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Strategic Information Systems for Software Packages

Question:

Discuss about the Strategic Information Systems for Software Packages.

Answer:

Introduction

Accounting is an industry that has its place in a number of different sectors and is applied across all types of businesses in one way or the other. There are a number of services and operations that come under the accounting procedure and the industry has witnessed some of the major revolutions in the past few years. There have been massive developments and changes as per the changes in the technology. The report covers the brief history of the accounting industry in Australia and also throws some light on the development procedure along with the adoption of the same. The market size at present specific to the accounting industry in Australia has also been discussed along with five popular software packages that are used in the same. There are a number of gaps and issues that exist for the users that have also been covered in the report.

History of Accounting Software/Packages

Accounting industry is Australia has changed rapidly and the period from 1970s to the present date has had some of the massive revolutions. Paper based accounting has existed all across the globe including Australia since many years. There were a number of methods that were used in the paper based accounting technique and there were also a few changes and alterations done in the same. 1970s saw the rise of personal computers which changed the outlook of the world and was a disruptive innovation in the market. With the rise of the same, there was a gradual shift from paper based accounting to the automated and computer based accounting. Later half of 1980s and the entire 1990s saw the development of accounting on the basis of changes in the computing technologies and introduced new concepts of automated invoicing and transactions in the world of accounting. The present era has also seen many changes in the field and there are analytics and Business Intelligence techniques that are applied in the accounting industry as well (Ryan, 2016).

Development and Adoption

The accounting industry along with the practices that are followed under the same has seen some of the major developments in the recent times. The software packages that are now developed for the purpose of accounting operations comprises of features such as faster services along with easy transaction management, tax processing, non-stop assistance, simpler query handling and easy navigation for the customer. The interaction between the customer and the business unit is also kept in mind during the development procedure. The adoption among the customers is also on the basis of the preference to the software that provides all of these features at the lowest cost and excellent customer service (James, 2016).

Current Market Size

Accounting industry in Australia is among the few names that stood still during the global financial crisis that adversely impacted a lot many organizations and industries all across the globe (afpbb.net.au, 2016). There are around 9,968 firms in Australia that are a part of the accounting industry and workforce that is employed with the same is close to 133,000 professionals (bankwest.com.au, 2015). There is a lot of research, analytics and development work that constantly goes on in this industry and the growth rate that has been predicted for this year is approximately 5.5%. The same will enable the accounting industry in Australia to achieve a net income of AUD 20.7 million.

Accounting Software/Packages

Intuit QuickBooks

There are a lot many accounting software that are present in Australia and Intuit QuickBooks is a known name among the customers out of all those packages. The major reason behind its popularity among the customers is its extremely affordable cost of $12 and $21 per month for the basic and advanced versions respectively. The features that come with this software are also amazing and it offers the best to the home and business users. The latter can make use of Intuit QuickBooks to get a picture of all of their operations in the real-time. The software also scores excellent on the basic and advanced accounting services associated with billing, transaction management, tax processing and many others. Security mechanism of advanced category comes bundled up with this software which makes it a reputed name in the current market (advisoryhq.com, 2015).

MYOB Accounting Software

Out of all the accounting software that are available in Australia, MYOB is counted among the most trusted ones. MYOB is made available at the cost of $50 to $99 per month and the cost varies as per the services that are incorporated in the same. Apart from the excellent accounting services, MYOB also scores superb on the technological aspects. This is the software that can be easily used by the customer in the online as well as the offline modes. Speed of the internet connection and the slippages in the same does not affect the performance in any way (.myob.com, 2016).

Reckon

Reckon is software that provides basic to superbly advanced accounting services and starts at the monthly rental of $5. The cost goes higher and higher with the addition of more and more services. This is the software that is fairly good on the technical aspects and the accounting operations as well. All of the Point of Sale (POS) transactions can be easily integrated with the help of this software to all the business units. It also provides a number of additional features such as resource management and planning, digital integration and many others apart from the accounting services.

Saasu

Accounting industry and the software that provide the services are growing with the growth in the technology. Saasu is accounting software that is an apt example of this growth and has been termed as next gen software by the technical and accounting experts. This one comes at an affordable monthly rental of $15 for the basic version and can go up to $180 as per the set of features that are demanded. This one provides connection and integration with the other entities with extreme ease and is also excellent in terms of the user experience and UI aspects.

Xero

Another top software package in the list of the accounting software that are used in Australia is Xero. It is the package that comes with a number of different features in terms of invoicing, billing, credit management, reconciliation, assets management and many others.  Reporting is also an advanced feature that is included in this software and it provides the users to retrieve the reports on the basis of a combination of many useful filters. It is made available to the customers at the monthly rental that varies in between $9 to $70. The user interface that comes with this software scores superb on the basis of the UI/UX design principles.

Accounting Software/Packages - Challenges for users

One of the prime challenges that the users face in the world of accounting is in terms of the security. There are a number of security risks that the accounting software and packages are exposed to and the same can take a heavy toll on the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information that is included in the same. There are many attacks that are executed to gain unauthorized access to the user information which can have some serious damages. There have been many cases of fraud and misuse in the past and the same appears as a huge gap for the users.

Cost is also a serious challenge and concern for the users as the different software come with different costs which may or may not be easily affordable in nature for all of the customers. Home users and the small scale organizations find it troublesome to afford the advanced versions of the software and the same appears as a serious gap for the customers (Crowder, 2016).

There are simple and also some of the complex operations that are included in the accounting software. These operations can prove to be difficult to understand for the users and they may face big challenges to come to terms with the same. There can be human errors that are done by the user due to inability to understand which may or may not be rolled back. It is also essential to have a training document or user manual bundled up with the software so that the user may have a guideline to follow. There are cases when such a document goes missing from the software which appears as a serious challenge for the users.

Users also find trouble and challenges while installing the software at their machines due to various technological factors. These may be difficult to understand for the non-technical user and can be a serious cause of concern as well.

References

Carey, M. (2015) Cloud Accounting Overview 2015: MYOB Essentials vs Xero vs Intuit QuickBooks Online vs Reckon One - Digital First. [online] Digital First. Available at: http://www.digitalfirst.com/2015-overview-cloud-accounting-software/ [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

Crowder, C. (2016) [online] Techin.oureverydaylife.com. Available at: http://techin.oureverydaylife.com/disadvantages-accounting-software-1965.html [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

James, D. (2016) 7 accounting packages for Australian small businesses compared: including MYOB, QuickBooks Online, Reckon, Xero. [online] BIT. Available at: http://www.bit.com.au/Review/344651,7-accounting-packages-for-australian-small-businesses-compared-including-myob-quickbooks-online-reckon-xero.aspx [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

Ryan, E. (2016) The evolution of accounting software: past, presert and future |. [online] Gaaaccounting.com. Available at: http://www.gaaaccounting.com/the-evolution-of-accounting-software-past-present-and-future/ [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

advisoryhq.com, (2015) 5 Best Small Business Accounting Software in Australia. [online] AdvisoryHQ. Available at: http://www.advisoryhq.com/articles/5-best-small-business-accounting-software-in-australia/ [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

afpbb.net.au, (2016) The Australian Accounting Industry. [online] Afpbb.net.au. Available at: http://www.afpbb.net.au/Resources/TheAustralianAccountingIndustry.aspx [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

bankwest.com.au, (2015) Accounting Services Industry Report. 1st ed. [ebook] Bankwest. Available at: https://www.bankwest.com.au/cs/ContentServer%3Fpagename%3DFoundation/CS/Blob/Document%26id%3D1292539844555%26ext%3D.pdf+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

myob.com, (2016) Online Accounting Software for Businesses | MYOB. [online] Myob.com. Available at: https://www.myob.com/au/accounting-software/compare [Accessed 28 Aug. 2016].

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