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How ERP Systems are Centralizing and Standardizing the Accounting Function in Public Organizations for Better and Worse

How ERP Systems are Centralizing and Standardizing the Accounting Function in Public Organizations for Better and Worse
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Author(s): Catherine Equey Balzli (University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland) and Emmanuel Fragnière (University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 18
Source title: Strategic Enterprise Resource Planning Models for E-Government: Applications and Methodologies
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Susheel Chhabra (Periyar Management and Computer College, India) and Muneesh Kumar (University of Delhi, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-863-7.ch004



We have conducted research in an attempt to understand why the accounting function of a Swiss public administration has significantly changed following the implementation of an ERP system. To study this social phenomenon, an ethnography research strategy was followed. This approach is well suited for situations facing deep structural changes such as the transformation of a profession. The sample consisted primarily of accountants, accounting managers, and related professions. We have structured the analysis around the 3 following axes: 1. organizational structure changes, 2. standardization and centralization processes, and 3. centralization’s effect on accounting tasks. Research findings and analyses indicate that the power of each public administration department under review is very strong to the point that it has negatively impacted the necessary standardization imposed by an ERP system implementation. So, the full potential of the ERP is not exploited at all. However, the financial statements can now comply with international standards such as International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). Consequently, our case study shows that an ERP implementation project cannot be managed in the same manner as those realized in the private sector.

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