Factors influencing the alignment of accounting information systems in small and medium sized Malaysian manufacturing firms

Noor Azizi Ismail, Malcolm King


The concept of alignment or fit between information technology (IT) and business strategy has been discussed for many years, and strategic alignment is deemed crucial in increasing firm performance. Yet few attempts have been made to investigate the factors that influence alignment, especially in the context of small and medium sized firms (SMEs). This issue is important because results from previous studies suggest that many firms struggle to achieve alignment. Therefore, this study sought to identify different levels of alignment and then investigated the factors that influence alignment. In particular, it focused on the alignment between the requirements for accounting information (AIS requirements) and the capacity of accounting systems (AIS capacity) to generate the information, in the specific context of manufacturing SMEs in Malaysia. Using a mail questionnaire, data from 214 firms was collected on nineteen accounting information characteristics for both requirements and capacity. The fit between these two sets was explored using the moderation approach and evidence was gained that AIS alignment in some firms was high. Cluster analysis was used to find two sets of groups which could be considered more aligned and less aligned. The study then investigated some factors that might be associated with a small firm’s level of AIS alignment. Findings from the study suggest that AIS alignment was related to the firm’s: level of IT maturity; level of owner/manager’s accounting and IT knowledge; use of expertise from government agencies and accounting firms; and existence of internal IT staff.


Accounting information system; management accounting system; alignment; fit; organisational information processing theory

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