Some individuals argue that accountants should focus on producing financial statements and leave the design and production of managerial reports to information systems specialists. What are the advantages and disadvantages of following this advice? To what extent should accountants be involved in producing reports that include more than just financial measures of performance? Why?
Accountants should focus on producing financial statements
Accountants run a company’s financial affairs. It does not make sense that accounts should only focus on financial statements. I work for a company that is big on thinking outside the box and letting workers see what other departments do. That has affected my way of thinking about this. Workers should be aware of what other departments do. An accountant might be able to make suggestions on how to improve the design of the reports to make them more useful. Accountants might have process improvement ideas that information systems specialists would never think of because they are used to looking at the reports in a particular light; while accountants can provide fresh ideas on how to improve and use the reports.
If accountants are involved in producing managerial reports, they can ensure all the financial information on the reports are correct. While information systems specialist can set up a system to produce a report, they probably would not notice if the information on the report was incorrect. Accountants, being well-versed in the financial affairs of the company, would be able to better spot an inaccuracy. I think accountants should at least be able to review the reports and make sure all the information looks to be correct. I also believe accountants should be able to suggest improvements or request to have the reports designed to their standards. The information that the accounting information systems produce needs to be relevant and reliable. Who better to see if the information on the report is relevant and reliable than an accountant who has been trained in such matters?
“Surveys suggest that 28 percent of senior financial executives say they have little or no information to predict the performance of their firms. Another 54 percent said they had only half the information needed to provide visibility into performance” (Richardson, Chang, & Smith, 2014, p.3). I find these survey results are unbelievable in the technological age in which we live. Information should be readily accessible. Executives should know how to get the information they need and should not have a problem applying it to their business plans.
Richardson, V., Chang, C., & Smith, R. (2014). Accounting Information Systems (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education