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Accounting computerization refers to the application of modern electronic tools and computer-based information technology to the accounting practice.  Since early 1980s when concept of accounting computerization was put forward for the first time in China, accounting computerization has experienced three development stages. Initially, it developed very slowly due to the restriction of shortage of hardware, such as computers. At the second stage, with rapid popularization of computers, accounting computerization transitioned into a stage of spontaneous development. In early 1990s, accounting computerization entered a stage of steady development with continuous improvement of relevant laws, regulations and administrative rules.  

 

With the development of accounting computerization, China is attaching increasing importance to its enterprise accounting management information system, which is mainly in four aspects: requirements on qualifications of accounting personnel and on responsibilities of administrative personnel; supervision on enterprise accounting process and policies; regulation and review of accounting information software adopted by enterprises; and management and guidance over accounting records. It can be seen in the continually updating documents that these policies are being implemented in the practice, in which registration of accounting computerization is also playing increasingly important roles.  

 

Registration of accounting computerization (hereinafter referred to as "AC registration") is an important review step deriving from requirements on accounting computerization. To make it simple, registration of accounting computerization is the process in which enterprises and administrative organizations have their accounting data in electronic form and visible accounting documents inspected and registered by relevant financial administration departments, before they use computers in place of manual accounting practice.  

 

The registration of accounting computerization is firstly proposed in the official document numbered HCK No. 41 in 2002. This official document requires that all organizations must implement accounting computerization in line with requirements in relevant regulations formulated by the Ministry of Finance. After computer based tools are used to substitute manual accounting practice, these organizations shall complete the Registration Form for Substitution of Manual Accounting Practice by Computers in Organizations in Shanghai, which shall be submitted, together with Table of Accounting Codes, Administrative Policies on Accounting Computerization, samples of visible accounting documents printed and exported during the period of parallel operation of manual accounting and computerized accounting (including a large range of computer-generated accounting certificates, cash and bank account journal, detailed accounts under certain items, general ledger) as well as main electronic statements to the financial departments at the same level for registration, in which the Registration Form for Substitution of Manual Accounting Practice by Computers in Organizations in Shanghai shall also be copied to taxation departments at the same level. If any organization is found to substitute its manual accounting practice by computerized mechanism without registration with financial departments at its level in accordance with relevant requirements, the financial department shall have the power to demand such organization to go through the registration procedures within a time limit. In addition, DB31/T270—2002 Specification for Standard Data is also published.  In 2005, this interface standard was upgraded from a location standard to a national standard, namely the Data Interface for Information Technology Accounting Software (GB/T19581-2004).  

 

In 2004, General Office of the State Council requires in Notice on Issues with Respect to Application of Computer Information System in Auditing Practice (GFB [2001] No. 88) that "the computer information system of audited organization shall provide data interfaces that meet relevant national standards or industrial standards" and that "in case that the auditing authority finds that the computer information system of any audited organization cannot meet the requirements of relevant laws, regulations, regulations of relevant supervising authorities and standards, the auditing authority may order such organization to take corrective measures or replace the computer information system. In case of failure to take corrective measures or replacement within the required time period, the auditing authority shall circulate a notice of criticism and advise relevant supervising authority to take countermeasures." In 2009, in order to further regulate the accounting systems, it is pointed out in the official document numbered HCK (2009) No. 22 that if an organization fails to implement accounting computerization in accordance with relevant regulation, its accounting credit shall not be rated as Class A. This regulation provided a mandatory requirement that all enterprises with accounting computerization must go through the AC registration.  

 

It may not be very difficult to go through the AC registration, but neither is it very easy. Firstly, the enterprise must have full knowledge and understanding of the policies, such as whether changes have been made to the materials to be prepared and whether the standard data interface has been updated. Secondly, enterprises are also confronted with barriers in preparation of relevant materials, for instance, the ERP system adopted by such enterprise may not be able to directly generate data that can meet requirements of the interface. Thirdly, some outstanding enterprises in the industry, such as Hitpoint, have developed full knowledge about the registration of accounting computerization and dynamic changes of the policies and the consultation service from Hitpoint can effectively help enterprises to increase the probability of passing such registration. We believe that in the future, the accounting computerization system in China will get improved in many aspects including personnel, materials and data.