Inkwell is a Public limited company and was established in 2003, seven years ago by two of its three controlling shareholders, Paul Farnon and Victoria Dawson. Two years ago Anil Gupta bought into the company and joined the board as Finance Director. The company has its head office and warehouse on the industrial estate in Birmingham, where the management team and account department resides, including a large central warehouse. 4.2 The business was set up to offer a part exchange facility online accessible 24 hours a day or physically bring them into one of the 60 shops, and supplies a complete range of re-manufactured inkjet and toner cartridges through nationwide high street shops. Its main competitors are suppliers in the cartridge supplier sector in UK. Its main internal stakeholders are its
Board of Directors, being the investors and manager of the organization. Employees, they are the workers of the organization in various departments to run its operations in return for a salary. Its external stakeholders are its:
Supplier’s, these are the people that provide the supplies of re-manufactured inkjet and laser toner cartridge after it has been refilled. Customers that pay on cash, order online, or buy at one of the nationwide network of shops. These customers account for 80% of Inkwell Limited revenue. Government of UK, they are interested in the performance of the business in order to be able to collect the taxes on the profit levels. 4.4 The shareholders are still heavily involved in the day to day operations with Paul Fernon as Managing Director with 40% shares with the largest share, Victoria Dawson as Sales Director with 30% shares and Anil Gupta as Finance Director with 30% shares. A qualified Accountant Alex Fox has been employed as the first member of the accountant team that reports to Michael O’Payne but have direct access to the Finance Director as well. 4.5 Inkwell Limited is organized into departments and has an equivalent of 180 employees including the accounting department – see Appendix on page for a structured chart. Analysis and evaluating the system
Structure and Function
5.1 The Company Accountant is Michael O’Payne who’s responsible for the running of the accounting department. The first member of the accounts team is Alex Fox with other 5 full time staff. 5.2 The computerized system in the head office is an integrated system which is linked between the different accounting functions. While in other 60 shops they are on a stand-alone basis and data and information are stored separately. 5.3 The different section of the department, its staff and responsibilities: General Ledger and Inventory- Michelle Labelle account clerk. Responsible for entering relevant data into the general ledger, keep financial control over companies inventories. Purchase ledger- Liana Khan accounts clerk. Responsible for liaising with suppliers and other associated transactions. Sales ledger- Greg Morris accounts clerk. Responsible for dealing with customers and other associated transactions. Costing- Alan Cook costing technician. Responsible for dealing with input costs and other associated transactions. Payroll- Sharon Ward, BA (Hons) is a personnel database and wage clerk. Responsible for preparing monthly salaries and wages for all the employees and all associated transactions and second is to maintain the personnel database. 5.4 The accounting functions in details are:
Processing and recording of the financial transactions of the credit customers and credit suppliers of the different sections in the accounts department. Preparation of management information’s on credit sales, credit purchases, costing and payroll associated returns and documents. 5.5 Michelle Labelle in the general ledger and inventory function: Enters all data requiring input directly into company’s cash book and its petty cash imprest system and keep financial control over the company’s inventories. If inventories get above three days’ holding in any shop Michelle has to telephone and get justifications for the variance. 5.6 Liana Khan in the purchase ledger function:
Makes sure that all supplier’s invoices and credit notes are entered into the
Accounts Payable Ledger, and for Subsequently arranging the payments to suppliers.
5.7 Greg Morris in the sales ledger function
Uses a credit reference agency to ensure that potential new credit customers have no history of poor payments. Checks any new customer who applies is always given a line of credit after this trial period. 5.8 Alan Cook in the costing function:
Uses a target costing approach, working out what the cost of each component such as ink or plastic, and Supplies management with the monthly basis, and
Advises management of variances from target.
5.9 Sharon Ward in the payroll and personnel database function: Operates the company’s two payrolls prepares the pay slips from the rotas prepared by the managers for the staffs. The salaries staffs are paid monthly on the last working day of the month using the Bankers Automated Clearing System (BACS). 6 Review of the accounting system
6.1 Record Keeping System
A business needs an effective and manageable recordkeeping system. This is why in the business environment with regulated accounting structures, it is vital that organizations have the necessary records of evidence to support business operations. All transaction is electronically and manually processed to be made available. The necessity to provide access to recorded information is crucial. These are information’s relating to the different accounting function, such as; Purchase
Cash and Banking
Record keeping systems are used;
To better support the performance of the organization activities and enable better decision making all throughout the structure of the organization. To make sure that information is available for future or current processes, and helps also in the improving and upgrading of the manual or computerized processes. To address any future issues that may arise internally or externally, such as fraud, lawsuits and other an-ethical accusations. To support the employees in the different functions of the business to be more efficient, productive in the accuracy of delivering the work. Records which are processed and made available are then used to produce other financial reports. Michelle Labelle in the general ledger and inventory function record and process the different inventory, supplier’s data to make available information on: Suppliers
Re-order level and quantities
The data is used to know the overall cost of inventory, purchase and how much owed to better plan for future costs. Greg Morris in the sales ledger function processes the cash, cheques and other financial data to ensure that information is available on demand for: Customers
Amount customers owed
This information is used for different purposes such as; it is used by the debt collection agency for the collections of debt. The use of computerized recording system is more efficient than paper base. This is due to because the use of paper base recording system is more likely to produce errors then having a computerized format that data is just inputted in. Using a computerized system is less costly and time consuming. 6.2 Internal System of Control
For an organization to have efficient and effective operation of its activities, internal system of control procedures is used by the management in place to ensure that the organization achieve its goals. This is where policies and procedures come in place to establish an internal control system to maximize the detection of frauds and errors, and to minimize their occurrence also. Existing internal system of control in Inkwell limited are:
Supervision of the accounts office by a Company Accountant and Senior accounts member. A staff rota is prepared by the managers to ensure adequate staff coverage for all the opening hours of their shops. An information technology policy exists which sets out rules relevant to securing the computer systems. The computer system throughout the company is password protected. Company cheques are required for authorization by the three directors & company accountant and other financial documents for approval. Reconciliation of the purchased stock against recorded inventory level. Purchases duties are segregated to minimize the risk of fraud. A credit rating agency is used to ensure that potentially new credit customers have no history of poor payments. Policy for dealing with non-payment of debt exists, and its state out the actions and procedure. Cheques and cash from customers are kept in office safe until it is banked. Internal control that is missing or can improve is:
Company policies and procedures.
Disciplinary measure to breach of policy or miss conduct.
Segregation of duties
Staff Recruitment procedures
Staff training and Continual Professional Development.
Restriction on accessing of computer systems.
Enforcement on Computerize backup of financial documents.
Retention and disposal of records throughout the business.
Accounting standard and procedures.
Verification and checks of accounting data.
List of authorized access.
Checks relating to wages paid out
Credit control system.
Fraud is the use of deception with the intention of obtaining an advantage, avoiding an obligation or causing loss to someone else or to an organization; this is the general definition of fraud. It is an unfortunate fact of life and comes in many forms and is recognized as a criminal activity in many countries including UK. Possibility and opportunity of fraud within Inkwell limited is possible due to the internal control is not efficient, efficacious, being deficient and the opportunity of fraud is there for the taking. Fraud covers a wide range of area criminal activity. Common types of fraud are:
Theft – Dishonestly taking someone else’s property.
False accounting – Dishonestly destroying, defacing, concealing or falsifying an accounting record for personal gain or to cause loss to someone else. Bribery and corruption – taking or giving a bribe that might influence the actions of others. Deception – Obtaining property, money, services or evading liability by deception Methods that can be used to detect fraud
Fraud can be detected by the experience manager by simple observation and through experience and also through a robust internal control system. Some sigh can include: Employees acting suspiciously – looking shifty and hiding paperwork Employees with higher levels of spending than you would expect from their income Employees working long hours and taking less than the normal holiday entitlement. Employees who have a grudge against the organization.
Employees who are known to be short of money.
The usage of the internet to for online sale is also at risk of fraud, since customers give Debit and Credit Cards details to pay their debts. Card fraud transaction can be detected by using Business rules. Opportunity and Potential areas of risk of fraud taking place are: £3000 worth of a particular make of cartridge was unaccounted for during reconciliation of inventory with purchase order. Goods not appearing on the warehouse inventory record.
Cash and cheques are entered manually which can be easily be subject to false accounting Complaint’s on wages being underpaid
Only one staff operates and have access to payroll system
Lack of written instructions
Computer are not logged out and locked when not in use.
No system in place for warehouse or administrative employees to record and know the time they arrive and when they leave the office The usage of debit or credit card detail by customers over the internet to pay. 6.4 Working Methods and Practices
The working methods used in Inkwell Limited are:
Computers are attributed to each staff whether part-time or fulltime to work on. The computer systems are run on an integrated network, with all PCs linked to two printers in the department. Every shop has PCs and printers of its own.
Microsoft office excel spreadsheets is used in the accounting system for recording of the different data. All computers use Windows Vista operating system and loaded with Microsoft office 2007 consisting of 80-user operating license, and one new computer loaded with Sage Payroll software to unable payroll and personnel system to be run in-house. Internet access is available on every computer with Mozilla Firefox as web browser. Password is used on the computers.
Large trade customers are put on a cash-with-order basis for the first three months of business. A credit reference agency is used potentially new customers have no history of bad credit. All cash and cheques are removed from the till, leaving a float of £50 cash in each for the start of the next day. Staff salaries are paid monthly using the Bankers Automated Clearing System (BACS). Prepared by the wage clerk, signed by the Company Accountant and banked on 24th of each month. The methods and practices can be improved in the following:
All 60 computers at the shops operate on a stand-alone system. Excel Spreadsheet being used for recording accounting data.
Debt collection agency being used to collect bad debt is expensive. Password used for the computers.
The removal of all cash and cheques, from the individual tills are not practiced. Backing up of computerized data.
Training is essential for every personnel of an organization, as it improve the ability of the staff to perform its work and therefor reducing the amount of errors and hired part time staff used to perform tasks that can’t be done inside the organization. This is why every staff must get the opportunity to continue their professional development and be skilled to perform the task at hand. Inkwell Limited does not have the proper policy and systems in place to encourage employees to be enrolled in a part time or full time course, unless they take it on themselves to address the issue to the management. Benefits of training:
Staffs are updated to the accounting standard and regulations. They will be motivated to work and be more efficient due to possibility of a promotion or career opportunity being increased, therefor errors is reduced. Staff will be more skilled to meet the needs of the organization. Professionally regulated staff will be governed by a recognized code of ethics from a professional accountancy body. Will better know how to, manage the time to do the tasks, therefor becoming more flexible and productive. Development of an ethical approach to the work and to employers and clients, acquired by experience and training. WEAKNESSES IDENTIFIED
Record keeping system
No completion of trial balance, statutory accounts as planned. Window dressing of the accounts.
Transaction accounting are not done on a day to day basis
Accounting record data entry is not being viewed as apriority by Michael O’Payne and Anil Gupta. Having unusual entries found in the general ledger.
Errors may occur in inputting data into the computer.
Internal System of Control
No proper recruitment procedures in place to hire staff that has dismiss. The existing policies are not fully followed. This includes the Computers information technology policy, with no proper password, and logging off the computer after use. A lack of internal control for detection and fraud prevention Lack of segregation of duties.
No proper scheduling back up of all IT systems being followed.
No proper security for the shops.
No policy for Data protection.
No list of authorized personnel to access certain documents.
No follow up control in place to the internal controls being followed.
No supervision is done to monitor the signing in and signing out in the business.
For the 60 shops, computers run on a stand-alone system.
No safeguard for the proper security procedures in place/security issues relating to debit and credit cards details over the internet (Identity theft). Fraud
Possibility of fraud is high; this may be caused due to:
Nothing is done to ensure working practices undergoes a proper way. Inadequate guidance on how to detect and deal with fraud.
Low effectiveness of security systems especially the password which does not improved each time is changed and can be guessed easily. A lack of supervision, monitoring and checks of accounting activities and records kept. Debit and Credit cards usage over the internet for customers to pay their debt can be subject to identity theft. Noncompliance to internal control.
Unaccounted Cartridge’s worth £3500, with no record in inventory. Details of transactions being deleted in the database, relating to one-off significant payments. Working Methods and Practices
Breach of software and user license for software in use, can bring legal action against the company. No coverage or placement of professional personnel to carry out the work of absent staff. Lack of enforcement of legal requirement trough out the business and working practice is very low due to low standards Liquidity management is very poor.
Lack of motivational skills from the directors of the business. No adequate physical controls to ensure the security and safe keeping of the businesses assets so that they do not go missing or are stolen. Working conditions and schedule are not respected by the Directors, having problems prioritizing
work Lack of staffs, causing over working of staffs and no coverage or placement of professional personnel to carry out the work of absent staff. Therefor agencies are hired to do the work, which is costly. Job rotation is not practiced in the organization
A required computer program needs to be attributed to these functions: Invoicing which is carried out.
Data on Excel spreadsheet is manually input.
More training is needed for operating:
Payroll and personal system: Several teething problems experienced with the integrated payroll and personnel database. Need for education is needed for:
Professional approach to work.
Reliability in terms of competence.
How to properly handle a secure credit and debit card transaction. Recommendation
Recommendations are done following the various weaknesses identified and mentioned above. Record keeping system
The management must ensure that the planned working schedule is followed strictly. If problems meeting the targets occur, it should be communicated to the responsible supervisors so proper action can be taken. Working schedule should be adjusted in so that the review of the payments and all other relating transaction are done earlier so that they don’t have to window dress. Different task must be prioritized by the management, so that conflict does not occur, were task are neglected. Accounting record data entry must be prioritized by the two organization’s directors Michael O’Payne and Anil Gupta. The directors must review the benefits that will be gained. Unsure that the proper records relating to the daily business transaction are entered into the general ledger. Verify the data inputted in the computer to ensure that is correct. Internal System of Control
Standard policy and guidelines of hiring staffs should be introduced, pointing out the necessary detailed document that is needed making the process more transparent and reliable. Staffs should be sensitized of the policies in place and know the importance of respecting them. Setting up a fraud policy which sets out the way to detect and deal with fraud, throughout the different working procedure and practice. Duties should be segregated, by setting up a system, which when combined, could lead to fraud. The existing policy should be re-enforce, so that the record kept on the computers would be backed up on the server regularly to prevent loss of data instead of doing it once a day. Alarm systems should be installed for all the shops of the organization, to better protect the business assets from being stolen.
Proper policy and procedures should be introduced. The Data Protection Act should be communicated to all staffs, to better protect the company’s and the customer Data. A list of authorized personnel should be produced and communicated to the staffs. Staff personnel should be put in charge of verifying that all policies in place are being followed. A logging system should be set up to have a record of who comes in the office and at what time. Such system should be monitored to ensure all staff complies. An integrated network should be set up on a server to connect the computers together with proper licensed software. Safeguards should be implemented on the procedure for transaction involving debit and credit card details provided by the customers. A standard and effective Sage Accounting package should be bought to unable: A standard layout of the invoices issued to customers.
Enable data to be imported and exported from and to Excel spreadsheets. Enable better detection of errors in the different account ledgers. Fraud
To reduce the possibility of fraud and make the internal control system fraud resistant, the various techniques should use: Accounting activities should be supervised on a regular basis. The records and calculation of financial document should be sampled and checked regularly for errors. Make sure that the fraud policy which will be introduced set out the way to detect and deal with fraud, throughout the different working procedure and practice and to make any adjustment necessary. Managers of the various departments should be given areas of responsibilities and answerability to ensure that fraud is kept to a minimum. Value of a business rule management system (BRMS) approach to fraud detection can be implemented. Business rules can be used to validate various conditions for detecting anomalies that can indicate fraud.
Enables institutions to react quickly in their effort to keep pace with fraudsters. Disciplinary measures or penalties should be set up for breaking an internal control or if a staff is practicing fraudulent act. Physical security should be re-enforced, locking up valuable items away, such as cash and cheques. Set up a limit to which a financial transaction should be requiring authorization, by one or more authorized signature. This may range from petty cash or cheques over a certain amount. Doing a regular reconciliation of the accounts to the financial documents to make sure they balance and errors corrected. Management should carry out Risk Assessments as part of the of an effective internal control system. Working Methods and Practices
Make sure that all computers use license software in all the shops and departments, monitor that the license are not broken causing legal action to the organization. Adequate number of specialized staffs should be introduced for the coverage of staff that is absent. The business must comply with all relevant External regulations. Such as international accounting standards even government regulation from HMRC. This will aid in raising the standard of working practices. Better management of buying inventory from suppliers. Credit to customers should be reduced. The managers should undergo a management course, to learn how to better manage their business, motivate their employees through training, giving out bonuses, paying for overtime and other incentives. All assets should be recorded and proper management of the assets should be put in place, to know the life cycle. Directors should produce an effective working schedule, reducing the stress on employees. Adequate number of specialized staffs should be introduced for the coverage of staff that is absent. Produce an effective rota to unable the staff to rotate to different accounting functions in the organization. A standard and effective Sage Accounting package should be bought to unable: A standard layout of the invoices issued to customers.
Enable data to be imported and exported from and to Excel spreadsheets. Enable better detection of errors in the different account ledgers. Training
More training should be provided for:
Quick cost system
Payroll and personal system
To ensure that staff has the necessary skills and knowledge to be more effective and reliable in their work, in terms of competence: Staffs Training should be invested in by the management, to better handle the daily tasks. Including Debit & Credit cards transactions This should include internal or external training courses for using any newly introduced accounting package. Telephone support lines made available by the software provider. Workshops on the improvement of staffs’ communications skills. Cost benefit analysis
Improvement Recommended Cost of Time Benefits
Time spent by manager in Training
25 hours × 3 × £25 per hour
Time spent by 5 account staff
25 hours × 5 × £15 per hour
TOTAL TRAINING COST £
3750 The work output will be more accurate due to the raise of standard. The organization will appear more professional, more efficient, meanings fewer errors and problems. Cost of hiring new Accounting staffs £
The different responsibilities can be segregated and work will be done faster. Setting up of computers on a network
– Cost of hardware
– Installation cost
Access to data will be easier which will speed up the work and save time. New accounting Package
– Cost of the software
– Installation cost
– cost of training the staff 10000
Many routine operations will be speeded up, save time and reduces wages bill. 9.2 To carry out a Risk assessment the management will require 2 hours per month. This will discourage and reduce the risk of fraud in the accounting system by identifying the areas of the risk of fraud and then setting up a system in place to detect any possibility of fraud and then deal with it, making the system more reliable. Appendices
Record keeping system
Using an archiving computer package to store full accounting records. Easy access to past exact copy of company accounting transactions. Sage Payroll software was loaded in the accounts department to enable the new payroll and personnel system to be in house. Excel spreadsheets are used for maintaining the inventory information. Integrated General, Accounts payable and Accounts Receivable set of ledger principal financial accounting system. Internal system of control
An information technology policy exist which sets out rules relevant to securing the computer systems. The computer system throughout the company is password protected. A credit rating agency is used to ensure that potentially new credit customers have no history of poor payment. Value of a business rule management system (BRMS) approach to fraud detection benefits: The performance of the rules is high enough to provide real-time detection of anomalies based on several criteria, including multiple sources, transaction values, card-use frequency, merchant and location of the charges. If implemented new detection policies can be activated in hours, instead of months, helping to reduce lost revenue and increase customer satisfaction and provides safety in online transaction.