Computerisation of Banks

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY. The world as a global village has become so computerized that the use of computers is inevitable therefore makes them very important in all aspect of human life especially on the accounting field. Accounting system is a procedure that is designed by an organization for capturing all financial events and data in an organization. An accounting system after capturing and gathering all events and activities has the ability to process them and communicate them to interested parties for decision making.
Financial institutions in many countries were so much concerned about the switch from manual to computerized accounting system. It must however, be emphasized that manual accounting systems has not been eliminated completely but reliance and dependency on them has been reduced drastically due to the emergence of computerized accounting systems. While many financial institutions responded quickly to the use of computers in accounting systems, others still face difficulties in adapting to these computerized systems of accounting.
Most organizations have resorted to the use of computers in their accounting systems because of the inherent accuracy and processing speed of this automated accounting system. They also have resorted to it because of the efficiency which leads to higher profitability. It is obvious that this computerized accounting system has led to the reduction of time; cost and quick generation of reports since one no longer have to wait a whole day to get a report. Although the emergence of this system comes with a number of benefits, it still has got some problems associated with it.

One inherent problem with this new system of accounting is the high cost of operations. Day in and day out, computers that become obsolete need to be replaced or upgraded to meet acceptable standards. In addition, this new system has brought about computer crimes. For example, the Equity Funding Corporation Scandal in the USA is probably one of the most outrageous frauds that have been committed with the assistance of the computer. Total estimated misappropriation as a result of computer crimes in the United States America seems to be in the region of U. S 35 million.
These cost associated with computerized accounting system have prompted decision makers in financial institutions to do careful analysis of their accounting system and its loopholes before making a choice of a system which will suite them best. One thing that has also made the use of computers a delight is the less need for visual editing because of the ability of the computer to perform many editing steps by having programmed controls incorporated in the computer program. Recently, the allocation of resources or quota in banks for embarking on projects has been made easy due to the discovery of Swedish Grid Accounting System.
This accounting system which was developed by Swedish Research Council maintains a Grid wide view of the resources consumed by its members. 1. 2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM Despite the availability of computers at Ecobank, clients still queue at the bank hall and the probability of Tellers to make mistakes is high. Customers still queue in order to withdraw monies from their accounts due to power failure despite the ATM facility available to them. This also applies to those who have access to the ATM’s but still issue out cheques. Another major problem that the bank faces is the poor network system.
Customers sometimes make payments into accounts of other branches and takes days for the amounts to reflects in that accounts. This research at the end will find solutions to the problems above and appropriate mechanism to be applied at the right time to encourage the effective and efficient use of computers available to Ecobank. 1. 3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS The study attempts to find answers to the following questions: ? What are the various hardware products available at Ecobank? ? What are the various software products available at Ecobank? ? To what extent has Ecobank used computers in their banking operations? 1. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY ? To get managements opinion on the concept of using computers in accounting systems. ? To make known to all some of the problems linked with the computerization of accounting systems in Ecobank, Adum. ? To find out how over the years problems associated with this system have been solved. ? To discover the impact that the use of computers in accounting systems have had on the operations of Ecobank, Adum. 1. 5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY This study aims at: ? Solving some of the problems caused by the computerization of accounting systems in these financial institutions. Discovering how the computerization of accounting system has helped these financial institutions in their operations. ? Highlighting changes in a specific accounting system which has enhanced the flow of work at the bank. ? Providing researchers, banks, policy makers, students and lectures who offer I. T related courses find this material useful in appraising their syllabus. 1. 6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY The research work was centered on Ecobank, Adum branch. The following are the limitations of the study; ? There was no financial and logistical allocation of resources needed to carry out the entire research.
As a result, this study was restricted to only a handful of financial institutions here in Kumasi with Ecobank as the case study. ? interviews were made only in some selected financial institutions which have their accounting systems computerized ? Time was another constraint as the research had to combine the research with lectures. 1. 7 CHAPTER ORGANIZATION The chapter one has to do with the introduction of the study and consists of the background of the study, problem statement, the objective of the study, research questions, significance of the study and the scope and limitations of the study.
The second chapter reviews the available literature of the study. Chapter three deals with research design, population of the study, sample and sampling technique, data collection and data analysis. Chapter four covers the presentation and analysis of the study as well as the discussion of the research findings. The final chapter covers the summary of the research, conclusions drawn from the findings and recommendations made. CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW 2. 1INTRODUCTION
An accounting system consists of the business, documents, records, equipment, policies and procedures use to record transactions and events that affect an entity’s financial performance and its financial status. A good accounting system should be capable of meeting the requirements and needs of the financial institution for which it is designed. As business grows its transactions also grow and the firm looks for ways to speed up the accounting process by streamlining its accounting system hence the use of computers.
There are many accounting tasks such as invoicing, payroll and bookkeeping, which involve the processing of large amounts of numerical data. Such routine transaction processing is a substantial cost burden on organizations and the desire to reduce these costs provides motivation for the early introduction of computer systems. The development of minicomputers in 1963 allowed medium-sized organizations to begin using computers for accounting tasks. The introduction of business microcomputer in 1979 extended the use of computers to the accounting function of smaller organizations. 2. 2 ACCOUNTING SYSYTEMS
Several scholars in the field of accountancy have expressed their views with respect to the whole idea of the computerization of accounting system. In his study on the automation of accounting practice Strangster (1992) examined the factors that affect accounting information and concluded that the accounting environment, technological change and the availability of resources are amongst the most significant variables influencing accounting automation. To meet these needs and to satisfy the fiduciary responsibility of management, Accountants prepare a single set of general purpose-financial statements and reports.
These statements are expected to present objective, unambiguous and complete economic facts of the existence and operation of the enterprise. This is what accounting reports generated from a computerized system would expect to portray, hence the act of report generations itself must be easy and not cumbersome. (Koerber K. (1992) P8) describes accounting systems as the field that designs and implements the system of records – Keeping that meets all the informational, processing and retrieval needs of different types of accountants within an organization.
He emphasized that, an important segment of accounting system s Electronic Data Processing (EDP). He described further that before the advent of computers, all recordings were done manually. Hilton (1994) regards the accounting system as procedures, personnel and computers used to accumulate and store financial data in the organizational part which are the costing accounting system, management accounting system and financial accounting system. According to Bagranoff (1996) the computer’s ability to handle an organization’s routine bookkeeping has led to a growing emphasis on managerial accounting.
Accountants freed from Bookkeeping tasks are now concentrating on the design of systems, the developments of budgets and recommendation of future managerial actions in a variety of operational areas. Increased in computerization of accounting system affects auditors as well, they are finding their jobs to be quiet different today due to increasing reliance on generalized audit software and other Computer Assisted Audit Techniques (CAAT). These tools allow auditors to examine computer output and processed more efficiently.
In addition, traditional accounting firms, whose incomes used to be largely generated by audit and tax auditor are new helping clients design and implement computerized accounting information systems, hence the effects of computerization are an important area of study in accounting information system. 2. 3 COMPUTERIZED HISTORY OF GHANAIAN BANKS Over time, computerization has increased in importance in Ghanaian banks. Traditionally, banks have always sought media through which they would serve their clients more cost-effectively as well as increase the utility to their clientele.
Their main concern has been to serve clients more conveniently, and in the process increase profits and competitiveness. Computers have been used extensively in banking for many years to advance agenda of banks. In Ghana, the earliest forms of electronic and communications technologies used were mainly office automation devices. Telephones, telex and facsimile were employed to speed up and make more efficient, the process of servicing clients. For decades, they remained the main information and communication technologies used for transacting bank business.
Later in the 1980s, as competition intensified and the personal computer (PC) got proletarian, Ghanaian banks begun to use them in back-office operations and later tellers used them to service clients. Advancements in computer technology saw the banks networking their branches and operations thereby making the one-branch philosophy a reality. Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank pioneered this very important electronic novelty and later Ecobank also started using computers in their operations, which changed the banking landscape in the country.
Arguably, the most revolutionary electronic innovation in this country and the world over has been the ATM. In Ghana, banks with ATM offerings have them networked and this has increased their utility to customers. The Trust Bank, in 1995 installed the first ATM. Not long after, most of the major banks began their ATM networks at competitive positions. Ghana Commercial Bank started its ATM offering in 2001 in collaboration with Agricultural Development Bank. Five (5) banks currently operate ATMs in Ghana.
The ATM has been the most successful delivery medium for consumer banking in this county. Customers consider it as important in their choice of banks, and banks that delayed the implementation of their ATM systems, have suffered irreparably. ATMs have been able to entrench the one-branch philosophy in this county, by being networked, so people do not necessarily have to go to their branch to do some banking. Another industrial innovation in Ghanaian banking is the various electronic cards, which the banks have developed over the years.
The first major cash card is a product of Social Security Bank, now Soceite Generale SSB, introduced in May 1997. Their card, ‘Sika Card’ is a value card, onto which a cash amount is electronically loaded. In the earlier part of year 2001 Standard Chartered Bank launched the first ever debit card in this country. Its functions have recently been integrated with the customers’ ATM cards, which have increased its availability to the public since a separate application process is not needed to access it.
A consortium of three (3) banks (Ecobank, Cal Merchant Bank and The Trust Bank) introduced a further development in electronic cards in November 2001, called ‘E-Card’. This card is online in real time, so anytime a client uses the card, or changes occur in their account balance, their card automatically reflects the change. Though ATMs have enjoyed great success because of their great utility, it has been recognized that it is possible for banks to improve their competitive stance and profitability by providing their clients with even more convenience.
Once again computerization was what saved the day, making it possible for home and office banking services to become a reality. In Ghana, some banks started to offer PC banking services, mainly to corporate clients. The banks provide the customers with the proprietary software, which they use to access their bank accounts, sometimes via the World Wide Web (WWW). This is on a more limited scale though, as it has been targeted largely at corporate clients. Ghana Commercial Bank, Ecobank, Standard Charted Bank and Barclays Bank and Stanbic Bank are the main banks known to offer PC banking services.
Banks have recognized the internet as representing an opportunity to increase profits and their competitiveness. Currently, no bank is offering internet banking (internet-banking) in Ghana, but some have well laid plans to start. Ecobank, Standard Charted Bank and Barclays Bank, also have plans for doing so in the not-too-distant future. Telephone banking, has also taken a big leap with its convenience and time. Barclays Bank launched its telephone banking services in August 28, 2002. SSB Bank also launched its “Sikatel” or “SSB Call Centre” (telephone banking) in September 19, 2002.
The services available with this system are ascertaining credible information about the bank’s products, the customers’ complaints, bank statements and cheque book request and any other complaints and inquiry. The introduction of E-Zwich is another innovation in the country. E- Zwich is the brand name for the National Switch by Bank of Ghana, under the new Universal Electronic Payments (UEPS) technology which would ensure that all commercial banks, rural banks and savings and loans institutions in Ghana implemented a common payment platform and biometric Smartcard.
To make this technology really feasible, the Bank of Ghana [BOG] (Ghana’s central bank) has issued a directive that all banks linked their ATMs & Point of Sale (POS) terminals to the National Switch, the E-Zwich by March 31, 2008. Banks with existing switches are expected to upgrade them to make them compatible with the National Switch by July 1, 2008 while banks without switches/ATMs / POS terminals are expected to integrate their payment terminals directly into the National Switch or through a E-Zwich compatible switch.
GUIDELINES FOR THE OPERATION SOME COMPUTERIZED SYSTEM BY BANK OF GHANA. 1. The Bank of Ghana’s responsibility with regard to platforms for Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale Systems (EFTPOS) is to ensure an appropriate legal and regulatory environment, competitive market and high standards for cards, ATMs and ATM platforms. The Bank of Ghana (The Bank) shall also ensure that suppliers have the technical and financial capacity to deliver and support their systems. 2.
In granting permission for the setting up of a platform and/or its operation, the Bank shall be guided by the need for an orderly development of the payment system. The following conditions shall apply: i. The provision of ATM and EFTPOS services shall be limited to banks and consortiums of banks and other corporate bodies; ii. The card technology must be ISO 8583 and EMV compliant while the platform/ATM system should be able to support different card types including smart cards, ATM cards, common credit and debit cards such as VISA, Mastercard, Europay, American Express, Diners Club etc. ii. Platforms must be interoperable with international ATM and EFTPOS networks operated by companies with international reputation. To satisfy this requirement, the switching companies must be operating in North America or Europe. iv. Banks applying for a domestic platform must meet the following requirements with regards to the number of banks, ATMs and the networking of a bank’s branches. (a) More than four banks, minimum of 20 ATMs and 50% of the branches of each bank networked. (b) Four banks, minimum of 30 ATMs and 50% of the branches of each bank networked. c) Three banks, minimum of 50 ATMs and 50% of the branches of each bank networked PAYMENT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT PLANS Plans are far advanced for the introduction of cheque codeline clearing and truncation system. This system would decentralise the capture of cheque MICR code-lines and cheque images at the point of receipt of the cheques by the banks. The banks will then sent the electronic files of the code-lines and the images to BOG for clearing and settlement. This will enable the truncation of cheques at the point of economic deposit and the use of cheque images for mandate verification.
It is expected to free resources like labour and reduce costs generally for cheques clearing. New regulations and relevant laws would have to be enacted to support the new cheque clearing environment. In addition to the above system, an Automated clearing House (ACH) would be introduced to handle bulk electronic credits and debits and thereby speed up the clearing of funds within the system. The SWIFT software messaging and communication systems will be harnessed to support cheque truncation and the ACH.
Furthermore, new policies are being drafted with respect to electronic banking, card-based payments (e-money and debit cards) and the oversight function responsibilities of the central bank thereof. 2. 4 PROFILES ON ECOBANK Ecobank is an independent Regional Banking Group in Ghana and other parts of West and Central Africa providing wholesale and retail banking services to its customers. Established in 1985, Ecobank has grown into a network of over four hundred and fifty branches with offices in twenty- two countries including Ghana.
The governance structure within the Ecobank group is such that the parent company acts as a “strategic architect” with limited involvement in operational management and decision making at subsidiaries level. In Ecobank, operational decision making is individualized and maintained at a level as close as possible to required action and customers. 2. 4. 1 Ownership/Branches Ecobank’s shares is presently held by more than six thousands (6000) private and institutional shareholders throughout Ghana and other parts of world.
The company’s authorized capital is U. S $ 1250000000 ordinary shares of 0. 125 each. Ecobank has four hundred and fifty (450) branches with offices in twenty-two (22) countries including Ghana. 2. 4. 2 Workforce Ecobank Ghana Limited has close to a thousand professionals that is made up of management, branch managers, security personnel’s and other staff. In terms of gender diversity, forty (40) percent of its employees are female and the balance being male employees. 2. 4. 3 Mission Statement
Ecobank is committed to enforcing management standards and policies in areas of ethics, anti- money laundering, conflict of interest and co-operate governance because it believes it enhances it shareholders value. 2. 4. 4 Vision Ecobank hopes to explore the potentials offered by the internet as an efficient distribution and communication channels for delivering the service provided by its network of branches and offices. 2. 4. 5 Customers Ecobank now boast of an estimated thirty thousand clients which includes governmental organizations, private organizations and individual accounts holders. . 4. 6 Products and Services ? Current accounts ? Savings accounts ? Cards ? Deposit accounts ? Personal loans ? Car and motor loan ? Business loan ? Bills for collections ? Transfer and payments ? Western union money transfer ? Call accounts 2. 5 THE CONCEPTION OF COMPUTERS IN ACCOUNTING SYSTEM MANAGEMENT DECISION The whole idea of the use of computer in accounting systems cannot be over emphasized without talking about the fact that it is based primarily upon management’s decisions normally made up of board of chairman, heads of departments and IT Specialist.
These people having seen the need for the uses of computers convince the staff and all and Sundry on the use of computer. This is done having taken factual consideration of its negative effects. The decision taken by management was done as a means of increasing productivity and ascertainment of rapid information at any particular point in time as well. 2. 6Hardware Used At Ecobank 2. 6. 1 Mainframe computers The mainframe computer a high-level computer designed for the most intensive computational tasks.
Mainframe computers are often shared by multiple users connected to the computer via terminals. The most powerful mainframes, called supercomputers, perform highly complex and time-consuming computations and are used heavily in both pure and applied research by scientists, large businesses, and the military. 2. 6. 2 Micro computers The microcomputer is the common among all computers. It is designed to fit on a desktop. However, it is not as powerful or as fast as the mainframe computer and has a smaller memory size.
These computers were proposed by service of National Cash Registry (NCR) whose main functions is to assemble and supply computers and accessories to Ecobank and other financial institutions in Ghana. The computerization process began 1998 at Ring Road Central branch with an evaluation of the needs of the service bureau to the bank on the type of computers that will be needed to ensure quick and efficient service aimed at meeting the company needs, this was only done after the contract between the client company and service bureau had been signed.
The bank used these computers upon expert advice received from these service providers though sometimes they could also bring out their own specification. 2. 7 SOFTWARES USED AT ECOBANK Ecobank borrows its software known as the Grab software form City Bank; they later adopted different software’s including, Tally, Aptra Hawk, Pips and sparrow. Each of the software’s performs different functions.
The more sophisticated ones like Aptra, the Hawk and Sparrow are computer software used by the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), whereas the software Pips deals with micro processing which is engaged in cheques related activities. 2. 7. 1Introduction of flex-cube mechanism The activities of banking at Ecobank for example has been improved further with the introduction of flex-cube mechanism software which has provided all needs or almost all in respect of the banking work in areas such as ? Providing good reports and feedback; Storing large data leading to improved performance; and ? Providing central database software where activities were monitored to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. 2. 8 THE GENERAL PERCEPTION ON THE USE OF COMPUTERS The perception of the general use of computers in Ecobank when critically looked at can categorically be seen from the view point of employees and customers since computers influence their activities. Taking the manufacturing sector for example where over a thousand different jobs were o be undertaken by different employees before a particular process, now with the introduction of computers all these several jobs can be undertaken by the mere press of a button where something starts to build. The computer has been rendering thousand employees jobless thereby bringing tension and fear within that industry. But for customers of Ecobank it was like a prayer being answered, a long awaited miracle, where all their troubles have just come to an end.
They were very pleased with such an innovation as long waiting and cumbersome procedures involved in the depositing and withdrawal as well as other banking and non-banking duties, will have been solved. This however confirms the old wise saying that ‘one man’s meat is another’s poison’. 2. 8. 1Perception Of workers on the use of Computers at Ecobank The whole idea of the fear of unemployment which was established in the previous topic discussed was no exception from that which was going through the minds of Ecobank staff who were working on manual till the introduction of these computers.
In fact, the change over to the use of computers was met with serious resistance from the staff working at that time for the some old perception that they will be laid off “Change, they say, is painful but once adopted goes a long way to really workout for good whosoever is involved’. According to Ecobank staff, about three hundred (300) of the workers at Ecobank were deployed upon an exercise undertaken by Ecobank known as the Manpower Labour Rationalization Programme (MLRP).
Here computerization was seen as the main reason for the exercise after which management budgeted for the cost improving and training each and every staff member left behind to have total knowledge in computer. Those members of staff who were left had to accept the change and were encouraged and educated on the use of computers to relieve them of very hectic activities which the machine could undertake on their behalf to make them relax after a long days work. The computer was finally received fully with employee cooperation such that the ratio of employee to computer is close to one to one and an average of two to one.
The employees confess that the use of the computer has boosted their confidence and happens to relieve their physical as well as mental demand with respect their job. 2. 9 THE CHANGEOVER TO COMPUTERS-SOME SPECIFIC SYSTEMS/TRANSACTIONS The drift from the manual to the computerized accounting systems as pursued by financial institutions has been that of solving problems and creating problems. Some of the replace manual systems and everything that goes with them are enumerated below. 2. 9. 1 Account Opening
With the manual system there was the use of the ledger cards which were on its own a hectic thing to use as cards could get missing at any particular point in time, the serious aspect was that when ones card was not seen then it is like there is absolutely no record about that account not even mentioning the balance of that account. But with computerization, there are regular points out of various account and other things, which are stored in the computer in other words, there is the hardcopy and the softcopy making tangibility of records available.
Also with the use of computers so many accounts can be opened as possible as there is no much work involved due to the computerization of accounting systems. 2. 9. 2 Counting Of Money Gone were days where the hand was at the mercy of money that needed to be counted, whether large or small. Now the introduction of these money-counting machines has replace the counting of money by hand by which the former seen to be faster and hence speeds up work resulting in less queues in banks especially.
Other institutions, insurance companies and financial service providers also use it. 2. 9. 3 Withdrawals The manual system resulted in the spending of more hours at banks as a result of long queues to withdraw money especially on paydays of government workers. This however, was very frustrating to the customers. The use of ATM especially to pay workers has reduced drastically this king of inconveniencies hence leading to fast payments of workers.
With the use of a card where the name of the holder are programmed and put into the computer, with the help of a specially diskettes, the ATM however helps in giving cash, statements of accounts and instant balance that speeds up the process of payments. Other cards such as credit card, monde card, e-card, visa card, sikatel card all exists to make access to money easier and convenient. 2. 10 CHECKING OF ACCOUNT BALANCE These are easily checked by the use of computer irrespective of the branch due to the networking of systems available 2. 10. 1 Balancing Of Accounts
The manual system was that of very hectic work as every account will have to be balanced by an accounting personnel before the day ends which sometimes eats late into the night, but with computerization balancing of accounts are done within minutes as the computer does everything with the correct accounting package in place. This is known as the self-balancing of accounts where no one really is involved. Journals are opened or written, profit and loss accounts are prepared by the machine. This invariably reduces the number of people working at the financial institution. 2. 11 INTERNATIONAL TRANSACTION
This is normally done with certain requirements in place. The bank should have an affiliated bank in the country of transaction. Every link should have been cleared and terms understood by the bank being affiliated to. With computerization there is the use of the swift system, which takes place on remittance; Ecobank for example has an affiliated bank called the City Bank which deals with such transactions outside Ghana. This has seriously reduced the mailing system which was the style of the manual system where the post was used which could take months to complete a very simple transaction.
Hard copies will have to be received through the mail, which sought to confirm that the transaction has taken place. In the course and zeal to computerized the following advantage and disadvantages were brought to light. 2. 11. 1 Advantages ? Increase in profitability ? Improved workout put 2. 11. 2 Disadvantages ? Power failure causes inconvenience to staff and customers. ? Redundancy due to computerization, Ecobank undertook one, which known as the labours rationalization programme. ? Computerization cannot be practiced everywhere or places where there is no electricity.
Some of the branches that are not yet computerized. 2. 12 THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON-NEW DEVELOPMENTS With the current move to information technology in the part of the globe, there is a higher intensity in the use of computer where they are seen to do much of the work to be carried out. Much however needs to be desired as financial sections like auditing among others are still more evidence with the use of books and receipts which are required on hard copies for auditing purposes, this however makes total dependency on computer not very whole.
In existence is the Computer Assisted Audit Technique (CAAT), which uses the computer as the main tool in the process of auditing, this technique given time will drastically minimize the use of hard copies such as foolscap sheets, and books etc. With the existence of the ATM card, e-card, e switch, master card, credit card, monde card and other mechanisms that limit the handling of physical cash, The other mechanism that limit the handling of physical cash the world is poised to enter into a realm where one will be able to undertake a 24hr banking transaction such as cheque withdrawals, international transaction processing of draft etc. ther financial services can also have the sale of shares; bonds done on a 24hr basis. Closing periods of the foreseeable future will gradually be extended to a time that will make financial institutions to undertake multiple shifts such as day shifts and night shifts. These only will be made possible with the use of computers that will be ready to run on a 24hr service to its customers. CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY This chapter discusses the research techniques and methods employed in collecting data for the area of study. . 1RESEARCH DESIGN The type of research conducted is exploratory. This is where research is conducted into a research problem or issues were there are very few or no earlier studies to which we can refer for information. The aim of this type of study is to look for patterns, ideas or hypotheses. 3. 2POPULATION OF THE STUDY In order to achieve the purpose and objectives of this research work, the following functional areas were identified. ? Management ? Finance(Accounts Section) ? Information Technology(I.
T. ) department All staff of the above mentioned areas in Ecobank formed the population of the study. 3. 3SAMPLE SIZE AND SAMPLING PROCEDURE The researcher used simple random sample technique to select twenty (20) respondents. Nine (9) members of staff were selected from the Account section, two (2) from the IT department and five (3) from the management team. Those chosen were people the researcher believes could provide the right and needed data for the study. 3. 4DATA COLLECTION METHOD
Due to the nature of the study, questionnaires were administered to the management and staff of Ecobank Kumasi branch as well as interview. Observation was also used by the researcher in collecting data. The following are the details of the methods used; 3. 4. 1Questionnaires The basic means of collecting data for the study was through questionnaires. Twenty (20) copies of well – structured questionnaires were distributed to the target population. Each respondent was given a copy. The respondents were given one week to answer the questions after which they were collected.
Questionnaires were made in such a way that it was so easy to understand by the respondents. 3. 4. 2 Observations and Enquiry The researcher observed that the answers provided by some of the respondents revealed additional information which was not provided in the questionnaires. The distribution of questionnaires directly to respondents also offered the researcher the opportunity to talk to some of the respondents and to elicit relevant information. 3. 4. 3Interview The one- to –one method, also known as the face-to –face type was used.
This was concluded with the finance managers, to accounting personnel’s as well as the IT Managers of Ecobank who in one way or the other makes use of computers in their field of work. The interview was undertaken using a semi – structured form of questions concerning the whole idea of the impact of computerization of accounting systems on the operations of Ecobank. The use of the interview approach especially allowed for maximum flexibility and paved the way for the interviewee to really reflect the use of computers in accounting systems.
The method yielded greater responses and brought out higher quality information that would not have come to light. On the other hand information coming from staffs reveals that Ecobank recorded about three hundred deployment rate of its personnel as a result of computerization. 3. 4. 4 Secondary Data These were gathered from Ecobank’s Annual Report, previous research works as well as library materials. 3. 5 DATA ANALYSIS The data collected were analyzed using the descriptive statistics approach. The answers to the questions were sorted out tabulated and analyzed using percentages.
The data analysis in chapter four reflects the Fourteen (14) questionnaires out of the twenty questionnaires (20) administered to the Ecobank Adum Branch Kumasi as well as interviews and observations made by the researcher. CHAPTER FOUR Data Analysis and Result In this chapter, data collected through the administration of questionnaires at Ecobank has been analyzed into tables of absolute figures and corresponding percentages. Twenty (20) questionnaires, each containing thirteen (13) questions were administered. Fourteen (14) were completed and returned giving a response rate of 70%.
Table 1 Rate of Response |Subject Group |Number of respondents |Percentage (%) | |Management |3 |21. 4% | |Information Technology |2 |14. 3% | |Account staff |9 |64. % | |Total |14 |100% | Source: Field survey data May 2009 Chart 1 [pic] From the table and the chart above, three (3) were received from management personnel, representing 21. 4%, two (2) from the Information Technology Department representing 14. 3% and remaining fifteen (9) were recovered from the Account section representing 64. 3%. This was enough for the research study. Table 2 Computerization of accounting system. Response |Frequency |Percentage (%) | |Yes |14 |14 | |No |- |- | |Total |14 |100 |
Source: Field survey data May 2009 From table 2, fourteen (14) representing 100% stated that they have fully computerized the Accounting system. Concerning what prompted the project, answers received from respondents were to enable them satisfy their customers with their services. With respect to the major problems encountered in the computerization of accounting system, the response is shown in table 2 Table 3 Problems encountered on computerization of accounting systems. Responses | Number of Respondents |Percentage (%) | |High cost of Training |7 |50 | |Lack of experience |4 |28. 6 | |Delay in production |3 |21. | |Total |14 |100 | Source: Field survey data May 2009 Chart 2 [pic] Table 3 and chart 2 depicts that seven (7) of the respondents representing 50% were of the view that the cost involved in the training of staff to meet the new technology is high. Four (4) of the respondents representing 28. 6% also claimed that the staff lacked experience in the use of computer technology.
The final, which is delay in production which represents 21. 4% were also of the view that production after the computerization process delays. Table 4 workload after computerization |Responses |Respondents |Percentages (%) | |Increase |2 |14. 3 | |Decrease |9 |64. | |Normal |3 |21. 4 | |Total |14 |100 | Source: Field survey data May 2009. Chart 3 [pic] From table 4 and chart 3, two (2) of the respondents, which represent 14. % stated that the workload after computerization process in the bank has decreased as a result of computerization. Nine (9) of the respondents representing 64. 3% were of the view that the work load of the bank has decreased. The final groups of people were also of the view that the workload after computerization is normal that is there is either increase or decrease in the workload after the introduction of computers. With respect to special accounting package in use, the responses are shown in table 5. Table 5 Accounting package Responses | Number of Respondents |Percentage (%) | |Yes | 14 | 100 | |No | – | – | |Total | 14 | 100% |
Source: Field survey data May 2009 From table 4 all the fourteen (14) respondents stated that there is a special accounting package in use and gave the name as Flex Cube. It was stated that it helps in storing data and providing good report. Lastly with respect to what staffs like about the manual system that the computerized accounting system could not provide, the respondents gave the view that the manual system has no capital cost involved in processing data and that the cost of maintenance is low as compared to the computerized system.
The researcher asked whether there would be a total computerized accounting system in other branches in the country. The response is shown in table 4. 6 Table 6 Total computerized accounting system | Respondents | Respondents | Percentage (%) | |Yes |10 |71. 4 | |No |4 |28. | |Total |14 |100(%) | Source: Field survey data May 2009 Chart 3 [pic] From table 5, ten (10) of the respondents which represents 71. 4%, stated that there will be a total computerized accounting system in the next five to ten years to come. Four (4) out of the fourteen respondents representing 28. % stated that there can not be a fully computerized accounting system in other branches because of lack of adequate power supply in the country. THE IMPACT OF COMPUTERIZATION ON ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS From the interview conducted with the management of Ecobank, these were the responses gathered concerning the impact of computerization on accounting systems; Management were of the view that , the whole concept of the use of computers has been that of great delight for both benefactors and end users thus customers and staff of the financial institution involved respectively.
Though initially for staff it was met with great resistance as it was seen to cause unemployment generally, but this has finally been accepted as working tool of which they have expressed their satisfaction in its works or activities so far. It was also revealed that customers received the new move with all joy, as they believed that less time was to be spent in the banking activities. It was made known that the use of computers received both approval and criticism.
In much the same way, one can truly say that now the impact of computerization is seriously being felt in the banking activities such as fast service delivery, up to date and accurate database leading to quality results. The impact can also be looked at from the area of the transactions being undertaken by each company, the time taken to complete a transaction, the quality of account and report presentation, meeting needs of customers. Though the positive impact has been looked at, there is the need to also look at the negative aspect of computerization.
Management made known the negative aspect through the interview conducted that, the cost element involved in maintaining the computers, delays by servers leading to a halt in the banking activities, training of personnel is also costly, modern software’s and the purchase of standby generators cannot be overlooked. IMPROVING THE POSITIVE EFFECTS An interview conducted with the Information Technology manager of Ecobank, Adum branch revealed that, it is important for anything that produces good reports and results to be improved upon to ensure further advancement of its effects on anything in general.
Some of the ways of improving the positive effects of the computerization were made available as have been enumerated below. First of all, the introduction of new technology to build upon the existing ones is an area which must be brought in to reduce the negative effects of computerization. On the side of customer’s, the financial institution will have to make delivery swifter with more and more innovations being put into place for example where the ATM will be placed at vantage points in and out of the city, modes of withdrawals such as the mondex card, e-card and e-zwich.
Any other form of credit card or master card should also be encouraged among clients, such that there should come a time where one can check his account even from the house on any normal phone. New technology will however mean that obsolete software’s being used is to be exchanged with newly advanced ones to bring out the real effects of computerization. Additional codes will have to be identified to ensure areas of extension of the computerization process.
Further more, once computerization is helpful, the institution is seeking to spread its use within the financial institution, where each of the branches would be connected through a more recallable networking system. CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY The computerization of accounting system has really come to stay for which further developments are expected in some few years time such the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) van. Manual accounting systems has not been eliminated completely but reliance and dependency on them has been reduced drastically due to the emergence of computerized accounting systems.
While many financial institutions responded quickly to the use of computers in accounting systems, others still face difficulties in adopting computerized systems of accounting. Most organizations have resorted to the use of computers in their accounting systems because of the inherent accuracy and processing speed of this automated accounting system. . There is generally a calm atmosphere in financial institutions since the whole idea of computerization has now been accepted and is seen as causing higher returns for the Staff and management of Ecobank.
The computerization system has brought about an ease on the hectic and tedious work formerly done manually by financial institutions. Paper work has considerably declined but not completely wiped out for the sake of auditing purpose and other reasons. The computerization of accounting system is setting the pace for other non-financial institutions to even see the need to computerize their accounting system in their financial departments, thereby taking a global turn.
The activities of certain viruses such as car are not felt much as they are all dealt with by the manufactures whereas others cannot be easily noticed on time hence disrupting activities. Backup systems are therefore kept by these financial institutions to help mitigate future problems that are likely to emerge incase computers are infected with viruses and all important documents corrupted or crashed. Ecobank has been able to build up a backup system at Accra which stores all of its information which is retrievable upon any loss of data from any computerized branch.
Upon misplacing ones ATM card the only way out is to re-apply for a card at a cost, which will be charged to the account of the customer. That not much information exists with respect to the computerization of accounting system in general let alone on financial institutions. Not much problems are being faced in the use of computers for accounting work as such allowing work to go on smoothly despite certain hitches here and there. In other to satisfy customers of Ecobank, 100% of the respondent states that Ecobank branch at Adum has computerized its systems fully. 71. % stated that there will be a total computerization of their accounting systems in the next five to ten years. This can be possible if there is adequate power supply in the country. 64. 3% stated that Workload in the bank has decreased as a result of computerization. 100% also that Ecobank has a special accounting package in use called Flex Cube. This helps in storing data and provides good report. On problems encountered on computerization of accounting systems 50% of the respondents stated that cost of training of personnel or staff was high as compared to the manual system, whereas 28. % stated that staff also lacks experience and the rest stated that there is a delay in production. It is also emphasized that the cost of maintenance is high as compared to the manual system of operation. Finally the impact of the computerization of accounting system is seen more on its benefits that are yielding fastest information leading to quick decision making than on its negative effects which is basically the cost of acquisition of the machines and deployments of staff among others. From the research findings, CONCLUSIONS The study revealed the main forms of hardware being used by Ecobank in their operations.
These include the mainframe and the micro computers. On the other hand, some of the software also used by Ecobank includes the Tally, the Aptra the Hawk and the Pips. The more sophisticated ones which include the Aptra, the Hawk and the Sparrow are computer software used by the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). A pip on the other hand is a software that deals with the micro processing of cheque related activities. Upon the research conducted, it came to light that, the whole concept of computers has been of great delight for both benefactors and end users being customers and staff of the financial institution involved respectively.
The introduction of computerized accounting systems on the operation of Ecobank has enhance fast service delivery, up to date and accurate database leading to quality results hence satisfying their customers. Computers are used in financial institutions in general day to day gaining recognition with respect to what it is able to do and what problems it is able to solve. The issue has caused the whole financial sector to aim at the ultimate i. e. the use of computers in its activities. But an organization must now face the practical problem of streamlining and speeding up the asic accounting system so that the accounting department can keep pace with the rapid flow of transaction in the modern businesses. Even though there are problems to be addressed, the computerized accounting system is cherished by all users in the accounts department of these financial institutions who would like to cling to the computers than to go back to those hectic days of the big books of the manual system. Though it caused some level of discomfort such as causing about 35% deployment at Ecobank on the whole it has been a profitable venture .
The impact of the computerization of accounting systems on the operations of Ecobank is a never-ending story due to frequent technological developments that keep occurring within short periods of time. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Upon the interview conducted and responses from questionnaires received, I would want to make the following recommendation for serious consideration: 2. Technology should be more advanced in solving the problems in situations where customers will have to re-apply for the ATM card due to missing pin number or forgetting it. . Staff computer skills should be upgraded frequently as new development on technology keep on springing up to be able to meet current trends in the market. 4. There should be the formation of committee’s on the I. T sections of these financial institution that will monitor the market in the areas of new innovations that are bound to arise in the future coming up in the financial industry for them to study it and see how best they can adopt and implement it in the heat of competitions existing in the market. 5.
ATM machine should be placed at strategic points within selected areas which will enhance its influence in the work of financial institutions . in doing so constant repairs and in filling the machine sufficiently with physical cash should be done frequently to ensure smooth operations. 6. Scholars, authors, and others should be encouraged in the writing of books, magazines and newsletters on the introduction of computers or automation in financial institutions as almost all the information technology in general as such does not really relate to the topic in discussion. 7.
That situations where the ‘server goes down’ should not be left unattended to but that all efforts should be marshaled to ensure that it is very minimal to really experience the true impact of the computerization of accounting system in financial institutions. 8. The public relations departments of all financial institutions should make known to the public by way of advertisement and other sources to really bring out the easiness in using these products, such as the use of the ATM card for savings accounts, cash withdrawals and checking of balance, e-card and monde card for shopping in designated supermarkets throughout the country. . Manufactures should rectify software which is defective in order to ensure continual flow of work output. This however will be made possible when warranties have given, concerning the software among other things 10. There should be routine procedures and schedules for maintenance and repairs of broken down machine to ensure that all the times they will be in good condition to deliver in terms of meeting customers’ needs especially in the area of the ATM. DEFINITION OF TERMS ACCOUNTING SYSTEM: The system that provides the information for us in conducting the affairs of the business.
CODE HOLE: It referred to as a computing programming term that makes accounting packages easily recognized in the areas where an extension on the software is. COMPUTERIZATION: The process of replacing computers with the manual system hence uses electric means to achieve a stated object or work. COMPUTER: Is a general purpose and automatic electric information processing machine. COST ACCOUNTING: Is a conscious and rational procedure by accounts for accumulating cost (however defined) and relating such cost to specific products or departments for effective management action.
FINANCIAL INSTITUTION: Institution that carry out its activities in the form of financial nature. For a examples banks, insurance and financial service providers. FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING: The branch of accounting that is concerned with the recording of transactions using generally accepted accounting principles for a business enterprise other economic unit and with a periodic preparation of various statement. MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING: The branch of accounting that uses both historical and estimated data in providing information which management uses in conducting daily operations and in planning future operations A-6.
PRODUCTIVITY: Is the rate at which a company makes goods which is usually judged in connection with the number of people and the amount of materials necessary to produce the good. SERVICE BUREAU: Is an organization that undertakes to install computers and computerize accounting for financial institutions. I. T. Information technology. NCR: National cash registry – A company that deals mostly in the computerization of institution such as bank, ministries, school etc. ATM: Automated teller machine. CAAT: Computer Assisted Audit Technique, where the computer is used as a tool in the process of undertaking an audit work.
LAN: local area networking WAN: Wider area network MLRP: Manpower Labour Rationalization Programme EDP: Electronic Data Processing PC: Personal Computer E Card: Electronic Card APPENDIX QUESTIONNAIRES FOR STAFF AND MANAGEMENT OF ECOBANK TOPIC: THE IMPACT OF COMPUTERIZATION OF ACCOUNTING SYSTEM ON THE OPERATION OF ECOBANK. The purpose of this study is to enable the researcher gather information on the attitude, perception and practice on the computerization of accounting of software in your institution.
It is purely academic work therefore all information provided would be treated as such and confidentially. Where answers are provided please tick [ ] as appropriate and where answers were not provided please kindly supply the information. 1. Have you fully computerized your accounting system? Yes [ ] No [ ] If yes, what prompted the project? [ ] Reduce Workload [ ] Increase Productivity [ ] Customer Satisfaction Others Specify………………………………………………………………………… 2. Have the entire problem in the financial institution been solved? ] Fully [ ] Partially [ ] Not 3. How long have your accounting system been computerized? [ ] less than 5 years [ ] 6 – 10 years [ ] 11 – 20 years Others specify ………………………………………………………………………….. 4. What major problem did you encounter in the computerization of your accounting system? [ ] High cost of training staff [ ] Lack of experience [ ] Delay in production Others ………………………………………………………………………………………… 5. What steps did you take or have been taken to salvage the situation? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. . Was there any staff deployment due to the computerization? [ ] Yes [ ] No If yes, what effect did it have on the institution? [ ] Work overload [ ] over taxation Others ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 7. What is the ratio of staff to computer since the introduction of computerization? [ ] 1 : 1 [ ] 2: 1 [ ] 3: 1 Others…………………………………………………………………………………………… 8. Is there any special accounting package in use? [ ] Yes [ ] No Which software…………………………………………………………………………….. 9. What is the effect f computerized accounting system on your productivity? [ ] High return [ ] Break even [ ] Low return 10. What do you like about the manual system that computerized accounting system could not provide?……………………………………………………………………………………. 11. Are you facing any problems in the use of computers for accounting purpose? [ ] Yes [ ] No If yes, in what areas [ ] Obsolescence [ ] Difficulty in retrieving information Others……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2. Can there ever be a totally computerized accounting system in other branches in the country? [ ] Yes [ ] No If yes, how long [ ] 6-10 years [ ]11-15 years [ ] 16-20 years Others……………………………………………………………………………………………. 13. How do you see the workload after computerization? [ ] Increase [ ] Decrease [ ] Normal Interview questions for the management of Ecobank 1. What is the profile of Ecobank Ghana Limited 2. What is the history behind the computerization of accounting systems in Ecobank 3.
Does Ecobank have a fully computerized accounting system? 4. What prompted the introduction of computerized accounting system? 5. What was some of the problems they encounter? 6. What was the attitude of their worker BIBLIOGRAPHY Nsouli, (2002), challenges of the E – banking revolution. Sangster, (2002), business accounting Sangster (1992) strategies for Business Decisions 2nd edition Koerber k. (1992), accounting systems Hilton (1994) cost management accounting 2nd edition Bagronoff (1996) Decision support tools for choosing accounting software Ecobank Annual Report

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