Computer Operations Vs. Programming in Accounting
急速PC28彩票Decades ago, accountants kept financial records manually, using paper and pencil to enter transactions. Accounting machines followed by increasingly complex technology served the needs of businesses until the computer provided the foundation for speed and accuracy. The development of accounting software and applications created the need for trained programmers and computer operators. While the roles can be one and the same, the complexity of accounting technology often requires different knowledge and skill sets. The size of a business and its accounting needs determines how the roles are fulfilled.
Computerized Accounting System
急速PC28彩票Computer programmers and operators are the creators and managers of computerized accounting systems. The systems make it easier for staff to perform tasks usually entrusted to accountants. Modules are designed to take the single entry of a worker and make adjustments to other parts of the accounting system. For instance, the usual double-entry accounting method requires only one entry in the ledger. The computer system makes the corresponding entry. Systems might include payroll, accounts receivable and payable, assets, cash flow and other processes to record and monitor financial activity within a business. Whether the system consists of one spreadsheet or multiple modules that intersect and form a complete financial statement, trained staff or contractors are needed to set up and maintain the systems.
Programmers write computer programs by converting the designs of systems analysts and software engineers into commands the computer can understand and follow. Programming languages are used to create codes from the instructions. Programmers also modify and repair software programs. Computer operators manage the operation of computer systems. Operators control computer mainframes or a computer network by managing access, setting controls and performing maintenance, such as monitoring, back-ups, security and overall functions. Operators also ensure that software and programming work as intended.
急速PC28彩票Programmers earn a certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree in programming. Programmers often complete additional education or training to focus programming in an area such as accounting or finance. Businesses that need programmers to develop accounting systems often prefer people with education or background in management information systems and business operations. A business might require a programmer to develop proprietary applications, customize purchased software or upgrade existing software with new information, such as changes in tax laws.
急速PC28彩票Employers often provide on the job training for computer operators. Many businesses require only a high school degree. An operator might be the employee who enters financial data into the accounting system or the person who manages the computer system and troubleshoots the software. A small business might prefer a computer operator who can use database and spreadsheet knowledge to create accounting applications. For instance, Dover Business College in New Jersey offers a course, Business Administration – Computerized Accounting, that covers accounting principles and concepts, mastering popular accounting software, database applications, spreadsheets and business administration issues.
Salary and Job Growth
Faster than average growth in employment opportunities is expected for computer programmers, especially those with bachelor’s degrees and higher, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. The handbook lists the 2010 median annual wage for computer programmers as $71,380. Increased automation of duties traditionally performed by computer operators creates a bleak outlook for employment opportunities. The U.S. Department of Labor notes that computer operators are becoming obsolete. Median annual wages in 2008 were $34,600.
2016 Salary Information for Computer Programmers
急速PC28彩票Computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $79,840 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, computer programmers earned a 25th percentile salary of $61,100, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $103,690, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 294,900 people were employed in the U.S. as computer programmers.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images