The seventh edition of Accounting Information Systems includes a full range of new and revised homework assignments and up-to-date content changes, as well as several reorganized chapters. All of these changes add up to more student and instructor enhancements than ever before. As this preface makes clear, we have made these changes to keep students and instructors as current as possible on issues such as business processes, systems development methods, IT governance and strategy, security, internal controls, and relevant aspects of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.
Focus and Flexibility in Designing Your AIS Course
Among accounting courses, accounting information systems (AIS) courses tend to be the least standardized. Often the objectives, background, and orientation of the instructor, rather than adherence to a standard body of knowledge, determines the direction the AIS course takes. Therefore, we have designed this text for maximum flexibility:
• This textbook covers a full range of AIS topics to provide instructors with flexibility in setting the direction and intensity of their courses.
• At the same time, for those who desire a structured model, the first nine chapters of the text, along with the chapters on electronic commerce and computer controls, provide what has proven to be a successful template for developing an AIS course.
• Earlier editions of this book have been used successfully in introductory, advanced, and graduate-level AIS courses.
• The topics in this book are presented from the perspective of the managers’ and accountants’ AIS-related responsibilities under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
• Although this book was written primarily to meet the needs of accounting majors about to enter the modern business world, we have also developed it to be an effective text for general business and industrial engineering students who seek a thorough understanding of AIS and internal control issues as part of their professional education.
This book employs a conceptual framework to emphasize the professional and legal responsibility of accountants, auditors, and management for the design, operation, and control of AIS applications. This responsibility pertains to business events that are narrowly defined as financial transactions. Systems that process nonfinancial transactions are not subject to the standards of internal control under Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.
Supporting the information needs of all users in a modern organization, however, requires systems that integrate both accounting and nonaccounting functions. While providing the organization with unquestioned benefit, a potential consequence of such integration is a loss of control due to the blurring of the lines that traditionally separate AIS from non-AIS functions. The conceptual framework presented in this book distinguishes AIS applications that are legally subject to specific internal control standards.