THE INFLUENCE OF TECHNOLOGY IN ACCOUNT PRACTICES IN FINANCIAL INSTUTUTIONS IN CAMEROON
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The main aim of this research is to investigate and give a thorough analysis on the “IMPACTS OF ICT ON ACCOUNTING PRACTICES IN CAMEROON”. This is done based on the hypothesis whether or not there exist any significant effect of ICT on accounting practices in financial institutions as case study micro finances in Buea. The main objective of the study is to analyse the impact of ICT on accounting practices in banks and micro finance institutions. The data used in this study is collected both from primary and secondary sources and are analysed using analytical tools; Chi square, tables and graphs. The current study looks slightly at the audited reports, company’s financial performance and opinion from employees as a basis for the work evaluation. The study is based on a formulated hypothesis and both descriptive and inferential statistical tools were employed to analyse the data. ICT cover a broad area in corporate world and produce quality information for the internal and external users to the business organization. The users of ICT are satisfied about their systems. The study shows that ICT impact on the study area is efficient since the examination of various indicators of efficiency showed favourable results and the responses of the surveyed respondents showed positive comments. The results show that ICT has an effect on the accounting practices in financial institutions and organizational effectiveness. Recommendations were subsequently made to both the management and non-management (employees) to increase their awareness on the
Today’s business environment is very dynamic and undergoes rapid changes as a result of technological innovation, increased awareness and demands from customers. Business organizations, especially the banking industry of the 21st century operates in a complex and competitive environment characterized by these changing conditions and highly unpredictable economic climate. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is at the center of this global change curve. It was contended that managers cannot ignore Information Systems because they play a critical role in contemporary organization. They point out that the entire cash flow of most fortune 500 companies is linked to Information System.
There has been substantial improvement in the banking industry globally over the years. The way and manner in which financial services are delivered to customers has changed over the years. There has been significant change and improvement in the structure of the banking industry even though the banks traditional functions have been the same. It was asserted that there has been an increased in the various channels through which people can access financial services. New delivery technologies through e-banking products such as Internet banking, mobile banking and various Automated Teller Machine (ATM) products are now replacing the traditional delivery methods .
Electronic banking involves using electronic and telecommunication networks in delivering the various processed products and services to the clients of banks . That is, it is simply carrying out banking operations through the use of information technology. It has been argued by  that, Electronic banking emerged from e-commerce in the field of banking and financial services. It can be said that, the driving force of electronic banking in every country is Information and Communication Technology (ICT). There has been an improvement in the way and efficiency with which banks render services to customers since the introduction of electronic banking . The Banking industry in every country including Cameroon cannot do without information systems because information systems have an important roleto play in current banking system. All the cash flows of almost every bank are linked to the information systems within that particular bank.This is an issue which has become very important and of great concern to the industry as well as a necessity for both local and international competitive banking is the application of information and communication technology concepts, techniques, policies and implementation strategies to banking services .
The banking industry has undergone an improvement in the delivery of services as a result of the improvement in Technology. For instance, consumers can now carry out banking transactions beyond banking hours through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and deposit machines. It is possible for an individual to check his/her account balance and make payments without going to the banking hall by means of online banking. The end result is likely to be the creating of a society where consumers no longer have to pay for all their purchases with hard cash. Bank customers can for instance pay bills and purchase other goods by transferring the money directly from their accounts, or pay for various services by electronic transfers of credit to the sellers account .
As mobile phones have become commonly used by the population in every area of the country, banks had the urge to introduce mobile banking service to cater for customers who are always on the move. Mobile banking allows individuals to check and receive their account balances and transfer funds from their accounts for various purposes using their mobile phones . Since the inception of this innovation, banks have employed various methods for perfecting this service through the interlinking of customers (deposit accounts with mobile money transfer systems). By so doing, this e-banking service has made banking transactions easier around the World of which Cameroon is no exception. Effective financial performance is required to enable the organization to be able to survive in both the short and in the long run.
Even though there are many enumerated importance of Information Communication Technology and e-commerce, there has been various arguments on whether their adoption improves banks (financial performance or not). Investing in the use of ICT needs additional skills, structural changes in the organization together with innovation to be able access the full impact; E-banking has the potential of creating a great influence on turnover and profitability of Banks by creating employment opportunities, especially when it is part of the overall corporate strategy of the Bank. The overall increment and improvement in the financial performance of the bank in terms of market share value, increased product range, tailor-made products and efficient customer demand response can be obtained by the use of e-banking. E-banking services continuously affect banks operations and their income structure. Some of the operations and services that are most likely to be affected by the change are those that have not been combined with ICT developments. This is especially true for some retail banking activities that can be standardized, and also to developments in remote banking . It is against this background that there is the need to research into the impact of Information Communication Technology on accounting practices in financial institutes in Cameroon.
Cameroon banking sector has witnessed many changes since the introduction of e-banking. At the moment, customers of financial institutions have efficient, fast and convenient services. In the efforts of providing quality and acceptable services, most institutions in Cameroon have resulted to invest huge funds in information and communication Technologies. While the rapid growth in information technology has made some institutions tasks more efficient and cost effective, investments in various technological infrastructure are taking a larger share of these institutions (accrued income). Currently, apart from staff costs and other operational costs, technology is usually the item in the budget with the highest cost of most financial institutions, and the fastest growing item as well.
Banks(branches) in Cameroon were not networked to operate together implying that if a person has an account at say Ecobank bank, CCA, that person can only withdraw from and save at only that branch. But now, branches of banks in Cameroon have now been networked through software called T24. The networking of banks in Cameroon through this software implies that customers of banks in Cameroon can now deposit or withdraw money from any branch of a bank without necessarily going to his/her main branch.
This huge investment in ICT infrastructure by these Financial Institutions will have variable impacts on both the operational and financial performance of the institutions, this research therefore elaborates the negative and positive impacts of ICT on accounting practices in financial institutions in Cameroon.
The prime objective of the study is to make an assessment of the impact of ICT on accounting practices in financial institutions in Cameroon. From this main objective, the following specific objectives have been developed:
To assess the positive impacts of ICT investments on accounting practices in financial institutions in Cameroon.
To assess the negative impacts of ICT investments on accounting practices in financial institutions in Cameroon.
To provide answers to the research objectives, the researchers outline the following questions:
- What positive impacts does ICT investments have on accounting practices in financial institutions in Cameroon?
- What negative impacts does ICT investments have on accounting practices in financial institutions in Cameroon?
- How the financial institutions do performs after adoption of ICT in accounting practices?