There are very many different types of accounting information systems used in business organizations today. The size of the organization, the nature of its processes, the extent of computerization, and the philosophy of management all affect the choice of system. Simply to organize the study of accounting information systems, we have divided the systems in place into three categories, as follows:

  1. Manual systems
  2. Legacy systems
  3. Modern, integrated IT systems


Certainly, most large or medium-size organizations use computerized accounting systems rather than manual record-keeping systems. However, there are many small organizations that use manual systems, in whole or in part, to maintain accounting records. In addition, even those larger organizations that have computerized aspects of the accounting information system may still have parts of their processes that involve manual records. For example, even if the calculation and printing of a paycheck in an organization are computerized, the employee time card may be completed by hand.

Because small organizations often use manual record-keeping systems—and even computerized systems may rely on some manual record keeping—it is important to examine manual processes in accounting information systems. An entirely manual system would require source documents and paper-based ledgers and journals.

A source document is a record that captures the key data of a transaction. ...

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