PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF COMPUTERIZED ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEM IN MINISTRY OF FINANCE

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PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF COMPUTERIZED ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEM IN MINISTRY OF FINANCE

PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF COMPUTERIZED ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEM IN MINISTRY OF FINANCE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY

Most business organizations maintain some forms of accounting information system ranging from few accounting records to complicated accounting records both complicated accounting records both manually and electronically operated or computerized accounting information systems.

First, financial information is gotten from source documents such as receipts, invoices, account deposit slips or paying slips from banks. Transactions are then recorded in the General Journals or special Journals and the entrics are posted into the general ledgers or subsidiary ledgers. Many organization maintain different kinds of ledgers, extract trial balance to test the arithmetical accuracies of the account balances in the ledgers. In addition to maintaining the ledgers, some organizations have cash books different kinds. At certain interval or at the end of the year, financial statements are prepared to reveal the true financial position of the firm and to enable the managers know how they performed during the period (Akpakpan, 2002:24).

Government organizations are types of not-for-profit making organizations (Akpakpan, 2002:24). Ministry of Finance, Uyo as government organization has computerized its accounting information system. Hence, this study is conducted to find out problems of the system and make recommendations based on findings. This study will also bring to bare the prospects of computerized accounting information system in their ministry.

Generally, most observers believe that the computer can perform wonders, speed up processes, generate accurate and timely information, monitor operations, just to mention a few.

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The Akwa Ibom State Government has been suffering a huge financial loss since its creation on 23rd September, 1987. At least N20 million is lost annually in all sections of the civil service through fraud (Weekend Pioneer, July 18 – 20, 1997). Other problems include the following:

  1. Lack of a good accounting system
  2. Delay in the payment of salaries to staff.
  • Untimely issuance or periodical accounting statements for control purposes
  1. Lack of up-to-date financial information as it affects the states development plan.
  2. No exercise of budgetary control over all arms of government due to lack of supply of financial management information.
  3. These core and house functions of ministry of Finance have constituted problems to the State Government because they are not properly and timely carried.

To curtail these problems which are mostly accounting in nature, computers were procured and installed. How well have these incident reduced? This is the problem of the study.

1.3    OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

In order to investigate the statement of problem above, the following objective were identified for study:

  1. To find out problems associated with the new system of accounting.
  2. To determine whether the computerized accounting information system assist in the timely preparation and assurance of financial statements of government activities.
  3. To determine whether there are improvement in operational performance of the Ministry of Finance due to the introduction of computerized accounting information system.
  4. To find out whether the computerized accounting information system prevented fraud or not.
  5. To find out the limitation of this system and way of arresting it.

1.4    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

In this research, the following research questions were developed:

  1. What are the problems associated with the computerized accounting information system of Ministry of Finance, Akwa Ibom State?
  2. What are the benefits of the computerized system?
  3. Are there improved performance in Ministry of Finance Accounts since the introduction of the computers?
  4. Are there reduced misappropriations/embezzlement in the Ministry of Finance?
  5. What are the difficulties of this system in Ministry of Finance, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State?

1.5    RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

As a guide to the achievement of the desired objectives of this study, the hypotheses were formulated:

  1. Computerized accounting information system does not enhance issuance of timely financial statement.
  2. Computerized accounting information system does not enhance prompt payment of staff salaries and allowances.

1.6    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The result of this study could benefit Ministry of Finance, Uyo in the following ways:

  1. Payroll fraud will be drastically reduced if not completely minimized.
  2. Timely issuance of financial statement will be possible as at and when due.
  • Delay in payment of salaries will be the thing of the past.
  1. The Ministry will benefit from high productivity and efficiency in its general operations.
  2. Staff training and development.
  3. Confidentiality of important documents will be strictly maintained in the systems.

Other Ministries will also benefit from this study in the following ways:

  1. Enjoy timely payment of special imprest, standing imprests, and subvention.
  2. Benefit from prompt payment of their staff salaries and allowances.
  3. Staff of other ministries will also be trained in computer illiteracy programme.
  4. Use of up-to-date financial information for decision making in their respective ministries.

Government will benefit from this study in several ways, namely:

  1. Performance appraisal of all ministries and parastals.
  2. Budgeting and budgetary control become easy tasks;
  • Adequate provision is made possible to all sectors of the state economy.
  1. Resource allocation becomes less cumbersome for state government as a result of availability of data.

Other researchers (students) will equally, gain from the fundings by using the material as reference in their future research works.

This study will expand the researcher’s horizon in field of computer science.

1.8    SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study is carried out to assess the computerization of accounting information system in Ministry of Finance, Uyo.

The study will however, focus attention on salary, and pensions payrolling which computer has impacted upon greatly. Therefore this study covers Ministry of Finance, Uyo which is vested with the responsibility of paying salaries to all government workers and pensions to all retirees.

The analyses made in this study are based on the available data of computerized accounting information system of Ministry of Finance, Uyo.

The researcher’s choice is subject to some limitations which are specified below:

  1. In carrying out this proposed work, time is a major factor which makes the study difficult considering the fact that the research is to be carried out and submitted within a given time frame.
  2. Getting members of staff of the organization and where the proposed work will be carried out constitutes a barrier.
  • Financial constraints also constitute a problem and make the research difficult.
  1. Unavoidable constraints of conflicting programmes arising from the unavoidable combination of the project work with other obligations such as official duties and domestic works constitute a major set back.

1.9    RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The method used in the study is quasi experimental method. In sourcing for information, the questionnaire and oral interview, will be used. In describing the real situation and comparing with what is obtainable, texts, journals, observation and magazines will be used.

Information so gathered will be tested using the chi-square and percentage. Detailed explanation is given a chapter three.

1.10  DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

Computerised: here computerized is used as an adjective to quality a noun (accounting), Computerize therefore means to store information in a computer system.

Information: Accounting to Akpakpan (2002:201) information refers to the data needed by managers or owners of a business organization or other concerned persons for decision-making. Therefore accounting as an information system refers to the interrelated procedures of gathering data needed by managers and other persons who need accounting data for informed judgment.

System: Clark (1977) defined a system as a set of interrelated elements (sub-systems) functionally integrated into a working whole so as to achieve some purposes. In other words, each system must have a reason for being. It should serve some useful and specific purpose or perhaps, a number of related although, different purposes.

Akpakpan (2002:201) refers to a system as “interrelated, interdependent or component parts, which work together for the achievement of a common goal.

  • ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY

In order to achieve the aim of this study, the researcher organized the study into five chapters.

Chapter one contains the introduction, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study, scope and limitations of the study, research methodology, definitions of terms.

Chapter two comprises review of the related literature to provide a solid framework to the study. It sets the current research into perspective to show “the state of art” Osuala (1982:30).

Chapter three contains the designs of the study which include the method of gathering, analyzing and interpretation of the research data.

Chapter four analyses and interprets the data collected from the field with the use of appropriate research tools and methods.

  • HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF MINISTRY OF FINANCE, UYO

The Ministry of Finance is one of the principal ministries in Akwa Ibom State civil service. It operated as an area sub-treasury, office under Cross River State Government till 23rd September, 1987 when Akwa Ibom State was created. From then it assumed the status of a Finance Headquarters for all ministries in the State. The Ministry is headed by the honourable commission while the Permanent Secretary and Accountant-General are the interpreter of policy matters and Chief Accounting officer of the State Government businesses, respectively.

The Accounting-General also receives a general warrant signed by the Honourable Commissioners of Finance, authorizing him to issue from the consolidate Revenue Fund (CRF) to pay for the personnel costs and other services provided in the annual estimates. The General warrant also authorizes the officer controlling the expenditure votes to incur expenditure on these purposes. Other responsibility of the Accounting-General includes the compilation of the annual financial statements of accounts which shall be transmitted to the Auditor-General within a period of six (6) months after the end of the financial year or such longer period thereafter, as the Governor may by order appoint. Apart from other statutory responsibility expected from the commissioner, he has the power to exclude from the annual general warrant any item of expenditure over which it is desired to exercise special control.

  • Functions Of The Ministry Of Finance, Uyo

Ministry of Finance has power to exercise budgetary control over all arms of government, supply financial management information and provide efficient accounting service to the government which are core and house functions that are vital to the survival and well-being of government. These functions along with other allied duties are undertaken for the Akwa Ibom State Government by the Ministry of Finance.

  • A Corporate Body Under the Ministry of Finance, Uyo

For purpose of investment, the Ministry has incorporated a body known as Ministry of Finance Investment Incorporated (MOFI). This body is saddled with the responsibility of investing government funds in viable projects that would yield above average returns to the Akwa Ibom State Government.

1.12.3        Achievements

The following achievements have been recorded by the Ministry.

Staff Training:  In line with the new civil service reforms. The State Government has adopted staff training and man power development as a cordinal objective for some years past. An unprecented number of staff were sponsored to workshops, conferences and seminars last year. The number of beneficiaries of training in the current year has increased tremendously compared to the past years.

Computer Procurements and other Accounting Equipment

More and more computers have been procured for use in the Ministry since the installation of computerized accounting information stystem. Machinery in all sections of the Ministry – general office, sub-treasury, computer unit, revenue unit etc, have undergone regular overhaul and improvement due to continuous increase in government financial commitments. Finally, effective storage of vital information has been achieved which helps to increase staff performance and sustains the public service to a greater extent.

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