Computer based information systems for the small firm

Frederick Francis Newpeck
1977 Proceedings of the June 13-16, 1977, national computer conference on - AFIPS '77  
The following article presents advice to the small business considering automation of information flows. Topics discussed are, why and when to automate, the costs of automation, how to avoid failure, how to specify functional needs, and what to expect from the vendor contract. WHY COMPUTERIZE A MANUAL SYSTEM? If a small business has annual sales of $250,000, it should consider the purchase of a small business computer to automate some of its information flows. A computer system would allow a
more » ... sonal business requiring huge amounts of clerical effort in a short period of time to expand and contract while maintaining a small clerical staff. Volume of data input may vary, but input is only a small part of the total clerical effort required to process data in a manual system. To reduce the complexity of manual accounting systems, a computer can integrate accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, payroll, and job cost accounting in a system which provides one-time data entry. When data is entered, the system automaticarr) updules Lht:: llt:~t!s~ar'y files and ledgers. Accuracy and integrity of the firm's accounting system is enhanced by eliminating human processing of data. To control day-to-day business, management may need more accurate and timely information. Once data is accurately entered into a computing system, it is processed with 100 percent accuracy at electronic speeds. Furthermore, the computer can be programmed to display the same data in a variety of ways to give the manager a better current perspective. For example, if a summary report indicates a problem area, a preprogrammed detail report can provide analysis of the problem area. Manual systems could provide the same information, but at the cost of high clerical salaries and precious time. Hence, small business managers tend to "fly by the seat of their pants," making decisions on "feel" and soft data. A computer can rationalize management. From the collection of the Computer History Museum (
doi:10.1145/1499402.1499427 dblp:conf/afips/Newpeck77 fatcat:fmhdigsmkbh7fc2gn6sf6uwhem