Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Supplement, 117-120
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.37B031
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Construction of Accounting Comprehensive Experimental
Platform Based on SaaS Mode
Ying Yang, Tao Jin, Yun Zhao
School of Accounting, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou 310 018, China
Received 2012
The limitation of accounting experimental teaching software leads to the level of teaching falling behind
that of practical applications. In order to solve this problem, it is necessary to construct an accounting
comprehensive experimental platform. It is highly feasible to establish such a platform based on SaaS
mode. Furthermore, when developing this platform, some new requirements are proposed to the function-
al design of the platform.
Keywords: SaaS; Accounting Experiment; Comprehensive Platform Construction
Accounting is a highly practical major. Therefore, in the
process of training accounting professionals, it requires the
students to possess not only a wealth of theoretical knowledge,
but also solid and skillful accounting practice skills. Account-
ing experimental teaching combines accounting theory and
practice, which is an important part of cultivating students’
professional practice skills. Since accounting experimental
teaching software can stimulate business accounting process
intuitively, it is popular among university teachers and students,
and has been an essential basic tool of accounting experimental
teaching. However, along with the development of information
technology, especially network application technology, ac-
counting, experimental teaching software can not keep up with
the development of information technology, which causes that
the experimental teaching level significantly fall behind that of
practical application.
Existing Problems of Accounting
Experimental Teaching Software
Experimental Contents
Experimental contents mainly focus on accounting, which
results in the lack of accounting analysis, forecasting and deci-
sion. It is universal that we only pay attention to financial ac-
counting experiment teaching. The normal e xperiment teaching
begins with the writing of accounting numbers, and it is a cycle
process with drawing up and checking the original documents,
filling the proof of registration, registration books and prepar-
ing financial statements. It lacks of simulations of professional
courses, such as management accounting, financial manage-
ment, auditing and assurance and taxation law. Hence, students
can not simulate the actual enterprise accounting work com-
prehensively, systematically and completely. Consequently,
they are unable to master the ability to carry on the reports of
the merger, financial statement analysis, cost forecasting, deci-
sion making, internal control, assessment, and so on. The
above-mentioned phenomena reveal the shortage or insuffi-
ciency of abilities as to analysis, judgment and decision making
for the accounting professionals. It is obviously inconsistent
with the requirements to the accounting professionals of infor-
mation s ociety.
Experimental Form
At present, the accounting experiments are primarily about
fractional experiments rather than comprehensive ones. Gener-
ally speaking, the accounting simulation experiments are per-
formed according to the knowledge of accounting business. The
objective of experiments is to provide the relevant fundamental
materials of accounting so that the students are capable to com-
plete the corresponding accounting business operations. It is
known that fractional experiments, for example, accounting
entries, books and statements, have their standard references.
For students’ performance evaluation, it mainly considers sim-
ple assessment of the attendance and experimental results,
which easily yields copying and plagiarism. Thus, it is difficult
to improve the practical effectiveness of teaching and experi-
ments, because fractional experiments cannot effectively simu-
late the real enterprise business environment.
Experimental Softwa re
The software for accounting experiments cannot be shared
and updated in time. The software is principally stand-alone
and LAN versions, and usually software providers limit the
number of users and the range of use through hardware encryp-
tion. With the limitation of the software architecture, experi-
ments can only run in a limited cyberspace, so that the students
cannot exchange and share data during experiments. Recently,
the amendments to the accounting policies and regulations have
changed frequently, which leads to the corresponding adjust-
ments of processing methods of accounting transactions. These
changes, however, cannot be timely reflected in the experimen-
tal projects, and can only wait for the software provider patch to
correct. More seriously, some accounting experimental teaching
softwares are not updated timely, therefore, the software system
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
exists a large number of obsolete and error experimental
projects, which would results in the failure of carrying out ex-
periments and improper experimental operations for students.
Accounting Informatization Experiments Cab not
Totally Replace Manual Experiments
In the traditional manual accounting era, limited to the class
hours and textbook contents, there exist a huge contradiction
between the limited nature of the experimental teaching re-
sources and numerous accounting practices, and such contra-
diction could be resolved effectively by the accounting manual
simulation software. With the popularity of accounting infor-
mation, manual accounting simulation software will fall into
disuse eventually. However, besides the courses of accounting
information system, many other related experimental courses,
such as cost accounting, financial management, auditing still
mainly depend on manual experiments presently. Because of
the deficiency in hardware and software investments, account-
ing computerization experiments in universities are still in the
period of stand-alone operation experiments, while few univer-
sities have sound system of accounting experimental teaching
under network.
The above-mentioned problems seriously affect the quality
of teaching in accounting experiments, which partially result
from the lack of openness in the accounting experimental
teaching software architecture. Teachers and students in uni-
versities can only passively adapt to the software system, but
they cannot effectively play a leading role during performing
accounting experiments. As a consequence, the new demands
and methods of the experimental teaching can not be timely
reflected in the experimental teaching software. Therefore, it is
necessary to build a comprehensive accounting experimental
platform, whose content can be updated timely according to the
development of its applications, strengthen the comprehensive-
ness of the accounting experiments. The new platform can
surmount the restraints of sharing of time and network space,
which gives rise to the enhancement of the experimental flex-
ibility. Moreover, the simulation of the experiments can also be
strengthened by fusion of the manual simulation and informa-
tion technology in experimental modes.
SaaS Modes Advantages in Construction of
Accounting Comprehensive Experimental
SaaS Mode
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a new software application
mode based on the Internet. In SaaS mode, software service
providers deploy software system on the server so that the users
can get the services by the Internet according to their own ac-
tual demands. Users are not obliged to buy and maintain the
software, since the providers will supply entire management
and maintenance of the software system. Including Internet
applications, the providers also offer offline operation and local
data storage of the software, thus the users can employ the
software and services whenever and wherever.
Presently, SaaS-based application mode becomes more and
more maturely, and it has been applied in enterprise manage-
ment. Applying the SaaS-based application mode in the con-
struction of accounting comprehensive experimental platform is
highly feasible, and it is an important development direction of
accounting experimental teaching system in the future.
Advantages of SaaS Mode
Applying SaaS-based mode in the accounting experimental
teaching is the best way to adopt advanced techniques to con-
struct accounting comprehensive experimental platform. Not
only it can cover the shortage of experimental facilities, but
also it shows the advantages over the traditional accounting
experimental teaching software as follows:
Lower cost of purchasing the experiment software. The
traditional accounting experimental teaching software
uses charge mode authorized by providers. Apart from
the charge of the software itself, one need to pay the
subsequent practice and service charges, so the cost is
relatively high. SaaS-based charge according to the ac-
tual need is more flexible and more economical. Some
software system providers also offer users experience
free of charge, making it easier for users’ tryout and
Update the software automatically. In SaaS service
mode, software service providers take charge of the in-
stallation and maintenance of the server and users.
The user can apply the latest edition of software all the
time without caring about the updating, which effi-
ciently guarantees the experiment contents can keep
pace with the practical applications.
The enlarged time and space of experiments. Students
can easily conduct accounting comprehensive experi-
ments by internet browser at any time and any place.
This method increases the opportunities for students to
operate themselves. It also resolves the problem that the
traditional experiment teaching could not benefit many
other students not majoring in accounting.
The strengthened experimental simulation. Through on-
line experiments, students can experience the distinc-
tions and responsibilities of different roles (accounting
positions). And their cooperation abilities to work to-
gether cooperatively could be cultivated through the
way that many students accomplish enterprises ac-
counting events online at the same time from many po-
Design of Accounting Comprehensi ve
Experimental Platform Based on SaaS
Based on SaaS mode, accounting experimental system, as a
service on the Internet, will exceed laboratories, schools and
even regional restrictions, and it will provide online experi-
ments for tens and a hundred of times number of the student
users compared with the original mode. The number of data
access is huge. Therefore, powerful “single instance multiple
applications” is needed. This demands higher requirements on
the functional design, including the appearance of the program,
work process and business rules, data model, and the function
authorities of the end-users.
Appearance of the program
The appearance of the program includes two aspects. The
first is a friendly user-interface. Nowadays, there are many
mature user-interface technologies in the internet application
technology, for instance, Microsoft. Net platform including
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
theme, skin, masterpage, which are used to beautify the user-
interface. The second is the localized experience. For SaaS
mode, the users’ experiences are fundamental to software sys-
tem. Therefore, the basic characteristics of the accounting ex-
perimental platform based on SaaS mode is RIA (Rich Internet
Application), under which users can obtain the convenient ex-
perience by Internet platform, equivalently to the desktop ap-
plications, namely the localized experience. Currently, the
available technologies include silverlight, ajax, and so on. By
the application of these new technologies, students on the In-
ternet platform will have the same operation experience as us-
ing word, excel in their daily work. This will effectively im-
prove the operability of the accounting experimental teaching to
enhance students’ interests in carrying out experiments auto-
Work Process and Business Rules
Work process and business rules in the accounting experi-
mental teaching platform should fully show the process of col-
lection, processing, storage and output based on the rules of
accounting treatment. While at the same time, it should also
reflect that the electronic data is processed automatically. This
requires the combination of the manual simulation process and
the accounting information processes, removing some redun-
dant manual operations, and opening some autonomous “black
boxes”. For example, the essence of parallel registration in
manual accounting treatment is to copy, classify, summarize the
accounts coding of accounting data, but this process no longer
exists in the commercial accounting software. As an experi-
mental project, it has little value and should be obsolete. The
function of preparation of statement in the commercial ac-
counting software process is extracted and dynamically gener-
ated from the data of accounts summary table, according to the
accounting c oding in computers. This process as a “black box”
must be opened and we should design manual experimental
projects which allow students to complete the data extraction
and preparation of statement.
Data model
In SaaS mode, accounting comprehensive experimental plat-
form should contain a large experimental database on the server
side. This experimental database is not a simple exercise library
or case ba se. Fi rst, the experiment al da ta bas e should contain the
simulation. Processing of the accounting business originates
from operating activities, so the basic experimental project of
accounting is an accounting process corresponding to every
business activities. The basic experimental project items com-
prise of a complete accounting business cycle, being able to
reflect the true and complete enterprise business processes.
Second, the experimental database should be comprehensive. It
should include financial accounting, financial management,
internal control, tax accounting and the other accounting pro-
fessional experimental teaching contents. There are large num-
bers of experiments designed in terms of basic accounting
knowledge. With the completion of accounting basic account-
ing business experiments, there will bring a lot of accounting
information, which can be further processed, handled and out-
putted. During this process of “deep processing”, the know-
ledge of financial management, internal control, tax accounting
mastery can be digested, reflecting the synthesis of accounting
experiments. Moreover, the experimental database produces
experimental projects based on basic business activity of the
specific accounting period, these individual experimental
projects can update timely. With the rapid development of ac-
counting modes, accounting methods and new business, the
original accounting data should be appropriately adjusted to
ensure the consistency of the experimental contents and actual
accounting business. With the enrichment and updating of the
experimental data, the platform can be flexibly adaptive to the
change of accounting methods.
Functional Autho ri ty of the E nd-Users
Similar to general accounting experimental teaching software,
the users of accounting experimental teaching platform consist
of students, teachers, system administrators, and so on. How-
ever, in SaaS mode, the functional authority of the above three
categories of users has changed to a certain extent.
In SaaS mode, students are the subjects of experiments.
They proceed to experiments, studying and communi-
cating in a shared platform. It breaks through the limits
of both time and space, and has greater autonomy and
flexibility. Moreover, a large quantity of experimental
data can be accumulated through experiments, such as
accounting statements of different business circums-
tances, financial analysis reports, audit reports, etc.
These experimental data are helpful to carry out more
advanced accounting experiments and further to en-
hance the initiative of the students during accounting
In SaaS mode, teachers are still the guiders of experi-
mental teaching as well as the designers of the experi-
ments, who provide various and configurable experi-
mental tasks for students. For instance, when doing
pointe d special expe rime nts, teach ers can guide students
to distinguish the accounting practice characteristics of
different types of enterprises so as to realize configura-
bility of experimental teaching contents by extracting
some experimental projects from experimental database
and integrating them into industrial enterprises, com-
mercial enterprises, foreign trade enterprises and other
business scenarios.
In the traditional accounting experimental teaching sys-
tem, the institution’s laboratory staffs are essential to
the system maintenance. While in SaaS mode, the soft-
ware providers are in charge of the system maintenance
and unified management of the platform. As the system
administrators, higher requirements are put forward for
the ability of the managers.
To sum up, there exist essential differences between SaaS-
mode-based accounting comprehensive experimental platform
and the traditional computerized accounting. With the recon-
struction of the basic frame of software system, the contents
and models of experimental teaching will c ha nge r emarkably. It
is of great significance to study how to fully use the latest in-
formation technologies and software application mode, to
reform accounting experimental teaching and to deeply exca-
vate the potentials of accounting experimental platform based
on SaaS mode.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
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