Chapter14 - Chapter Fourteen Business Process Management...

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269 Chapter Fourteen Business Process Management AIS in the Business World Employee Expense and Vendor Invoice Processing at America Online America Online (AOL) describes itself as “a leading global advertising-supported Web company, with the most comprehensive display advertising network in the U.S., a substantial worldwide audience, and a suite of popular Web brands and products. The company’s strategy focuses on increasing the scale and sophistication of its advertising platform and growing the size and engagement of its global online audience through leading products and programming” ( http://corp.aol.com/ about-aol/company-overview ). Given the size of its staff and operations, you can probably imagine the transaction volume AOL’s accounting information system handles on a daily basis. In 2004, AOL used the principles and processes of business process management to develop an electronic funds transfer system (EFTS) for processing employee expense reimbursements and vendor invoices. Prior to the EFTS, such requests were processed manually, consuming a lot of time and resources while offering very little flexibility for customers. AOL’s management used two pieces of software from Interfacing ( www.interfacing .com ) in its BPM project: Charter (an add-on for Visio) and Designer (process simulation software). As a result of the EFTS implementation, AOL experienced improvements in time, cost, customer satisfaction, and management control. Discussion Questions 1. What is business process management? 2. Does business process management always involve information technology? 3. Why should accounting students learn about business process management? Source: America Online, Inc. Financial Services white paper, http://interfacing.com/uploads/File/aol.pdf (September 9, 2008).
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270 Part Four Business Processes In prior chapters, we’ve looked at generic business processes: sales/collection, acquisition/ payment, and others. But organizations are dynamic; they must adapt to changes in their environment. So what happens when managers need to change business processes? Changes can be as simple as redesigning a form to make it more useful or as complex as introducing some new form of information technology to streamline a business process. Business process management (BPM) gives managers some guidelines to help them with that sometimes daunting task. As an accounting professional, you may be called upon to help organizations manage their business processes so that they can create value for their stakeholders more efficiently and effectively. Like so many things in AIS, business process management is at least as much “art” as “science.” This chapter will provide some basic principles and ideas about BPM that you’ll be able to apply in various organizational contexts. When you complete your study of this chapter, you should be able to: 1. Explain what business process management is and how it is related to your study of accounting information systems.
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