click on the payment link in the invoice only to make payment.
Multi-currency accounting– It enables sending invoices, reconciling accounts and getting paid in more than 180 different currencies. The rates of foreign exchange are also updated on an hourly basis so that it can be known that how cash flows is affected by the gains and losses from foreign currency rates. The foreign currency transactions can also be converted into local currency in real time.
Attach files to data – It enables attaching files to any document such as bills and invoices and also to the transactions. It enables the storage of any file on Xero cloud. Through online storage collaboration can be done with the accounting professional.
Create purchase orders – It supports in creating complete purchase orders in a customized manner. The purchase orders so created can be sent through email to the suppliers and can be copied to a bill when the payment has to be made. It saves time as there is no need of data entry. It can easily be seen that what has been ordered from suppliers the cost agreed for the supplies and when and where the deliveries have to be made.
c. Advantages and disadvantages of Cloud based Xero
Time efficient -It helps in saving time as multiple entries can be avoided by attaching files and making adjustments accordingly. It also enables regular updating of the daily transactions.
Accuracy -It provides updated notifications of foreign exchange rates and multiple taxes rates hourly. It also helps in providing accurate and efficient fair value of these rates.
Enhances goodwill -It helps in gaining the goodwill of the business as this software enables proper business reporting and better management. It enhances value of the business entity by standardized management system.
Easily accessible -As this software provides online storage, files and financial statements are easily accessible. Due to its easy accessibility professionals and vendors can easily collaborate and deal with business entities.
Huge storage and integrated system -It has a single unified ledger which stores all the accounting and financial data in the cloud which allow the users to work in same set of books regardless of their location. It enables the online storage which helps the users in access the files in no time.
Auto update -The significant feature of the cloud XERO software is that it upgrades the data and files automatically. Due to its easy functioning and design the users can easily access the financial statements.
Monthly expenditure -The users are charged fees or amount of subscription for using the software on monthly basis. With every extra inclusion of feature it cost higher amount which exceeds the monthly subscription fees of the software.
Unsecured -Easy and simple password can affect the security of the accounts. So the users are required to keep strong passwords to prevent unauthorized access in their accounts.
Risk of unauthorized access -Due to its feature of cloud storage, this software enhances the risk of leaking of confidential data and file which is stored at a particular place. Without passwords these files can easily be accessed by unauthorized users.
Quality connectivity -For effective working of this software one require great speed and high quality internet connection. Low quality internet connection may hamper the working of the software.
a. Accountant’s role in computer acquisition process
An accountant in an organization is a person who is likely to be the major user of the computer softwares installed within the computer systems of the organization. Therefore the computer systems shall be designed in such a manner that they can contribute to the efficient input and output use by the accountant. The role of an accountant is such that the major use of input and output of information on the computer system is contained in his role. Also an accountant is responsible for the internal controls operating within the organization for data processing. Thus it can be said that the accountant is the designer of the accounting systems within the organization and therefore with the burden of these responsibilities the involvement of accountant in the computer acquisition process is a must. The job role of an accountant can be carried out best effectively only when the involvement is ensured from the stage of acquisition of computer systems. This has to be done in co-ordination with the group of people who are directly related to the use of information systems such as computer experts, managers, IT professionals, system analysts, production managers and other team members associated with the IT functions (Gelinas, 2014). Thus the nature of job role and the primary responsibilities associated with the accountant create the necessity for the active involvement and participation of the accountant in the computer acquisition process so that the system can be designed in such a manner that can make the accounting functions on computer systems an easy process and make the systems user friendly for the accounting operations which are the crucial operations for an organization. Hence it can be said that an accountant has a significant and crucial role to play in the process of acquisition of computer systems.
b. Useful contribution of Accountant
An accountant is a professional who has the core responsibilities that relate to the accounting systems that operate within an organization. The accounting operations are the crucial operation for any business entity. The computer systems and IT infrastructure installed within an organization are mainly used for the data processing related to operations, accounting and reporting. Therefore the computer systems shall be designed on the basis of requirements for performing these operations. Thus when an accountant participates in the computer system acquisition process he significantly contributes to the effective designing of computer systems. Also an accountant has the knowledge of cost estimation and related aspects in relation to acquisition of an asset whether tangible or intangible, therefore he can contribute to the acquisition of a cost effective system rather than expensive systems. Another aspect of accountant contribution can be the contribution in the form of establishing good relationship with the vendor for the purchase of quality computer systems that are user friendly for the accounting operations and support ease of transactions and reporting processes. An accountant also provides useful contribution to assure the quality of the system as from the development stage of the system acquisition process only the features required can be incorporated and the system prototype can be tested for use. This saves the time of the computer acquisition manager as well as the cost of computer acquisitions. Therefore the major aspects that include the useful contribution of the accountant in the computer acquisition process include cost effectiveness of computer systems, quality of computers, user friendly softwares and systems, integration of accounting processes and relisted operations within the computer systems during the designing phase, testing the computer systems for use and relevance and building relationships including bargaining and negotiations with vendors and contractors for purchase of computer systems and maintainace of computer systems annually along with repairs and after sales service (Togoe, 2013).
Ways to maximise effectiveness of security awareness training programs
Security awareness training programs are conducted for the best interests of employees as well as the organization with the view to ensure security and privacy of the data and information. Itenables the organization to incorporate the safe computing practices in the functions carried out by the employees. The four ways that can be used for the effectiveness of the security awareness training programs conducted within the organization for the employees are as follows:
Assemble security awareness team
The best method to ensure the effectiveness of the security awareness training program is to assemble the best team to impart training to the employees which includes IT experts and system security professionals. The best trainers will result in complete and effective development of the staff with technical skills that help in implementing the security practices within the organizational systems. Thus the incorporation of quality from the initial stage will ensure the effectiveness at all the stages of the training program.
Define the content and scope of training
Before implementing the security awareness training program it is essential to define the scope of training with defining the levels of security that need to be dealt with under the program. The managers of the organization and the staff members are well aware of the security issues that are faced by the organization during the routine operations and thus the content of the security awareness training program shall be pre defined which shall incorporate the security issues and problems. If the security issues are pre inserted in the content of security awareness training, then the solutions and strategies can be easily identified and understood by the staff during the training which will ensure the effectiveness of the training program (Olusegun, 2013).
Adopt holistic approach throughout the organization
For the implementation of the security awareness training program the holistic approach shall be adopted covering the security issues throughout the organization so that the staff is imparted with the effective training for the mechanisms to be adopted to cover all the security issues that arise throughout the organization. The holistic approach uses the multiple communication channels. The dissemination of information through multiple communication channels within the organization ensure the imparting of training information and solutions for the security issues to the reach of audience multiple times which results in more effectiveness than single transmission of the information.
Identify levels of responsibility
The individuals in an organization shall be grouped in accordance with their functions and job role within the organization. The roles of the individuals shall also be defined silo that the training that is intended to be imparted to them may incorporate the practices that are best suitable with their job role and functions. This will remove the difficulties well in advance that may incur as a result of implementing the security practices in the functions they perform as part of their job role within the organization. Therefore for the effectiveness of the security awareness training program the levels of responsibility of each individual in the organization participating in the training program has to be defined otherwise the job specific security mechanisms will not be understood by him during the training and the purpose of implementing the safe computing practices in the operations and functions of the organization will not be achieved. (Federal Information, 2010)
Risks of offshore outsourcing of information system functions
Information system functions are the tasks which strictly require the adherence to the principles of confidentiality and privacy. Offshore outsourcing refers to as the contracting with the provider who is located outside the country for the provision of services related to IT functions of an enterprise. The offshore outsourcing of information systems is the result puff factors in the economic scenario such as globalization, privatization, technological development and cultural and knowledge exchange among countries. However the geographical distances create more risks than onshore outsourcing. The major risks posed by the offshore outsourcing of information system functions in relation to satisfying the principles of confidentiality and privacy are as follows:
Risks related to information hoarding
The offshore outsourcing of IT functions involve transfer of IT systems and software to the provider located abroad. The IT systems and software which are transferred sometimes contain useful and confidential information which could be misused by the provider. However the contract of offshore outsourcing contains the terms of complying with the principles of confidentiality and privacy but the hoarding of information by the provider might be an easy task which could be done against the principles of confidentiality and privacy. The leakage of confidential information might be a great loss for any enterprise which may create other related risks such as loss of reputation if the leaked information reaches to the access of unauthorised users or competitors. Also the misuse of information may create problems for the political and economic system of the country (Ahmed, 2014).
Risks related to legal problems
The framework of international business relationships suggest that there cannot be a uniform legal framework that may operate within various countries as a result of which the offshore outsourcing faces many problems that directly relate to the language, cultuture, politics and law. As far as offshore outsourcing of IT functions are concerned the legal issues arise with both the parties to the contract that relate to the licensing of softwares, data authorization controls, language used in the softwares, laws of intellectual property and data protection and security laws. The legal factors influencing the performance of IT functions within one country may harm the outsourcing relationship with clients in other countries since the IT laws in the two countries may differ. Thus the IT functions which are not performed within the jurisdiction of a country may include certain aspects or functions that may be illegal in the country of service receiver. This creates the risks of legal compliance and data protection for the entity outsourcing its IT functions. Also the data protection laws that apply to the IT functions of such enterprise may not be complied by the provider and thus the principles of confidentiality and privacy may be violated by him in context of providing the services related to information systems outsourced (Irani, 2010)
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