Connecting Your Business With the Right Computer System
Business Advice From CPAs
Selecting the right computer system for your business is an investment in your company’s growth and overall success. A computer that is suited to your business’ needs will enable you to:
- RUN YOUR BUSINESS MORE EFFICIENTLY & COST-EFFECTIVELY.
- EXPAND YOUR FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES.
- HELP INCREASE PROFITABILITY.
Certified public accountants (CPAs) can assist you in identifying a computer system that fits the requirements of your particular business.
AUTOMATING YOUR BUSINESS
Computerizing your business involves more than just going out and purchasing the latest model. It requires extensive planning and research. Before purchasing a system, make sure you consider questions such as:
- What do you expect the computer system to accomplish?
- Will Installing the system be cost-effective?
- What are your hardware and software needs?
- Does the software you need exist, or does it have to be developed?
- Is the hardware compatible with your software selection?
- What will the entire conversion cost you financially and in terms of time?
- How can employees be trained to operate the new system effectively?
CPAs can help you answer these questions to ensure that your business is using the latest technology effectively.
WHERE DO YOU STAND NOW?
Whether you are converting from a manual system or from an existing computer system, you need to evaluate your current system by reviewing the operations and identifying problem areas. For example, late and inaccurate monthly financial statements, slow turnover of accounts receivable, or frequent inventory stockouts may indicate that a system conversion should be considered. A CPA can help you focus on problem areas and set realistic objectives. As a result, you will be better equipped to select a system that can help you overcome these problems and meet your objectives.
The following may indicate that your business can benefit from a computer system:
- High clerical involvement or labor cost
- Repetitious or a large number of time-consuming tasks
- Complex mathematical calculations
- Recordkeeping that requires a high degree of accuracy
- Processing that requires timely provision of information
- Need for timely production of management reports
BENEFITS OF COMPUTERS
A properly designed computer system can help perform many of the critical business functions of your company. With proper application of the appropriate hardware and software, computers can accomplish the following:
- Expedite the preparation of financial statements while minimizing the potential for clerical and computational errors.
- Enhance the process of analyzing financial and operational performance.
- Allow you to see the effects of different financial decisions quickly by the use of electronic spreadsheets.
- Improve your business’ communications through links with other computers across the country.
SELECTING SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE
Software is the term given to the application programs that run the computer. Software can be general purpose, custom-written, or industry-specific.
Some of the considerations in selecting software packages are ease of use, quality of documentation, and vendor support.
Hardware must be fully capable of accepting data input, processing it, and generating output within a reasonable time.
Following are some other important factors to consider when selecting hardware:
- Present and projected volume of data to be processed
- Manufacturer support
- Ease of equipment operation
- Expandability of equipment for future uses
- Reliability of the hardware, the vendor, and the manufacturer
- Compatibility of printers, monitors and other peripherals
CPAs – with their knowledge of computers and businesses – can simplify the process of selecting and implementing a computer system.
IMPLEMENTING A SYSTEM
Implementing the right computer system for your business requires an understanding of information technology, business planning, management information systems, and application of accounting and other controls crucial to the overall system.
As a business owner, you may not have the time or expertise to automate your company. CPAs can help you better understand exactly what computers can do for you and your business.
A CPA CAN HELP YOU
- Determine your business’ automation objectives.
- Review existing policies and procedures and recommend the necessary changes.
- Develop software requirements.
- Select software and hardware.
- Develop an action plan for implementation.
- Train personnel.
- Prepare business data for conversion to computer records.
- Install the computer and software.
- Initiate and monitor operations of the new system.
- Determine the need for system modifications.
- Implement modifications.
- Evaluate performance of the computer system and recommend the necessary modifications or enhancements.
- Develop procedures for ensuring security of data.
- Provide ongoing support.
By blending their knowledge of your business with their knowledge of computers, CPAs can help you select and implement a computer system suitable for your needs.