Implementing Systems Effectively:
Much of the accounting process has been taken over by office automation systems. Whereas once the vast majority of bookkeeping and reporting took the form of hard copy preparation, in the modern age the increasing sophistication of computer and software systems has virtually eliminated the need for manual bookkeeping and accounting systems.
Hardware is the term given to the computers and computer peripherals. Hardware includes the computer itself (either desktop or laptop, networked or standalone), servers (if a network operation is used) and peripherals such as printers, scanners and copiers.
Hardware should be updated regularly to meet the needs of the organisation. Computers quickly become redundant and in order to run the latest programs, and meet the increasingly technical needs of staff and clients, computer systems should be reviewed every 18 months to two years.
Similarly, as organisations choose and implement software programs, reviews of hardware should be undertaken to ensure that the newly installed software program will operate on the hardware in place in the business.
Software is the term given to the actual programs that run on the hardware computer systems.
The types of software available are virtually limitless, however common software types include:
- Operating Systems (such as Microsoft Windows)
- Word Processor Programs (such as Microsoft Word)
- Internet Browser programs (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox)
- Database Systems (such as Microsoft Access)
In the financial management area many software companies produce accounting and financial management software. Popular programs include MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) Accounting and Quicken QuickBooks.
In addition to general accounting and financial management software, other software exists to meet more specialist needs. Examples include trust accounting software (which conforms to the special legislative requirements relating to trust accounts) and property management software (such as Rockend).
Software requirements vary from agency to agency, however in the vast majority of cases the basic requirements would include an accounting program and trust accounting (and where applicable the property management program).