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HA2042 - Accounting Information Systems - Holmes Institute

System Analysis and Selection

Purpose of the assessment:

Students are required to:

• Understand and explain the place of an accounting information system in the context of the organisational structure and operating practices.

• Identify, analyse and compare different types of accounting information systems.

• Use different methodologies to evaluate various accounting information systems.

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Accounting Information Systems System Analysis and Selection

Prepare a report to evaluate and recommend a cloud-based accounting software for an Australian ASX-listed company of your choice.

Answer:

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

The paper is in relation to the analysis of the cloud-based accounting software that should be analysed by the company for its maintenance of accounting system. The company chosen for this analysis is the Suncorp Group Limited. The company Suncorp Group Limited is into Insurance Sector. The company wants to evaluate from the various accounting system available to it and also needs the report wherein the feasibility of the investment in the same can be justified. The two major accounting software vendors that has been analysed are SAP and Xero. The various features of the software along with its functionalities have been analysed and assessed.

2. INTRODUCTION:
Cloud computing accounting software are software of accounting that are hosted on the remote servers (Vangie Beal, 2019). The capabilities of accounting as provided by these software are similar in fashion with that of the SaaS i.e. Software as a Service. These software uses Internet for their functioning. The company Suncorp Limited is a company which is into Insurance Sector and is listed in the Australian Stock Exchange. The company needs analysis to be conducted for justifying its investment in the alternatives of the cloud based accounting software. The analysis have been conducted taking into considerations two accounting software viz. SAP and Xero. The company has gone through many major changes with respect to its functioning and business operations. The company also underwent digitalisation in recent time and therefore there was an utmost need of a software which is highly speedy and uses Internet wisely for its functioning.

There are many uses of using a cloud based accounting software. The software allows using the same through any device allowing the accountants to stay connected to the data. These software are scalable, effective in cost and they are very simple in using. These software offer world class security, real time updates, they saves paper, they can be easily customise as per the requirement of the business, the bills and invoices can easily be located through this and so a good relationship can be maintained. The most important benefit out of all is that it allows organisation of the finances and keeping track of the same wisely.SAP have accounting programs that is suitable for all the companies including start-up. It is the third largest software in the world. Xero is also among the top accounting software which helps in fulfilling the needs of accounting of all sizes. The analysis of the company and its requirement of the new software along with the analysis of the software that should be chosen have been conducted.

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3. BACKGROUND OF THE COMPANY:

The company Suncorp Group Limited is the company which is into the process of insurance, banking and finance. Itis a public company listed on the ASX and its abbreviation is SUN. The company was formed in the year 1996 and is having its headquarters at Brisbane in Australia.The company is among the medium sized banks of Australia having coverage of all the areas of wealth and banking. This company have undergone many changes with respect to ownership, business, and process and product lines.

There have been introduction of new models for attaining the goals of the stakeholders as reflected by its change in policies. The company have gone into digitalisation by introducing the mobile applications in recent times. The company is however having limited operations as it has not gone into globalisation and is operating within Australia. The company Suncorp have many competitors that have their existence in Australia. There is a large number of price cuts for influencing customers to buy policies of the companies by the Suncorp, but this is real is not the correct way of attainment of the advantage of the competitive market. The most prominent player and the rival of the company Suncorp is IAG as it controls around 30 percent of the market of insurance. However, the small companies like Youi and Budget Direct have their businesses expansion and are giving threats to Suncorp (Ruth Liew, 2015). The fact that the share prices of the company Suncorp have remained flat for a long period of time and are within the performance benchmark set for the company proves that the company is making the best use of its competitive advantage. The company is the largest company in Australia as a mid-sized bank and the largest general insurance group.

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4. SOFTWARE FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITIES:
The two accounting software packages that have been analysed are SAP and Xero. The Xero is a public software company which is having its domicile in New Zealand and offers a cloud based accounting software. Xero provides platform of software for small and medium sized companies. The model of the products being offered by it are based upon the model of SaaS and these models are sold by subscription which is having basis of the type and the number of companies being managed by its subscriber. The products of this company is being used by companies across 180 different countries. This company is also a public company which is being traded in the Australian Stock Exchange as XRO. The basic feature of the accounting software -Xero is the automatic feeds of account of bank and credit card, invoices, accounts payable, claims of expenses, depreciation on fixed assets, orders of purchases and the various reports being generated for the standard business management. This software can import the bank and the credit card statements automatically and it also supports tax rates and currencies that exists for multiple laws. There is also an effective feature of payroll and projects. Moreover, the company using Xero software have access to their local teams that have their presence and are located at various locations viz. New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the United States. There is one ledger which is unified wherein all the data of finance are stored. This allows the users to work in the same set of books regardless of their location and the operating system. The company have launched an app named as Xero Touch mobile apps that is accessible for devices configured under iOS and Android, offering the users of the accounting software to raise invoices while on site with the clients. Moreover, the company have partnered with the PayPal on 2016 which has further allowed payment of the invoices through PayPal. The major feature of this software is easy invoicing, going mobile, tracking of inventory, maintenance of accounts in multi-currency, connecting with third party apps, attaching files to data, creating orders of purchase, claiming the expenses, paying bills,etc.

SAP offers programs on accounting which is suitable for company of all sizes starting from companies that have less number of employees to company that are the leaders in the world having high number of employees. The company was founded in the year 1972 and it is the third largest software company that is traded publically. The products and programs being offered by the SAP are suitable for companies of all sizes. The SAP is used for companies of all size and even for growing companies and this is achieved through upgrading the software timely. The version of software of SAP can be customized for different range of industries and for various standards of employment. The software can be accessed through an app on the devices of the mobile. There are even mid-range products being offered by the company which is also known as SAP Business by Design. This is an extended version of SAP Business One which is for small and medium sized enterprise. This offers features that are expanded in nature with great reporting abilities and faster processing. This is ideal for corporations that uses information with exchange of information with the parent company. The product of SAP offering product called S/4HANA providing end to end accounting and management for the largest corporations of the world. This product is implemented directly on the premises of the client.

The list of features being offered by the software Xero is much high than that of the SAP as because Xero provides the smallest feature and customization to the highest and complicated features. Moreover, the price of the Xero is more flexible as per the requirement then that of the SAP. Both the software supports only English as their language. The prominent clients of Xero is Crush + Lovely, Three Babes Bakeshop, CEP, New Zealand Drug Foundation, etc. whereas the prominent client of SAP are McLaren Group, Great Panther Silver Limited, Trigon LLC, Umasons, etc. Xero have more than 400 partners which helps in working of the software smoothly and there is advanced level of integration available in the software of SAP.

5. IDENTIFICATION OF BEST SUITABLE SOFTWARE:
After the above analysis among the two software packages of accounting that are cloud based, the most suitable vendor for the company Suncorp Group Limited is assessed to be Xero. This is because of the fact the features available under this software package is high in number and is majorly useful for a medium sized company and Suncorp Group Limited being a medium sized company will be able to take the full advantage of the same. Some of the features are bank reconciliation, keeping the track of customers and suppliers, claims of expenses, reporting, support of email, invoicing, returns of GST, multi-currency features, etc. All this helps the company in keeping records in an organized manner and very handy which can therefore be accessed easily and in a timely manner. The software is also available on various devices. Since the company Suncorp is not yet globalised and so Xero will be able to meet the needs of the company with its features.

6. CONCLUSION:
The fact that in today's world a well accounting software package is needed for keeping the financial records update and handy cannot be ignored and the same feature is being offered by the cloud based accounting software effectively. There are however many accounting software companies offering various product lines and it again depends upon the businesses and organization adopting it, to evaluate the features of all and identify a software meeting its needs. The company Suncorp Group Limited being a medium sized company and having its operations restricted within the country Australia will get all its needs of accounting fulfilled if it take the software package from Xero. This is because it is cost friendly and effective in all aspect and moreover it can be accessed from mobile devices easily making accounting simple and convenient for the accountants as well as the managers of the company. Although SAP is also an effective software and can be upgraded with the expansion of the business but it have comparatively less features than that of Xero. Therefore, it is advisable that the company Suncorp should adopt Xero as its cloud based accounting software.

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