In the context of accounting, computers are typically used to record, save and analyze data, explains Jeffrey Romano of Clever Accounting. The computing programs used for accounting range from general-purpose spreadsheet software to specialized applications.
Accountants use computers to save and analyze data and also to transmit it, notes Agnes Ann Pepe of CPA Practice Advisor. Computers make it easier for accountants to catch and correct errors, conduct statistical analyses, and generate reports. Accountants also use computers for inventory control, capturing data at point of sales terminals, recording purchases, and keeping track of business incomes and expenses.
Computers allow accountants to automate certain repetitive tasks. The combination of computers and the Internet has extended the reach of accountants, making possible cloud-based accounting services and software, notes CCH iFirm. Among other advantages, computers make accounting cost effective, scalable, fast and secure, explains Romano.
Before the advent of computers, accountants relied on paper-based journals to record information, explains Pepe. Computers started making inroads into the world of accounting in the 20th century. At that time, accountants primarily used spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel. Later, specialized accounting software was developed by a variety of companies. As of 2014, this software is available for a variety of nontraditional computing devices, such as tablets.