This chapter introduces open source software (OSS) for accounting and enterprise information systems. It covers the background, functions, maturity models, adoption issues, strategic considerations, and future trends for small accounting systems as well as large-scale enterprise systems. The authors hope that understanding OSS for financial applications will not only inform readers of how to better analyze accounting and enterprise information systems but will also assist in the understanding of relationships among the various functions.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Database Management System (DBMS): A specialized software package that serves as the repository of an organization’s data. The DBMS organizes and manages the data so they are available to applications programs such as the accounting information system.
Accounting Information System (AIS): A subset of the management information systems composed of the people, processes, and assets that are responsible for the financial information of an organization. The AIS collects transaction data, monitors internal controls, and produces accounting information such as financial statements and budgets.
Request for Proposal (RFP): An RFP is a document utilized in the acquisition process for the purchase of software and services. An RFP documents the needs of the acquiring organization and defines all specific requirements that the acquiring organization has related to functionality, delivery time, post-acquisition support, additional services, and so forth. The RFP also defines specific requirements for vendors responding to the request, including information that is required in their requests, the deadline for responses, financial disclosure, security and intellectual property rights, and so forth.
Internal Control: The set of management procedures, either manually performed or automated by information systems, that are utilized to assure that an organization’s management policies and procedures are adhered to and that the objectives of the organization are being achieved. Internal controls processes include monitoring risks and monitoring the reliability and quality of information within the organization.
Strategic Planning: A plan created by top management to achieve the general long-range vision and mission of the organization. This plan may include multi-year goals related to technology infrastructure, large capital projects, governance policies, financial budgets, and market share objectives.
Relational Data Model: A model in which data are viewed by users as two-dimensional tables. Each table represents an entity type such as a customer. Rows are instances of an entity, and columns are attributes of the entity. The tables relate or link to each other through shared attributes.
Auditing: An independent objective review and assessment of an organization’s financial processes and information to validate that appropriate internal control processes are followed, that the information resulting from these processes is valid, and that risks are being monitored and responded to appropriately.
Cross-Functional Integration: The process of combining the various functional business activities within an organization by bridging the boundaries and enabling the flow of information among the various organizational functions.