An accounting information system involves collecting data and converting it into information used by those who need it, such as a company or business management and investors. The process is accomplished through the use of computer systems, which range from personal computers to big company servers. A good system is carefully planned and designed, installed, managed and improved in order to meet changing demands.
Before developing an information system, the needs of the internal and external users need to be established. Then the source of the information, records and procedures for collecting and reporting data must be identified. The system must be cost-effective. The benefits must supersede the costs.
Input devices used in accounting information systems include personal computers, scanning devices and keyboards, among others. Output devices include computer display, printers, printed information on a paper and financial reports.
The system designed must be useful to the stakeholders and information must be easy to understand. It must also be relevant, up-to-date, dependable and accurate. In order to make it usable by everyone, a designer of an accounting information system must take into account the needs and knowledge of various users.
The system must be easy to change in order to meet evolving demands. It must be able to accommodate a variety of information users and changing information needs. Personnel must be trained and the system must be wholly operational.