The Affects of Information Technology on the Accounting Education

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1 The Affects of Information Technology on the Accounting Education WANG Yufa School of Economics and Management, Henan Polytechnic University, P. R. China, Abstract:Information Systems and Technology have greatly affected the accounting profession. For example a task that normally would take eight clerks to perform can be accomplished by one accountant. Information Technology has now made it easier for accountants to generate reports and perform year-end closes. A number of professional organizations have called on accounting faculty to use technology in their courses. Given the range of technologies available, the purpose of this study is to determine what technologies have widespread applied among accounting educators. In addition, from this study we can learn the differences among educators in their choices of technology and the extent to which they use it. The information presented in this article also can be used by administrators to develop an effective policy which can ensure broad participation of faculty in the integration of technology into the university curriculum in China. Considering major globalization impacts on accounting professions, accounting educators are recommended to pay special attention to this issue. Key words: Information systems and technology, accounting profession, affects 1 Introduction With the recent advances in computer technology, accounting approaches providing organizations with information are increasingly insufficient. Many organizations have been challenged with implementing new accounting systems. Just finding the right accounting software is a time-consuming, tedious job. An organization must first understand the importance of the accounting information system (AIS) and what makes it efficient. An AIS is a system of collecting and processing transaction data and disseminating financial information to interested parties. Factors that shape the AIS include natures of the business, the size of the firm, volume of data, and the informational demand that management and others place on the system. AIS data is processed to external stakeholders--stockholders and government agencies--in addition to its internal use. This data must be certifiably free of specific type errors since a firm is subject to data quality control assessment conducted by auditors at anytime during operations. Therefore, it is important that AIS produces relevant and reliable information. The International Education Guideline (IEG) 11 issued by IFAC s Education Committee considers that Information Technology is pervasive in the world of business and competence with this technology is imperative for the professional accountant. In addition to the statements widely made by academics and practitioners, it is important to empirically analyze current University practices in order to detect to what extent what has been said has also been absorbed by the Accounting Curriculum. A professional with competence and skills to work in different jurisdictions and worldwide is key in today s economy. The exchange of professionals between countries should consider not only standard International Accounting knowledge but also a number of business tools being extensively used today, such as IT. With the borders no longer what they were in the past, with the sovereignty concept in crisis and with the need of our country to affirm spaces where it possesses more likeness, the relationship America-Brazil should be a privileged relationship in the world context. (Moreira, President of the Portuguese Council of Higher education evaluation - CNAES). Considering this relationship between America and Brazil, and United States influence on China accounting practices as well, it is important to compare the similarities and differences between two countries that are physically apart, and while still sharing cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This research attempts to provide some indication of the IT relevance in Universities Accounting Curricula, and also identify Globalization level as proposed by Boritz (1999),Specially Pointed out has difference between China and US. The results aim to provide information and insights for educators 231

2 who are in the position of organizing Accounting curricula at Educational Institutions. The present paper is organized as follows: The Literature review provides an overview of existing IT literature on Accounting Education, followed by a section of research method. The last section presents research results and discussion. Some limitations and recommendations are presented in the last part of the paper. 2 Literature Review Although increasing attention has been given to Information Technology in Business and Accounting Education (Benbunan-Fich, 2001) (Boritz, 1999), (Jackson 1998, 2002) (Fox, 1998) (Jackson, 1998) (Fuess, 2001), little research has been conducted in the area of Information Technology education, especially in Brazil. This section reviews existing literature references that discuss Information Technology and Globalization in Accounting Curricula. Following Boritz (1999) definition Globalization is a movement towards harmonization of practices, standards and professional qualification programs, this paper attempts to analyze the part played by qualification programs in the role played by globalization. The IT curriculum in Accounting may include complementary issues and aspects of Computer Technology and applications such as General Systems Theory, Accounting Information Systems, Business systems and design, handling skills, Internet tools among others. The role of the accountants, as well as other business professionals, is changing dramatically as the world becomes more technology oriented. (Jackson, 1998;13). Therefore, a well crafted AIS curriculum can attract new students, particularly those who are interested in a more techno-oriented approach to accounting, who see the institution as offering a cutting-edge program that will produce highly marketable job applicants, as stated by Fox (1998; 15) Considering that Information Technology skills are more important than ever for accountants, Brigham Young University in UK has developed a comprehensive program to provide a strong education in systems and information technology to its accountants (Jackson 1998). Japanese Universities in recent years have been under pressure to internationalize their curricula and make undergraduate studies more cross-disciplinary. (Fuess, 2001) However, Fuess (2001) also concludes that planning a global curriculum is difficult considering the rooted Information Technology. Although some research focusing IT curriculum and globalization has been carried out, it is still shy considering the amount of research focusing financial issues. Among other reasons, this discussion results from regional crises, as well as professionals increase moving around the world while involved in multinational companies activities. As a result, International bodies such as ISAR, IFAC, ACCA and UNF have called the attention for the creation of a global curriculum to serve as benchmark for developing countries. The Model Curriculum developed by ISAR suggests 4 blocks of knowledge: 1. Organizational and business Knowledge 2. Information Technology 3. Accounting and accounting-related knowledge 4. General Knowledge The Information Technology block is detailed as follows: Information technology (IT) concepts for business systems Internal control in computer-based business Development standards and practices for business systems The management of IT adoption, implementation and use Managing the security of information Artificial intelligence, expert systems, fuzzy logic, etc Electronic commerce Some IT implementation has been seen in different parts of the world according to IEG11, issued by the Education Committee in 1995 (revised in 1998), thus indicating some curriculum orientation s practice. The General IT Education Requirement in the pre-qualification level addresses five major content areas: 1. Information technology concepts for business systems; 2. Internal control in computer-based systems; 3. Management of IT adoption, implementation and use; 232

3 4. Development standards and practices for business systems; 5. Evaluation of computer-based business systems. The General IT Education Requirements state that prior to qualification all professional accountants must have at least a general level of knowledge of each of the content areas identified above. Considering the similarities between IFAC and ISAR, the research design considered the following eight topics as guideline for curriculum analysis: 1) Information technology (IT) concepts for business systems; 2) Internal control in computer-based business systems; 3) Development standards and practices for business systems; 4) The management of IT adoption, implementation and use; 5) Managing the security of information; 6) Artificial intelligence, expert systems, fuzzy logic, etc; 7) Electronic commerce; Blocks 8) Evaluation of computer-based business systems. 3 Results 17%2 3of knowledge Curricula in America Accounting According to our investigation, IT disciplines considered as a block of knowledge still represent a minor portion of the whole Accounting curriculum. Picture 1 and 2 show the percentage of each of the four blocks of knowledge in American and 10% 13% 4 60% China University Accounting Curricula. Figure 1: Blocks of Knowledge in American Accounting Curricula. In American Accounting Curricula, Accounting and Accounting related knowledge (60%) is the major focus for the course, followed by Organizational Knowledge (17%) General Knowledge (13%) and IT Knowledge(10%). Figure 2: Blocks of Knowledge in China Accounting Curricula In China Accounting Curricula, Organizational Knowledge (65%) is the major focus for the course, followed by Accounting and Accounting related knowledge (17%) General Knowledge (15%) and IT Knowledge (3%). 233

4 Blocks 17%2 3of knowledge Curricula in China Accounting 3% 15% 4 65% The aggregation of IT disciplines in the 25 China Universities represents 3% of the total. In American it represents 10% of the total of Accounting Curricula. Although those figures alone may indicate that little attention is given to IT, the content of the discipline program plays an important role in this analysis. 4 Conclusion and Discussion In the age of information and increasing use of technology, market requirements for accounting graduates are changing rapidly. The training of future accountants who can fit into the highly technology-based environment is more challenging than ever before for universities. As it was expected, the most frequently used technology in accounting education is the information technology. By far the most popular applications of information technology on computers are , internet, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and data analysis software. In addition, video technology is also used by accounting educators to some. As technology continues to make tremendous impact on the way businesses conduct their daily activities, information about faculty s choices of technology for teaching is of vital importance. Such information can assist us to identify what technologies and applications are appropriate for the delivery of our curriculum. No doubt a well-designed technology based curriculum requires proper planning, skills, and disposition. In search for the best teaching result in accounting education, faculty should continually look for some applications that are most likely to enhance student learning. A considerable number of companies from America are entering the market of China. Considering International market expansion, and similar cultural background and language, all foreign accounting diplomas must be validated by China universities, just as our accounting diplomas must be validated in America. Therefore, the discussion on global curricula is pertinent. This would allow professionals to have similar competencies and skills to work in countries. The IT professionals of China have been increasingly recruited every year by developed countries, as USA for instance, by offering better work positions. However, accounting students are still leaving t universities with low IT knowledge, as the research has indicated. When they finished university accounting courses, this lack of knowledge could be offset by other courses or training programs which may result into a delay to enter the job market. 5 Limitations and Future Research Some limitations of this paper are concerned with the availability of the IT program on the Internet. In the cases where the full program was not available, the name of the topic was considered. It may lead to some classification errors Portuguese accounting courses offer different areas of specialization, such as Auditing, Systems, Business or Accounting and Finance. These specializations are a complement for the 234

5 3 years of mandatory disciplines. In this case, to define a complete curriculum and homogenize the sample, the authors choice was for a 3-year curriculum, added by specialization in Accounting and inane whenever possible. This would integrate a most common curriculum in order to compare with China Universities. Future research is this issue is necessary. The comparison with other countries would bring important information as to the level of Technology Corporation in accounting curricula. It would be necessary to interview practitioners in order to detect the consequences brought by the lack of such knowledge. References [1]Edson Luiz Riccio, Ph.D ssociate Professor at University of São Paulo, Brazil ntegrating information technology into the marketing curriculum: A pragmatic aradigm Journal of Marketing Education; Boulder; Apr 2001; Vol.23, Issue 1, p.5-15 [2]American Accounting Association (AAA), Committee on the Future Structure, Content, andscope of Accounting Education (The Bedford Committee) Future Accounting Education: Preparing for the Expanding Profession, Issues in Accounting Education (Spring 1986), pp [3]American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, Gender Gap: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children (American Institutes for Research, 1998). [4]Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC), Objectives of Education for Accountants: Position Statement No. One, (September, 1990). [5]American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) AICPA Core Competency Framework for Entry Into the Accounting Profession (AICPA, 1998). [6]Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Achieving Quality and Continuous Improvement through Self-Evaluation and Peer Review (AACSB International, April 20, 1993). [7]Bryant, Stephanie M. and James E. Hunton, The Use of Technology in the Delivery of Instruction: Implications for Accounting Educators and Education Researchers, Issues in Accounting Education (February 200), pp [8]Daigle, Ronald J. and Philip W. Morris, Gender Differences in Accounting Student Attitudes and Experience Towards Computers, (1999), pp [9]Hasselback, James R. Prentice Hall Accounting Faculty Directory (Prentice Hall, Inc. 2000). [10]Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), The Practice Analysis of Management Accounting (March 1996). [12]Levin, T. and C. Gordon, Effects of Gender and Computer Experience on Attitudes Toward Computers, Journal of Educational Computing Research (1989), pp Author Brief Wang Yufa, -1975, male, the Shandong yuncheng person, the lecturer, accounting master, mainly is engaged in the audit and accountant the fundamental research and the practice work. Dr. Wang teaches in School of Economics and Management, Henan Polytechnic University now. 235

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