Aurora International Trading – Background
Aurora International Trading is a UK-based company. The company contracts the design and manufacturing of plastic goods to the Chinese company ‘Shenzhen Happy Star Industrial Plastics Limited’.This Company is based in the Guangdong province of the Peoples Republic of China. Although the production is monitored from the UK the actual manufacturing of the plastic goods takes place in China and the selling in the UK is controlled by Aurora. The information system in any business organization has become a vital factor in determining the competitive edge of the organization. With the advancement of information and communication technology and with the enlargement of businesses across geographical locations the use of sophisticated information systems and the alignment of the information system strategies with the overall corporate objectives are being considered as essential for the success of any business – big or small; domestic or international. This paper details the information system and software that can be used by Aurora.
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Information System Required
Considering the number of staff and the operations involved it can be inferred that Aurora needs a business application system for a small business. The company need not go in for any sophisticated or enlarged Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) systems as there is no manufacturing involved. The business application should combine financial accounting software, procurement software, payroll systems, documents management software, and business intelligence software.
Financial Accounting Software
The financial accounting software should have the ability to:
- Enable the organization to grow without adding additional accounting staff
- Provide easy access to all accounting information to the managers so that they will be able to make better and faster decisions to run the business more efficiently
- Provide the facility of integrating accounting with other management information systems so that there is an overall improvement in the organizational efficiency
- Ensure a quick return on investment by having the feature of easy setup and improved methods of using and
- Provide enhanced system security and control
The software should cover core accounting, expense processing, and invoice approval and should also take care of management reporting and analysis.
Though presently the company is having an arrangement with Happy Star only in the future the company may go in for new suppliers. Therefore the software that needs to be installed for procurement should consider the future use and should provide for the following functions:
- The system should cover the entire function of the procurement process starting from initial tendering and contract management, raising of requisitions, authorization, raising of the purchase orders, and receipt of goods via eProcurement or requisitioning modules.
- The software should be able to manage the complete resourcing including the contract and supplier management. The software should have the ability to automatically process the procurement from end to end.
- The systems should also take care of managing and controlling the receipt, matching, authorization, and payment of supplier invoices.
Inventory Management and Sales Accounting
It is really important that the company install system software that takes care of the inventory management along with raising of sales invoices as there will be several invoices that need to be raised and accounted for the proper functioning of Aurora. Whenever sales take place the system should automatically update the stock records and show the quantities available in the warehouse in respect of different items of stock. The invoices accounting should be integrated with the other accounting software so that the accounts receivable ledger will get automatically updated whenever sales take place. Proper integration of the inventory and sales accounting will enable the company to have better customer management as the staff will be up-to-date on the stock information.
The payroll system software should be a fully functional one that can be integrated with the human resources system requirements. The software should be able to produce the payroll of the employees based on their attendance data gathered electronically through their timecards. The system should be capable of producing all statutory reports and year-end processing of the employee information. The system developed for payroll should also stand audit trails. In addition, the software should be made to cover the employee expense management so that the process of reimbursement of expenses to the employees can be monitored.
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Document Management System
The main purpose of this software is to reduce the number of papers being handled at the office and warehouse level so that the company will be able to work with a lesser number of people. Document imaging is one of the areas that will help in automatic document archiving, scanning, and structured storage for easy future retrieval. Since Aurora is an import-oriented organization and will have several retail customers the papers must be managed very well. Well-organized document management system software should enable the staff to file, index, track, retrieve and distribute documents instantly and efficiently from their desktops. The system should take care that there is no problem of missing or mislaid documents.
Business Intelligence Software
The business intelligence and reporting software enable the organization to assess past performance and forecast the future. This includes installing enterprise planning software that facilitates the drawing up of the budget of the organization and the forecasting of future growth effectively. The software should ideally encompass cash flow forecasting that enables Aurora to manage its cash through flexible modeling and integration with the financial accounting software. Effective cash management is an important function that is critically important for early detection of likely excess or shortage of cash and to manage the exact requirements of cash. The business intelligence software also needs to include a complete corporate performance management solution to assess the performance of the company.
A careful assessment of the information system requirements within different functional areas calls for the installation of a comprehensive information system that is based on efficient software capable of complete integration of the systems of all functional areas. This will enable the management of the company to get timely information on the functioning of the company and will also enable them to make appropriate business decisions at the required point in time. Especially in the case of companies like Aurora where the business is largely dependent on manufacturing in outside locations, the company must have a complete grip on the entire activities of the company. This is possible only by installing information systems containing effective software coupled with the required configuration of hardware.
Having assessed the information system requirements of Aurora it is considered advisable to invest in the ‘Smart Business Suite’ being offered by COA Solutions (COA Solutions). This application software combines core financial accounting software, procurement software, payroll systems, document management, and business intelligence software. All these software combined will take care of the information system needs of Aurora. In addition, the company may have to order with COA for a comprehensive and integrated inventory and sales management software that can be combined with all other software. COA solutions appear to have the necessary packages of business software solutions to meet the needs of the businesses like that of Aurora’s. Proper identification of the configuration of the hardware required is also a must to have the full advantage of the information system proposed to be implemented by Aurora. The company before embarking upon the buying and installing of the software should appoint able staff to man the information system department. The company needs to identify qualified and experienced computer personnel to be appointed at different levels to ensure the information system is being implemented and monitored properly and efficiently.