Computer Networks for Productivity Gains

By Siegel, Joel G.; Grippo, Frank et al. | The CPA Journal, May 2004 | Go to article overview

Computer Networks for Productivity Gains


Siegel, Joel G., Grippo, Frank, Amit, Annie, The CPA Journal


Computer networks have many practical business applications. Local Area Networks (LAN), Wide Area Networks (WAN), and mobile wireless networks are of immense value in the business world. all three are tools to accumulate and analyze business-related information to make informed decisions.

There are many advantages to networks, including the sharing of data, software, and hardware within an organization. A network is fast, cost-effective, and promotes increased worker productivity. Networks allow computer administrators to have standardized configurations. all computers can access, revise, add, delete, and update data on a centralized file server.

One LAN can be connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves. If a company has multiple office buildings, a WAN can be used to share business files and accounting information across the country. A WAN is a geographically scattered telecommunications network that joins together LANs scattered in different places.

Networks are used daily by:

* Information systems and network managers, along with support staff, that operate and maintain the system.

* Application system developers that set up and modify the network.

* Business managers that deal with network staff and make informed business decisions.

* Customers and vendors of a company, who may need to be connected to the company's network to obtain relevant data. (Outsider-approved use of a network is referred to as extranet.)

* Security personnel that use networks in order to implement security procedures to safeguard software and hardware.

* Financial managers and analysts that are involved with appraising the funding for network equipment acquisitions.

* Accountants that have to audit the financial records on a company's network. Auditors can use software packages such as Microforge's Network Auditor 3.0 (www.microforge.net), which will check a computer network for faulte or changes and determine exactly what hardware and software is installed. It also tracks software legitimacy. The program keeps all the information it gathers in a central database. It allows the auditor to audit machines individually, and define exactly what information is stored.

Networked Accounting

There are many benefits to networked accounting, which is when accounting software resides on a server and is accessible by all PCs on the network connected to that server. Networked accounting enables companies to improve customer service by giving immediate access to customer accounts. When customers call with inquiries, their information can be immediately accessed, translating into greater customer satisfaction and more efficient business practices.

Networked accounting also helps improve managerial decision making by giving management immediate access to financial information. Managers have the ability to monitor cash flow, spot problem areas in receivables or inventory, and review the company's daily fiscal condition.

Finally, networked accounting saves time and money. Networked accounting systems allow employees to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. For example, one employee can enter orders received while another calculates payments to vendors. Accounts payable employees do not have to wait for the accounts receivable employees to finish their tasks. Payroll operators can enter information while managers are preparing payroll report data.

System security

Systems should include sophisticated security and password features that allow users varying degrees of access. For example, a customer service representative might have access to individual account balances but not to employee payroll data.

Networks and Business

After applications have been centralized, the next step is to centralize files and directories so databases are accessible from every computer. Files can also be shared between members of a group, who often work together on a single file. …

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