Each accountant appreciates that accounting is the basic language used in business and as such, the language has gone through numerous transformational phases to date. Throughout these transformational phases, embracing novel accounting technology has been significant towards ensuring the job of an accountant is effected effectively, efficiently and with considerable ease (Nobes, 2015). Acquired knowledge on accounting technologies has appraised the capabilities of accountants to critically analyze statistical data. More so, the innovative advancements in technology have also positively impacted on the manner with which accountants interpret data. As such, the new capabilities concerned with the interpretation of jargons used in the language of business have enabled the accounting profession to be more trustworthy thus improving investor confidence towards driving economies forward. This paper seeks to discuss how technology improves the roles played by public, management, government, and not-for-profit accountants.
The primary role of public accountants in the contemporary business environment is to ascertain that financial reports prepared are in line with the quality standards prescribed. Competent public accountants are thus considered as a business’ invaluable asset (Nobes, 2015). For public accountants, technology expertise relates to the understanding as to how new accounting oriented technology products can appraise business results. As such, the appropriate use of accounting technologies enables enhancing accounting service delivery and by extension capitalizing on output while making the most of prevalent time constraints. Accounting technologies has enabled this to come to fruition as paper ledgers, calculators and pencils have effectively been eliminated (Krahel & Vasarhelyi, 2014). The margins of error have also been significantly lowered. On the same note, errors can be easily and conveniently highlighted and corrected appropriately. As such, technology enables for public accounting jobs to be effected faster and more accurately.
The role of management accountants in a business entity involves supporting competitive decision-making processes (Nobes, 2015). Through the collection, analysis, processing and communication of organizational information, management accountants assist in management planning, control and the evaluation of organizational strategies and processes (Krahel & Vasarhelyi, 2014). Management accounting information is not only used by executive as well as management teams in a business but also critically used in decision-making processes effected by external stakeholders. The external stakeholders include regulatory bodies, government institutions such as the IRS, creditors and investors.
Computerized information systems more so, database systems, have progressively evolved to enable organizations to perceive them as economically feasible (Krahel & Vasarhelyi, 2014). Such database systems allow management accountants to constantly and accurately keep track of diverse organizational functions. They also ensure information contained therein is traceable, accurate and can be accessed on demand. The challenge that arises from such computerized systems involves the vast amount of data contained herein as organization of such data may tend to overload executives as well as other management teams (Krahel & Vasarhelyi, 2014). Management accountants thus, have to stay well versed with current accounting technology developments and innovations. As such, one of the current business trends concerning management accountants involves possessing expert skills in system design, change management, relating cost management to organizational strategies as well as appraising other related expertise in different functional areas.
The primary role of government accountants is to review financial information and documentation for government as well as taxpayers. This involves auditing tax accounts, ensure businesses, non-governmental agencies and the accounting profession complies which Federal laws and regulations (Nobes, 2015). Government accountants also assist government as well as international agencies and legislators with evaluating and ascertaining the accuracy of financial data. They also play significant role in the formulation of government budgets, procurement processes and the preparation of payrolls for government employees.
Technology plays an integral role in appraising the manner with which government accountants, also referred to as accounting officers perform duties and roles assigned to them. Any information the government maintain is deemed as a public asset and as such, has to be quickly disclosed through protocols that the general public can use and more so, access easily. Information technology has enabled for the innovative development of accounting reporting and analyzing techniques which appraise transparency in government accounting (Krahel & Vasarhelyi, 2014). This enables governments to successfully implement national budgets in a transparent, cost effective processes which by extension serve to appraise accountability thus fostering greater trust in government initiatives, operations and policies.
Not for Profit Accountants
Not for profit or nonprofit organizations include youth organizations, churches, and even the local authority’s chambers for commerce. These are institutions whose mission, values and vision are guided not by profit but the quest to address prevailing social needs of a given section of society (Nobes, 2015). Not for profit organizations therefore project an organizational structure that is unique. For instance, they have no identifiable owners, seek to improve social welfare, and are tax exempt while financial information is reported differently.
Not for profit organizations face the harsh reality which requires them to operate lean institutions working on tight budgets. As such, investments in information technology may be low as compared to profit oriented businesses and governments (Krahel & Vasarhelyi, 2014). However, the accountants in these organizations in essence require information technology not only to make work effective, efficient and easier but to also ensure that they conform to strict cost cutting exercises aimed at conforming to tight budget allocations. Nonprofit accountants therefore use technology developments to innovatively track budget allocations, multiple donor funds accounts, maximizing on the use of grant funds and the reproduction of accurate audit ready financial statements.
Regardless of the field in which an accountant specializes in, their aptitude concerning the utilization of new business technologies is critical. As this essay has outlined, the different roles of management accountants, public accountants, not for profit accountants as well as government accountants need technology. Accounting technologies allow for better traceability, minimal accounting errors, rapid analysis and dissemination of accounting information to those who requite it. As such, business technologies have come to enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies of the accounting profession with commendable results.
Krahel, J. P., & Vasarhelyi, M. A. (2014). AIS as a Facilitator of Accounting Change: Technology, Practice, and Education. Journal of Information Systems, 28(2), 1-15.
Nobes, C. W. (2015). The International Transfer of Technology: Examples from the Development of Accounting. European Accounting and Management Review, 2(1).