Paper 2: Accounting Information Systems Investigation
- Familiarize the student real world application of accounting information systems
- Allow student to interact with business professionals (experiential learning)
- Document accounting information systems
Accounting Information Systems Investigation Assignment
Identify a service, manufacturing or retail company that interests you or where you have a connection. The size of the company or if it is private or publically traded. Contact a person in the leadership (CEO, president, partner, general manager, controller, etc.) of the company (does not have to be an accountant) and request a meeting to discuss the company’s accounting information system. Your objective similar to an auditor’s objective is to learn about the company’s accounting information system. Assure the company leader that you do not want them to share any confidential information about the company by completing the non-disclosure agreement available in D2L.
For example: the store manager at your local Lowes Home Improvement Center or the partner of a local CPA firm.
Please read the paper guidelines document in D2L for additional details.
The following subheadings are required in your five page paper:
Leadership- Name, titles and contact information (e-mail & phone number of the individual(s) you met with and a picture as appendix to your paper with the individual(s) person you met in front of a company logo (if possible).
Company Overview*- A brief description of the company as well as the location details as follows:
- Provide a brief overview of the company and their primary business- (e.g. Lowes is in the home improvement business, operates in XX states and XX countries worldwide and is headquartered in YY city established in 19XX.)
- Discuss the overall company size (sales & employees), location (sales & employees), operating structure (decentralized or centralized) (e.g. Lowes has centralized administration and decentralized management control. The company is structured in 4 regions West, East, Midwest and Southwest with Vice Presidents of store management over each region).
*Depending on the company/firm, a tour prior to your discussion may be helpful.
Accounting Information Systems
The focus of this section is the technical part of the company’s accounting information system.
- What software does the company employ?
- When was it installed (if known)?
- What accounting system is the company using?
- This could be an enterprise resource planning system (e.g. SAP, Oracle), quickbooks, peachtree, green ledger paper, a spiral notebook or any other system that the company uses to maintain their accounting records
- Challenges with current system
- What the controls for adding employees, items, general ledger accounts?
- Where is their system maintained?
- What are the threats to their system?
General Ledger Structure
Discuss how the AIS systems categorizes sales (revenue) and expenses. In this section you should discuss the following:
- the fiscal year of the company when and why does it end- is there logic for when the company has a yearend
- structure of the general ledger accounts
- is the location a profit center or cost center (e.g. For Lowes each store would be considered a profit center because they generate revenues & expenses and have a store P&L/income statement).
- how does the company segment sales and expenses- in other words what departments do they use (e.g. Lowes uses millwork, garden center, lumber , plumbing, electrical, flooring etc.; a public accounting firm might use consulting, bookkeeping, audit & tax).
Key Performance Indicators
A discussion of the key performance indicators (KPI’s) the company uses to manage their business. This section should include the following:
- KPI’s used at the location level and the frequency
- Revenues (internet vs. in-store), expenses, budget, comparisons (region/nation)
- Industry specific KPI’s (e.g. Lowes sales by department or inventory shrink, public accounting billable hours or new clients)
Insight- Please write one paragraph about your insight into how this experience enhanced your learning and understanding of accounting information systems.
- In a separate JPEG file, please provide a picture with you and the company individuals you interviewed. If possible, take the picture in front of some signage from the company (e.g. Lowes in front of the store or public accounting in front of the firm’s front desk or sign outside).
- A scanned signed PDF copy of the non-disclosure agreement with your name and the company name filled out correctly. If you cannot scan to PDF, a word document with the appropriate changes will be sufficient.
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