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Introduction to Computers in Accounting

Computer System- Meaning, Elements and Components

Objectives

After going through this lesson, you shall be able to understand the following concepts.

• Meaning and Elements of Computer System

• Components of Computer

• Advantages of Computer System

• Limitations of Computer System


Introduction
In the modern days, computer has gained its own importance in every sphere. It has taken over all the markets, businesses and professions. It has become a major requirement for every business sector today. It is generally regarded as lifeline of modern business- like blood is required for efficient functioning of our body, in the same way computers are required for the smooth running of any type of business. In accounting context too, computers are used to process large amount of data to perform speedy calculations and to generate various accounting reports.  

Definition of Computers
International Standard Organisation has defined computers as follows:
"A computer is a data processor that can perform substantial computations, including numerous arithmetic and logic operations, without intervention of human operator during the run."

Meaning and Elements of Computer System
It is an electronic machine that is used to process raw data into meaningful information required by the users. It works on a set of instructions that are programmed into it in the form of software which helps them in processing the data and producing information as per the requirement. A computer system is mainly composed of six elements namely, hardware, software, people, procedures, data and connectivity. The detailed explanation of all these elements is given below.

1. Hardware- It includes all the physical components of a computer such as keyboard, mouse, monitor, processor, etc. These components can be touched and the user inputs commands using these components.

2. Software- A set of programs that enables a computer to perform its tasks or commands given by the user. There are following six types of software.

a. Operating System- It is an integrated set of specialised programs that are meant to manage and control the resources of a computer. They make the computer user–interactive, i.e. user-friendly. It means that operating system forms an interactive link between the user and the computer hardware. For example, Windows, Linux, etc.

b. Utility Programs- Utility Programs refer to a set of pre-written computer programs that are designed to perform certain supporting operations. Most of the utility software are highly specialised and are specially designed to perform a single task or a small range of tasks. For example, virus scanners, system profilers, etc.

c. Application Software- These are user-oriented programs that are designed and developed for performing certain specified tasks. For example, Microsoft Word, Flash Player, Skype, etc.

d. Language Processors- These are the software that interpret or translate program language into machine language. For example, COBOL Processor, Fortran Processor, etc.

e. System Software- These are the software that control the internal functions of the system such as reading data from the input devices.

f. Connectivity Software- These are the software that create and control the connection between a computer and a server with the purpose of sharing the data.

3. People- It constitutes the most important part of a computer system. It basically refers to the individuals or the users who interact with the computer through the use of hardware and software. The following are the people who are involved with a computer system.

a. System Analysts- They are the people who design the data processing system.

b. Operators- They are the people who write programs to implement the data processing system.

c. Programmers- They are the people who participate in operating the computers.

4. Procedures- A series of operations that are executed in a certain manner in order to achieve the desired set of results are known as 'Procedures'. There are mainly three types of procedures, which are as follows:

a. Hardware-oriented Procedures- Hardware Oriented Procedures provide details about various components of a computer and their uses.

b. Software-oriented Procedures- Software Oriented Procedures provide detailed set of instructions required for using the software of a computer system.

c. Internal Procedures- These procedures help in sequencing the operation or working of each sub-set of overall computer system.

5. Data- The facts that are gathered and entered into a computer system is known as 'Data'. It may comprise of numbers, text, graphics, etc.

6. Connectivity- This refers to the mann…

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