INTRODUCTIONBackground of the Study The place of accounting practice in the growth of electronic business (e-business) is exploring how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have forever changed many aspects of business and accounting practice and, as a result, offer new and exciting research opportunities to accounting professionals and academics. In today’s computerized, interconnected, global business environment, the accounting profession must deal with a host of a complex issues that never existed, in the past, for instance, how to capture and record new business transactions and events, develop value-added business and information processes, create new value chain and supply chain opportunities, disseminate useful knowledge to a wide array of information consumers, and provide assurance services across the entire spectrum of economic activities reflect some of the more compelling topics of interest. Accounting researchers can add value to the profession by investigating these issues, among others, and presenting scientific results in a clear and understandable fashion to practicing accountants (Hunton, 2002). An important perception of this study is that practitioners/researchers in Accounting Information Systems (AIS) and other areas of accounting, such as financial, auditing, tax, and managerial, should work together on projects, as each party can loan a great deal from the other. Synergistic relationships arising from such teamwork hold great potential to yield high-quality results that can have notable impact on the accounting profession in the growth or electronic business. Electronic Business, commonly referred to as “e-Business” or “e Business”, may be defined as the utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in support of all the activities of business (Okereke, 2009) commerce constitutes the exchange of product and services between business, groups and individuals and hence can be seen as one of the essential activities of any business. Hence, electronic commerce or ecommerce focuses on the use of ICT to enable the external activities and relationships of the business with individuals, groups and other businesses LOUTS Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM, in his book, who says Elephants can’t Dance attributes the terms in 1996. Electronic-business methods enable companies to link their internal and external data processing systems more efficiently and flexibly, to work more closely with suppliers and partners, and to better satisfy the needs and expectation of their customers (Okereke, 2009). In practice, e-business is more than just e-commerce. While e-business refers to more strategic focus with an emphasis on the functions that occur using electronic capabilities, e-commerce is a subset of an overall e-business strategy. E-commerce seeks to add revenue streams using the world wide web or the interest to build and enhance relationships with clients and partners and to improve efficiency using the empty vessel strategy. Often, e-commerce involves the application of knowledge management system. E-business involves business processes spanning the entire value chain: electronic purchasing and supply chain management, processing orders electronically, handling customer service, and cooperating with business partners. Special technical standards for e-business facilitate the exchange of data between companies. E-business software solutions allow the integration of intra and inter firm business processes (Okeke 2009). E-business can be conducted using the web, the internet, intranets, extranets, or some combination of these. Advances in information and communication technologies and the emergence of the internet have revolutionized accounting practices and business activities enabling new ways of conducting and keeping financial and business records referred to as electronic business (Agahaunor, 2006) citing (Zwass 2003; Turban, King, Lee, and Viehland, 2004). Electronic business (e-business) describes the process of buying, selling, transferring, or exchanging products, services, and/or information through computer networks, principally the internet (Turban et al, 2004) as cited by (Agahaunor, 2006). Electronic business can also be defined as “the sharing of business information, maintaining of business relationships, and conducting of business transactions by means of telecommunications networks” (Agahaunor, 2006) citing (Zwass, 2003). Electronic business activities, include the inter-organizational processes of market-based sell-buy relationships and collaboration (known as business –to-business) or B2B, commerce) and consumer-oriented activities (business-to-consumer, or C2C), as well as the intra-organizational processes that support them (Agahaunor, 2006) citing (Zwass, 2003). Electronic business as a way of doing business has significant advantages: organizations are embracing e-business as a means of expanding markets, keeping accurate financial records, improving customer service, reducing costs, and enhancing productivity (Wenniuger, 1999) as cited by (Agahaunor, 2006). Efficiencies are experienced in marketing and advertising; ebusiness makes disintermediation possible, eliminating the middleman (Agahaunor, 2006) citing (Turban et al, 2004). Other efficiencies include reduced inventory and round the dock access at no additional cost. E-business enables higher customization (Agahaunor 2006) citing (Choi & Whinston, 2000) allowing organizations to improve customer service. A vital benefit of ecommerce is access to global markets, which enables business to expand their reach. The internet allows for unconstrained awareness, visibility and opportunity for an organization to promote its products and services (Senn, 2000) as cited by (Agahaunor, 2006). Despite the global reach of e-business, not all countries have taken advantage of or benefited from e-business. There is a big gap in internet and e-business adoption between the developed and developing countries (Licker & Motts, 2000) as cited by (Agahaunor, 2006); thus creating a digital divide. Digital divide is defined as the “differential capabilities of entire social (or regional) group to access and utilize electronic form of knowledge” (Straus, 2003), segregating the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots’ in the information society. According to Agahaunor, (2006) citing Mbarika, Okoli, Byrd and Datta (2005) state that much of the discussion on digital divide has focused on that which occurs among different social groups; they note the existence of international clear when comparing sub-Saharan African with countries of the west like us or UK are area where international digital divide is evident is on electronic business, one only needs to examine the major e-business sites to detect the inequality. The main obstacles that prevent developing countries from leveraging the internet are lack of adequate communication infrastructure, technical know-how, and information processing about the economy and environment. The lack of adequate banking infrastructure is also considered as one of the problems faced by developing countries in building e-business solutions (Khalfan & Akbar, 2006) as cited by (Ajahunor, 2006).
Statement of the Problem Limited research on e-business in developing countries particularly Nigeria, with a population of 140 million is a potentially lucrative market for e-business services; the banking sector has been most successful with e-business in Nigeria. Much of the research on information and communication Technology (ICT) and particularly e-business has focused on developing countries. E-business in developing countries especially Nigeria has not been sufficiently researched. Considering the limited research in e-business activity in Nigeria, one might ask whether the results from research conducted in developed countries are applicable to developing ones. Is conducting a separate research on Nigeria necessary? Information systems implementation depends on specific social, cultural, economic, legal (privacy, contract, regulation laws and consumer protection issues) and political and accounting practice con which may differ significantly between countries. Thus, one can argue that findings from developed countries are not directly transferable to developing countries. Differences in country-contexts can lead to different ICT use and impact patterns. Non-transferability of findings from research in developed countries is not the only reason for the necessity of this study, but also because of limited understanding of what drives e-business adoption among business in developing countries like Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study The purpose of this research are stated thus: i. To know the impact of accounting practice in Nigeria to the development of e-business. ii. To ascertain the positive/advantages of e-business in the Nigeria banking industry, with focus on Zenith Bank Plc. iii. To ascertain the negative/Disadvantages of e-business in the Nigeria banking industry, with focus on Zenith Bank Plc.
Research Questions The following area the question of this research. i. What are the impacts of accounting practice in Nigeria to the development of e-business? ii. Are there positive/Advantages of e-business in the Nigerian industry, with focus on Zenith bank Plc? iii. Are there negative/disadvantages of e-business in the Nigerian banking industry, with focus on Zenith Bank Plc?
Significance of the Study Thus there is a need for more research to improve understanding of the drivers of e-business growth with regards to the accounting practice in Nigeria. The study will enable entrepreneurs, government, investors and managers in the various facets of business areas to appreciate the quantum-leap the adoption of electronic business can bring to their business activities if well planned and organized. Also, this study should encourage and steer the software developers in Nigeria to create machines and software that should be compactable to our Nigerian environment and enhance business growth especially in the banking sector. Banks can play a role in e-business two levels. First, they together with payment and communication systems form necessary infrastructure for e-commerce. Secondly banks can deliver services via e-business.
Scope of the Study The scope of this research is limited to the place of accounting practice in the growth of electronic business, with peculiar focus on Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc.
Limitations of the Study There has not been any serious and meaningful academic endeavour without some militating factors or constraints. To this extent, lack of financial resources, and time constraint as well as confidentiality of information by the organization under study constituted the most serious limitations of this work.
Definition of Terms i. E-business: This is the utilization of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in supports of all the activities of business. ii. Accounting Practice: Day to day implementation of the accounting policies of an organization, as distinct from accounting theory. iii. Accounting: The systematic recording, reporting, and analysis of financial transactions of a business. iv. Accountant: The person in charge of accounting is known as an accountant, and this individuals is typically required to following a set of rules and regulations, such as the General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) v. Digital Divide: It is the differential capabilities of entire social (or regional) groups to access and utilize electronic forms of knowledge”
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