How to Effectively Implement an Accounting Information System
There are six main components to an accounting information system. Those who understand these components and implement the system properly will do it only once. Those that attempt to take shortcuts end up redoing the process. The components include:
• The users of the system
• The instructions and procedures of collecting, storing and managing data
• The data itself
• The software application
• The information technology infrastructure
• The internal controls and security measures put into place
The following steps are necessary to follow to implement an accounting information system effectively:
1. Detailed requirements analysis – The process of interviewing all who are involved in the system. Information from the users is gathered; this will provide the developer with the users’ specific needs.
2. Systems design – This step allows for the review of the information gathered and the creation of the new system. The process involves understanding how data is used and how it is stored.
3. Documentation – As the design of the system occurs, a record is kept to include all vendor documentation of the system and procedures. It also outlines the specific steps users need to understand to use the system. Documentation is then tested during the training portion.
4. Testing – This is the step prior to the launch where all processes are tested from input and output. The process involves testing to ensure all processes are documented. An audit trail is created to ensure management that all transactions are handled consistently.
5. Training – Takes place prior to launch and ensures that all procedures are understood. Each user learns how to use the system. This step occurs prior to data conversion.
6. Data conversion- Data with the current system is converted to the new system.
Launch occurs after all above steps are in place. Everyone within the organization is aware of the transition.
7. Support should be ongoing throughout this time, ensuring each user is capable and that all processes become familiar.
By completing all of these steps, the accounting information system is effective for the firm. Each user has the proper skills as well.