Accountants no doubt are the most qualified communicators in the business world. Accountants are trained to be communicators specializing in communicating financial information in a language that is understood by all and sundry. The information must meet the requirement of information for it to be termed so. Some of the features of anything that must be called information are:
Understandability: the information passed on to the end users must be communicated to them in the language and format that they understand. You cannot report to a non-technical manager in technical terms. Use manager’s everyday language.
Timeliness: Accounting information must be timely for it to be called information else, it becomes an ordinary data. Data is not in formation.
Cost effectiveness: the benefit that will be derived from the use of the accounting information must outweigh the cost of processing that information.
Relevant: the most detailed and well packaged information in the most understandable language will not worth anything if it is not relevant to the situation at hand.
Completeness: all material facts must be included in accounting information to make it meaningful. Accounting information that omits sales figure in the annual financial statements of a company will definitely be useless to the recipients.
Available: for accounting information to have byte, it must be available to the intended users.
All these characteristics of information some times conflict with each other. Care need to be taken to strike a balance in trying to achieve these features. Timeliness and complete are the features that conflicts most of the time. That is why estimates are often used in accounting.
For accounting to truly serve as an information tool, it must have systems in place to ensure that these features of information are all met. One way of ensuring this is for accountants to be equipped with the necessary skills to make this happen. Being conversant and abreast with technologies and their use is a must for accountants that truly want to be a communicator. Also, accountants need to appreciate that the rule of business has changed. Accountants need to understand that Accounting Information System has forever changed the role of accountants.
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