Sample Research Proposal in Accounting : An Investigation on the Efficacy of Financial and Accounting Software Tools: Technical Analysis Software, Straight Thought Processing and Microsoft Office Accounting
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The working title of this research is initially
drafted as – An Investigation on the Efficacy of Financial and Accounting
Software Tools: Technical Analysis Software, Straight Thought Processing and
Microsoft Office Accounting
Background of the Study
Recent changes proved that technology played a
greater role in doing financial and accounting commerce. The application of
software tools encompasses treasury functions such as cash management,
investment and debt management and financial risk management; the financial
supply chain including management of financial functions across the enterprise
for cash management and cost reductions; and the general controlling of
accounting processes such as consolidation, planning and budgeting and report
generation. The primary advantage of these web-based tools is the access to
real-time information which aids decision-making.
The challenge for the continuously expanding
finance industry lies in the deployment of open systems and maximising the
potential of intranet/Internet-based computing. The purpose of such endeavor is
to ensure that company’s vital financial and analytical information is readily
and constantly available. There are two categories of financial and accounting
support tools: core and functional analytics. Core analytics include tools
intended fro optimization, statistical analysis and mathematics whereas
functional analytics purport on analytics for fixed income, equity, derivatives,
portfolio optimization, risk management and foreign exchange.
For the financial services industry,
managing the finances for individuals, groups and organisations can be daunting
and tedious but the computerised financial system should ease the task. There
are financial and accounting softwares readily available in the market and
prices conform to pecuniary capabilities of the companies. The Technical
Analysis Software and the Straight Thought Processing are examples of financial
software tools and the Microsoft Office Accounting is basically accounting
software. Financial softwares are intended for business process interoperability
while accounting softwares are for accounting information system.
The Technical Analysis Software
automates functions of charting, analysis and reporting to support technical
analysts in their review and prediction of financial markets. The features of
this software includes charting, back testing, optimisation, scanner, alerts,
custom indicators, data feed and broker interface. Such software is available in
the form of commercial or open source software which could be available on a
computer or suitable mobile phone or personal digital assistant (PDA).
Straight Thought Processing (STP),
on the other hand, enables the electronic conduct of the entire trade process
for capital markets and payment transactions minus the need to re-key or for
manual intervention. STP supports the goal to minimise settlement risk for the
execution of a trade for its settlement and clearing to eventually occur on a
just-in-time basis. The profound benefits of STP when fully realised will be on
providing asset managers, brokers/dealers, custodians, banks and other financial
services players to shortened processing cycles, reduced settlement risks and
lower operating costs.
Developed by Microsoft, this
accounting software is a complete accounting solution for small businesses as it
save time in managing the daily tasks, get organised and provide opportunities
for growing the business online. Equipped with business templates, Microsoft
Office Accounting provide real-time insight to the business including bank
account balances, important reminders and accounts receivable and payable.
Nonetheless, professionals who seek software
tools to perform financial services faced a mixed market with several options.
Software development brings incremental improvements in terms of speed and
functionality. However, none of the existing financial software packages has
gained enough dominance when it comes to consolidating the financial market.
These financial software tools too allow insights into nooks and crannies of the
organisations implementing such. For this reason, financial software
applications should be critically evaluated to determine where along the
technological continuum they lie.
Statement of the Problem
The issue that the study will focus on is the
extent of effectiveness of these financial and accounting softwares. How these
software can add value to the organisations and how their functionality
contribute to the optimisation of financial and accounting processes will be
investigated. The research will answer the following specific questions:
What are the basic functions and
features of these software tools?
In what specific ways do these
software tools assist in accomplishing business processes?
What are the benefits and
detriments of these software tools?
How do they contribute to the
economic growth of the companies?
How important are software tools
to the companies?
What are the limitations of these
Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is to draw evaluative
conclusions on the level of efficacy that the software tools provide for the
business. The following specific objectives will be addressed:
To determine the value-adding
attributes of the software tools to the financial services industry
To outline the benefits and
drawbacks of the software tools that affects how companies/firms/organisations
conduct their business
To investigate how these software
tools provide quality to the business conduct and therefore to the success of
To outline the parameters of
effectiveness of the software tools
To increase the overall
understanding in the current software utilisation trend and to build theories on
how companies/firms/organisations could maximise the potential
A literature review will be provided in the
actual study, which will be put in the second chapter. The study will review
documents – published and unpublished – and present related literatures. This
will include literatures from Rasmussen, Deshmukh, Fox, Thierauf and other
proponents of financial and accounting software tools as a mean to optimise
business endeavors. Literatures about the financial and accounting industry will
also be reviewed as well as literatures that depict or reject the importance of
software tools in doing business.
For the purpose of providing the readers to
obtain references about the different concepts and elements used in the study,
literatures will be reviewed to increase the knowledge about the topic and to
help in the analysis of data. Literatures will be acquired from online journal
databases such as Blackwell Synergy, Emerald and Questia. Initially, several
related literatures have already been researched for this study.
Rasmussen, Eichorn, Barak and Prince (n.d.)
present Process Improvement for Effective Budgeting and Financial Reporting
the impact of recent technology trends on how firm approach their financial and
accounting. They also discussed the analytics applications and the role of
The second book which will be of immense
significance is that of Jack Fox (2001) entitled Building a Profitable Online
Accounting Practice. Fox describe proven strategies for establishing the
thriving virtual accounting practice and presents in-depth coverage of the
several accounting and consulting services offered by accountants over the
Handbook of Technology in Financial Services
will be the third book to be used to
draw insights from. Written by Jessica Keyes in 1998, the book discloses the
calculus of IT in support of the banking, securities and insurance industries.
The problem-oriented book which is taken from both technology and business
perspective also presents challenges and solutions associated with the financial
According to Saunders et al (2003), research perspectives usually
consist of three parts, the perspective of the positivist, interpretivist and
the realist approaches. In my research I will be using the Interpretivist
approach, (in between the continuum), as my research is exploratory, wherein, I
will be exploring the degree to which the software tools identified could
generally improve the accounting and financial processes of organisations. On
the other hand, how and why these companies rely on these software tools to
contribute to their business will be also explored. Thereby, using an Inductive
approach to form a theory as to why and how companies resort to software tools
utilisation towards the improvement of internal processes.
The research approach is exploratory
as it intends to explore and compare the effectiveness of the software tools to
the advantage of the companies that are currently using it. This approach is a
preferred mean of finding out “what is happening to seek new insights” or “to
ask questions or to assess phenomena in a new light” (Saunders et al,
2003). This study will use the principal ways of conducting exploratory
research, which include: literature search; talking to experts about the
subject; and conducting focus group interview.
My research will operate within the Cross-Sectional Design, as I will be
collecting data on more than one case, using questionnaires, semi-structured
interviews, structured observation, and document analysis. The benefit of this
would be that Ì would be able to focus on the breath and depth of the research.
Moreover, by exploring the breath of the topic, I am increasing my validity and
the truthfulness of my research, and thereby minimize the confounding variables.
The research will utilise both primary and secondary research. In primary
research, the study will survey employees of five organisations which are
currently using the software tools as well as interviews on experts. A
structured questionnaire will be developed and it will be used as the survey
tool for the study. It is planned that the questionnaire will have a 5 point
Likert Scale, as well as ranking, probing and hypothetical questions.
A secondary research will also be conducted in
the study. Sources in secondary research will include
previous research reports, newspaper, magazine and journal content. Existing
findings on journals and existing knowledge on books will be used as secondary
research. The interpretation will be conducted which can account as qualitative
The sampling will be on two stages: first for the organisation and second
for the financial and accounting personnels. The first sampling technique to be
used is the purposive sampling. This non-probability sampling refers to sampling
with specific criteria in mind. As such, the study will sample five
organisations which are currently using financial or accounting software. The
software tools they are using should be Technical Analysis Software, Straight
Thought Processing and/or Microsoft Office Accounting. In the second stage, the
employees will be sampled through a simple random sampling. 300 questionnaires
must be accomplished with the hope that 50% will be returned.
Analysis and Presentation of Data
The secondary data will be analysed through
qualitative analysis. The primary data, on the other hand, will be analysed
using the frequency analysis with the following formula:
– to determine the magnitude of the responses to the questionnaire.
% = -------- x 100 ; n – number of responses
N N – total number of respondents
f1x1 + f2x2 + f3x3
+ f4x4 + f5x5
x = --------------------------------------------- ;
where: f – weight given to each response
x – number of responses
xt – total
number of responses
The dissertation will be
presented in written form with the addition of data charts which will present
the project’s results. Pie charts and network charts will be needed to
illustrate some of the analyzed data. This cannot be confirmed, however, until
the research data have been analyzed.
Fox, J. (2001). Building a Profitable Online
Accounting Practice. John Wiley and Sons Publishing.
Keyes, J. (1998). Handbook of Technology in
Financial Services: 1999. CRC Press.
Rasmussen, N. H., Eichorn, C. J., Barak, C. S.
and Prince, T. (n.d.). Process Improvement for Effective Budgeting and
Financial Reporting. Wiley Publishing.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A.
(2003). Research Methods for Business Students, 3rd Ed.
London: Prentice Hall Financial Times.