1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Accounting system according to an Italian monk, Luca Pacioli (2001), is the combination of personnel records and procedures that a business uses to meet its need for financial data. Financial accounting also encompasses the summary of information and presentation of periodic reports such as profit and loss statement and balance sheet. The historical firms of accounting were of different degree of sophistication according to the need and techniques of the time. This is why modern accounting is based on the double entry system and the recognition of the dual nature of each transaction and this gives a co-ordinate support for the control of all the transaction of a business.
Accounting system according to business dictionary is an organized set of manual and computerized accounting methods, procedures and controls established to gather, record, classify, analyze, summarize, interpret and present accurate and timely financial data for management decisions.
In spite of this, there are policies for reporting on an organization performance and current conditions. These policies increase the usefulness of report including their reliability and comparability. The policy that makes up acceptable accounting practices are determined by many individuals and groups and those policies are referred to as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Since accounting is a service activity, these rules reflect our society’s needs and not only on those of accountants. The financial Accounting standard Board (FASB) is another body or group that is seen as an independent group of seven full-time members with a large staff. This body has issued six statements of accounting concepts which help in guiding accounting standard setting. Many companies and organizations involve themselves in setting accounting rules/policies. They include investors, government agencies, politicians, unions, lenders and other business and non-business organizations.
Furthermore, there are two major types of methods used in recording accounting information, such methods are manual accounting system and software accounting system or computerized accounting system. Manual accounting system extends and includes the method of processing, recording, journalizing transactions posting to the ledgers and preparing the financial statements which provide decision makers with useful information in making decisions. These decisions relate to the allocation and use of scarce economic resources such as money, land, labour and capital. These manual accounting systems are wholly used for preparing income tax returns, reports to managers, bills to customers and other forms of providing accounting information.
In addition, with manual accounting system, accountants and managers usually inspect the documents, journal ledgers and reports in the performance of testing and verification. Transaction can be traced from source documents to journals, general ledgers, printed report etc. Subsidiary ledgers can be posted and the total can be compared with control accounts. It is visually observed by the auditors or accountants to determine whether proper books of accounts or is being followed.
Technology is a main part of our modern society and business practices. It also plays a major important in accounting as it help in reducing the time, effort and cost of record keeping while improving clerical accuracy. Technology has distinct the way we store, process and summarize large masses of data which makes accounting free to increase its field.
The origin of software could be dated back to early 1960s. Historically, emphasis in computer industry was on programming and was seen as the biggest single problem in the implementation of a computer system. Computer has the ability to add and subtract, but frequently not to multiply or divide, the computer run with relatively simple software routines.
However, this study tends to analyze the comparison between manual accounting and software accounting which are the two types of accounting system used by various organizations and companies.
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