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The reason of this project is to provide with the right tools in information technology my friend in order to have a successful business able to compete in the market. For that matter I will first identify and discus what problems do the previous owners have with the accounting system and the information processing. Then I will develop a plan that implements the creation of an information system and incorporates information technology in order to improve the business and acquire competitive advantages in the market. My plan will involve the creation of a network system; then I will provide the business with the right tools and hardware to operate the correspondent application software and finally I am going to give him the reasons and advantages of a right information system with the right information technology.
My friend, Jorge Orozco, just bought a small retail business for selling jewelry. He has been having some problems with the accounting system since previous owners had a very archaic method of running the business. First they didn't have a proper system to record any of the transactions; they kept most of the transactions in their heads. Second the register consisted in a small shoe box containing the cash and the copies of the hand written receipts. By looking at these details I conclude that they did not accepted credit or debit cards or even checks since they didn't possessed any reading device for any of those paying methods. It was definitely a disaster; I couldn't imagine a business without any information system. How could they keep track of inventory, how could they record the expenses and revenues, their liabilities, and mostly important how could they file any financial statement without the presence of an accountant or an information technology application. That was the point where I suggested to my friend that he should implement an information system and that he must include also information technologies to his business in order to plan well his objectives, be able to compete in the market, and successfully achieve his goals. To clarify more his mind I explain to him about information system which is "the organized combination of people, hardware, software, communication network, data resources, and policies and procedures that stores, retrieves, transform, and disseminates information in an organization (James A. O'Brien, George M. Marakas)". In other words an information system is how you incorporate technology such as computerized cash registers, a good network for better communications within the business and outside, good computer systems to track and record every transaction, into your business in order to optimize work and be more efficient. First step in my plan was to build a strong network, not too big since is a small business and my friend needs to stay within his budget, but a network capable of interconnect a server computer, a couple of desktop computers, cash register, the security system, and some other peripherals such as printer, scanner, and credit card machines and check readers, all of this at a fair speed of transit. For this matter either a good Ethernet hub with enough ports to support all the devices or a switch could work since there are very few nodes to be used. Next step is to look for the proper hardware to support the applications that he will use to run the business. Microcomputers will be fine since these could be used as personal computers, network computers, the cash register, and still being not so expensive. Specs for these computers could be a 3-4 GHz dual-core processor, up to 4 GB RAM memory, and around 500 GB of hard drive. Next step would be to incorporate a nice operating system not too expensive but at the same time capable to run all the applications needed to operate the business. At first he did not know what I was talking about and why should he use an operating system, so I had to explain to him what an operating system is? "An operating system is an integrated system of programs that manages the operations of the CPU, controls the input/output and storage resources and activities of the computer system, and provides various support services as the computer executes the application programs for users (James A. O'Brien, George M. Marakas)". Basically the operating system serves as interpreter between the user and the computer; it is the one in charge to transform the inputs into computer language in order for the CPU to process it and then it displays the output for the user in a legible manner. The operating system I suggested was Windows XP Pro with the latest update because is not very expensive, it works perfect in most computers, doesn't require a lot of memory or processor speed, and is compatible with most software he will use. Having these basic steps completed he would be able to run basic application software either general-purpose applications such as Microsoft Office featuring Microsoft Word (word processing) which is very important for reading and writing documents, Microsoft Excel (spreadsheet) mainly used for calculations, tables, and charts; Microsoft PowerPoint (graphic presentation) very used to present planning and ideas through graphic images, videos, and sound; Microsoft Access (database management) very useful to keep records and do many other operations which I don't think my friend would do. Other general-purpose applications are electronic mail which is a rapid way of communication and web browser which allows you to navigate on the World Wide Web using the Internet. Also for the business he might use some specific application software for marketing, human resource management, and accounting. For marketing purposes I suggested to build a web site of the business where customer could check out the products, any promotion, compare prices with the same products in other stores, contact the business for any question and concern, and to show the customers some services that the business provide such as repairs and custom made jewels. I explained to him that an accounting information system is crucial in any business since these are used to record and report business transactions and other economic event. Also with them you can keep track of order processing, inventory, accounts receivable, account payable, payroll, and they produce important financial statement such as income statement which reflects the most accurate description of the business's profitability in a period of time by showing the revenues and expenses and reflecting a net income or a net loss, balance sheet which reports the financial position of the business in a certain point in time presenting the business assets, the liabilities or debts, and the business net worth, and the statement of cash flow which includes the cash flows for operating, financing, and investing activities. According to his business and his monetary capabilities I thought about an easy, affordable, and reliable accounting system application that is Intuit QuickBooks. Besides all the functions before explained that an accounting system will provide, QuickBooks also would help when generating invoices or receipts to bill out customers and to make quick and easy bank deposits. At that point I believe he could start running the business without any complications, being able to fulfill any need that he or the business might have in order to operate well. Perhaps some improvement may come later when the business starts growing and technology keeps innovating.
To conclude we could say that by the time I finish my plan the business will be able to work more efficient than it did before. Also it will be more organized since is making use of an information system with the correct information technology; this would make the business owner, my friend, to keep better records of every transaction and every detail involving the business. The use of the Internet will be essential for the business since this allows better communication with the customers and suppliers and the creation of the web site will improve marketing very well. Also the use of an application for the accounting system will optimize the work and will provide better results.