Accounting 211 by 46fLhT


									Accounting 322
Accounting Information Systems

End User computing-Lecture Notes

What is End User Computing?

The hands on development, use and control of computer based information by information users such as managers,
accountants, and internal auditors. Prior to the development of PCs, most End Users had to rely on programmers and
other IS professionals to meet their information needs. The is resulted in huge programming back-logs as End Users
competed with each other for scarce IS resources. End User computing via PC and terminals has helped to alleviate
those backlogs.

Advantages of End User computing

User creation, control and implementation
Systems that meet users needs
Improved productivity and creativity
Freeing up IS resources
Reduced communication problems
Ownership by users

Risks of EUC

Logic and development errors
Inadequately testing applications
Inefficient systems
Poorly controlled systems
Poorly documented systems
Duplication of systems and data and wasted resources
Dysfunctional behavior by users

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Guidelines for Spreadsheet Design

There are really three major uses of spreadsheets: to display data, to model complex relationships (especially for
sensitivity analysis), and to create a template to be used repeatedly. The guidelines presented here are relevant to all
three uses, but they are particularly geared to the third use. The third use, building a template, is something that
accountants do often. That will be the focus for project one.

The following represent general principles for spreadsheet design:

Document the spreadsheet thoroughly.

The strength of spreadsheet template comes from using a model repeatedly. This increases the likelihood that the
creator of the model will not be the only user of it. To minimize errors and to increase user efficiency, clear
directions must be provided both within the spreadsheet and in hard copy form! The spreadsheet documentation
should answer any question that the user might have.

Well documented spreadsheets:

1) help to minimize costly errors,
2) reduce inefficiencies by the user, especially when there is a change in personnel
3) enhance the audit trail.

Worksheet Organization and Design

          Worksheets can be broken into several parts: The Introduction, The Initial Data Section, The Model
Section, and the Report Section. Not all worksheets will have all of these sections. For some worksheets, the
primary objective is to display the data. Only a few simple formulas are used. The initial data is displayed in its
entirety (e.g. a spreadsheet to report travel expenses). In such cases, the initial data, the model, and the report
sections are all combined.
          In other worksheets, the model may be quite complex. Multiple reports may be produced from the initial
data. For such worksheets, separate sections should be provided.

I. The Introduction or Identification Section
    A. The spreadsheet identification. ( Much of this information can be entered under the Properties section of
         the spreadsheet which is found under the File menu)

         1. Name of the Company, division, or department (include on printed reports also)
               Include both the file name and a more descriptive name. File names are abbreviated and cryptic and
               it is easy to forget what you called a particular worksheet. A naming convention should be
               established within an organization or department to decrease the possibility of errors, specifically,
               using the wrong worksheet, or overwriting an older spreadsheet. A short but descriptive title should
               be used. It should provide sufficient information for the user to determine that the correct
               worksheet is being used. This can be entered into the Properties comment box or placed at the top
               of the first sheet

         2. The date the spreadsheet was created and the date of the most recent modification.
                Again, the objective is to reduce the possibility of using an outdated or superseded model.

         3. The name of the person who created and/or modified the spreadsheet, and his/her department or division.
                 This tells the user whom to contact in the event that question arise.

         4. The purpose of the spreadsheet, and any assumptions used.

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         5. Provide aids for navigating through the spreadsheet. Label the tabs and make liberal use of range names,
                where practical. A table of contents or a map of the spreadsheet is helpful for large or complicated
                worksheets. This improves the efficiency of the user.

    B. Directions for using the spreadsheet

         1. Locations where data are to be entered (or imported). Instructions for entering data, if needed.

         2. Source of the data to be entered.

         3. Instructions for how to validate the input, and what to do if errors are detected.

         4. A list of the reports produced by the spreadsheet with a description of the report.

II. Initial Data Section

    A. Assumptions
        Include the definitions of any terms that could be calculated in more than one way, or interpreted in more
        than one way.

    B. Reference data or constants
        Any constants that are used in a spreadsheet should be placed in a cell and referenced indirectly. This
        enhances the usefulness of the spreadsheet for doing "what if" analyses. It also makes clear the
        assumptions that are being made. The initial data should also be displayed in a separate area from the
        model and report.

    C. Initial Data

         When data are obtained by downloading from other applications or are being obtained from other
         spreadsheets, it is important to indicate the date the data were produced (received) and their source.

III. The Model Section

    A. This section should include any formulas used in the model

    B.   Calculated cells should be labeled to explain how calculations are made.

    C. Initial Data and constants or reference data should be indirectly referenced, not moved or copied. Moving
       and copying are dangerous operations which are error prone.

    D. The Model should be thoroughly tested! Pay particular attention to rounding errors. Test formulas with all
       types of possible values (positive, negative, zero). Make sure that the way it treats erroneous values is

    E. Use check sums or other methods of validating input. (Be sure to give instructions on how to proceed if
       errors are detected in the data). Build in checks to catch incorrect formats (text vs numeric, for example).
       Some methods of validating input include: recalculating totals and comparing to known values, checking for
       internal consistency, looking for/testing for values outside the valid range.

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IV. The Report Section

The report section should not contain formulas or data that is entered directly unless it is a very simple spreadsheet.
The report section should consist of labels and references to data or calculated values. The following information
should appear on every printed reports produced from the worksheet).

    A. The name of the organization (and the department, if applicable)

    B. The Title of the report

    C. The period of time covered by the report (e.g., for the week ending)

    D. The date the report was prepared/printed (use Page Setup and put it in the footer).

    E. The rows and columns should be clearly labeled and formatted to be easily read.

    F.   Columns should be totaled whenever the column total is a meaningful number.

    G. The name of the worksheet used to prepare the report should be shown in the bottom corner of the report.
       (use Page Setup and put it in the footer).

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