Accounting without Accountants

The accounting of large companies has changed a lot in the last 30 years. Many manual workflows were rationalized. Even small businesses have had computers for over 20 years, and they can create technical structures that enable them to generate all the information needed to run a good business without expensive professionals. This task should pay much more attention to business research.

In a research semester, I had tried and tested processes that enable small businesses to record their business transactions without accounting skills in a spreadsheet. The data would then be uploaded to a server and machine processed in professional software. A little later, the desired reports would be sent back by e-mail in PDF format.

In the meantime, the data in the companies is very strongly networked and the accounting programs are part of larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Reference is made to the presentation in the BW-Portal underützendes/erp/. But even under these conditions, small businesses can use the full width:

Figure: ERP for small businesses

(own representation)


The individual components of the ERP have to be pulled apart while maintaining the networking. The tasks from the value-adding-chain must be supported by applications that the small business owner directly applies himself. These are in particular purchase and sale, but also production, inventories and logistics. The corresponding parts of the ERP system have to become autonomous at a limited extent and a data transfer has to be organized. The task of design or product development is not part of the everyday value-adding-chain, but still an original task of the entrepreneur.

The areas of Financial Accounting and Management Accounting as well as personnel administration, on the other hand, can be operated with the upload of self-recorded data or data exported from applications in the value-adding-chain. The use of information technology could use the service of a service provider. The preparation of investment and financing decisions as well as operational and strategic planning can be supported by a qualified consultant.

It is important that the information flow to the ERP is maintained even with a stronger division of labor with outside support.