1.1 Background of the study
Every organization, private or public profit making or non-profit making, large or small scale, uses accounting information to make decision and information need vary according to the information each users requires. Initially, the appropriate information was prepare manually by the accountant and this has a number of drawbacks. But with the advent of computer technology, the accountants now has at his disposal a number of accounting information tools that help him in simplifying issues and providing quality information for the organization he render services to which will enable them make profitable decision, for the success or failure of an establishment depend on their management and use of accounting information. Accounting as defined by Onyekwelu (2010:4) as that systematic approach procedures and process adopted in gathering, recording of data relating to economic and financial transaction of any organization. (Profit or non-profit making), sorting, classifying. Summarizing, computing, analyzing, interpreting and communicating the outcome of these process to the users or interpret parties/stakeholders.
On the other hand, computer as defined by Ekemezie and Ngene (2004:26) as an electronic device that can accept input data, processes the data retrives the stored data and produces output in a desire format.
It can also been seen as a functional devices which have electronic, electrical and mechanical features respectively and have the capacity to perform the following functions solving and defining problems:
i. Accounting data instructions necessary for solving a defined problem.
ii. Process such instructions as at when due according to some prescribed guideline-albeit computer program.
iii. Store instruction/data for reference purpose through a recall or trivial mechanism and for futuristic purpose.
iv. Present a feedbacks to its users and or other interacting systems as a consequence of the process function.
v. May have the capacity for communication and resource sharing.
There is also considerable evidence of accounting being practiced in ancient times in Egypt, China, Greece and Rome. In England the “pipe Roll” the oldest surviving account record in the English language contains an annual description of rents fines and taxes due to the king of England, from 1130 to 1830.
When accounting information was being recorded in the middle ages, it sometimes simply took the form of a collection of invoice receipts which were given to an accountant to calculate the profit and loss of the business up to some point in time. The accountants of the middle ages would be someone who learnt how to convert financial transaction data into accounting information. Quite often, the owner of the business perform the function.
As business grew in size, so it became less common for the owner to personally maintain the accounting records and more usual for someone to be employed as an accounts clerk. As companies began to dominate the business environment managers became separated from owners. This led to a need for some monitoring of the managers. Auditing of financial records been account became the norm and this effectively established the accounting profession.
Computer where not let out in the development, there hav been Five (5) major generation or stages which include: the first generation which existed from 1940-1956, it relied on vacuum tubes to store and process information. The major change that was made to the second generation that existed from 1956-1963 was the replacement of vacuum tubes with transistory. The third generation which came into operation from 1964-1971 relied heavily on intergraded circuits. The fourth generation of computer extends from 1971 to present and it relied on micro-processor and the fifth generation which is from present and beyond relied on Artificial intelligence, with the advent of this set of computer processing speed have increased and mobile computing is made.
In view of the above fact, the researcher wishes to investigate on the impact of computer technology in the enhancement of accounting information in the Nigeria public sector and also provide useful recommendation to management.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Originally accounting was being handled manually although with its attendant problems which include: slow speed in accounting information, reporting and by extension slow business planning and decision making with the advent of computer technology, most organization began to computerized their accounting information so as to correct the defects of manual accounting system and also give them a competitive edge against competitor. Some serious question readily come to mind at this juncture how effective have reporting of financial/accounting information have been since the application of computers to accounting? Are the owners, managers of the business better and quickly informed about the financial situation of their business? Are the accountants or auditors who are the eyes of shareholder finding it easier to audit account due to its computerization? Are the control which normally would have worked perfectly in manual accounting system made possible when computer infringement on privacy and loss of files, is it higher in the manual accounting system or in the computerized accounting system? These are the pertinent questions which we shall provide answers for in the study.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The research work, the impact of computer technology in the enhancement of accounting information in the Nigerian public sectors has the following objectives by the researcher.
i. The study will try to evaluate the effects of computer technology in accounting information.
ii. To determine how computer technology lead to the enhancement of accounting information in the public sector.
iii. To evaluate the importance of computerized accounting over manual accounting information.
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