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HI5019 Strategic Information Systems for Business and Enterprise Assignment - Case Study - Bell Studio, Holmes Institute, Australia

Students are required to:

  • Describe the various transaction cycles, financial reporting, management reporting systems and e-commerce.
  • Understand the risks inherent in computer-based systems/ERP, including e-commerce, the role of ethics and the various internal control processes that need to be in place.
  • Appreciate the opportunities for computer fraud and the security measures in electronic commerce that need to be taken to overcome this.

Task - Prepare a report to Chief Operating Officer to evaluate the processes, risks and internal controls for its expenditure cycle. In your report, you need to include the following items:

1. Data flow diagram of purchases and cash disbursements systems

2. Data flow diagram of payroll system

3. System flowchart of purchases system

4. System flowchart of cash disbursements system

5. System flowchart of payroll system

6. Description of internal control weakness in each system and risks associated with the identified weakness

Answer - Case Study: Bell Studio

Executive Summary

There are three essential systems that have been discussed throughout the project and it has been constituted that the report has been made for the CEO, by a business analyst. The primary intention of the report is to ensure that proper internal weaknesses of the internal control has been identified among the departments that are functioning well and good under the Bell Studios. The three operation systems that have been considered are purchase system, cash disbursement system and the payroll system. These systems have been evaluated with varied range of data flow diagrams with varied range of details. Those diagrams have been further analysed for the identification of weaknesses that existed in each of the system, along with the risks that are associated with it. Along with that a brief conclusion has been constructed as well.

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1. Introduction

To understand and increase the operational efficiency of the overall business it is essential to understand the prominence of internal control system. The internal control system is entitled to identify different types of risks. As per the highlights provided in the brief, Bell Studios is an art supplying business based in Adelaide. The business manages to get substantial amount of inventory supplies from countries such as Australia and many other Asian countries such as China, Japan, and others. The company is well known to have an account system that is centralised that connects with the different branches of data in a centralised network. The report would focus on the risks associated with the deficiencies identified in the internal control system. It is to identify how the well advocated adequacies of Bell Studios work in a sufficient manner.

2. Data Flow Diagram of Purchases and Cash Disbursements Systems

2.1 Flow Diagram of Purchase System

Management Reporting Systems.png

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2.2 Flow Diagram of Cash Disbursements Systems

Management Reporting Systems1.png

3. Data Flow Diagram of Payroll System

Management Reporting Systems2.png

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4. System flowchart of purchases system

Management Reporting Systems3.png

5. System flowchart of cash disbursements system

Management Reporting Systems4.png

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6. System flowchart of payroll system

Management Reporting Systems5.png

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7. Description of internal control weakness in each system and risks associated with the identified weakness

Weaknesses witnessed in the purchase system

The weaknesses that have been identified while conducting subsequent amount of research on the purchase system, will be discussed in this section. One of the prominent weakness that has been identified is the fact that the purchase orders are being sent manually. This has been considered as one of the biggest weaknesses due to the fact that orders are supposed to be sent through the mail system. It eventually implies that the business has to procure a high end service time to ensure that the service order has reached on time, instead of the instant delivery that is being ensured by the electronic mail system (Monczka et al., 2015). Here, the middle vendor takes subsequent amount of time to finish their jobs.

As mentioned in the case study it has also been identified there is no availability of inventory ledger that is centralised and this eventually has the contribution in reducing the efficiency of the existing inventory system that is available in each branch. Due to the value of art facing a certain rate of degradation in the market some of the branches have more chances of facing inventory challenges like it being getting obsolete or less in value. Thus, it makes mandatory consideration businesses who are in desperate need of art related supplies, they must be in check of their inventory management. This has the possibility to enhance the efficiency of inventory management and make sure that the procurement time required will be less under this method instead of the time required at the initial traditional one. This eventually has the tendency to reduce significant amount of risk as well and increase the epitome of efficiency it can provide.

The third weakness that was being identified is that delivery receipts are not being kept with the department whose main concern is to take care of the deliveries, so most of the time there is no vital proof that they are the ones who are required to dispatch some items to the designated warehouse (Choi et al., 2016). At the same time, the receiving department also does not have any sense of responsibility or accountability towards these issues or for the actions they are responsible, eventually increasing the level of inefficiency in the organisation.

The fourth weakness is the most bothering one of all as it involved the manual reporting and documentation of the invoice, the purchase order and the delivery receipt. This has eventually given birth to more errors even in some of the minor details. The final results are that there is inaccurate reconciliation and the final reviewing almost becomes useless since the task has already been conducted.

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The fifth weakness identified is the fact that there is less consideration for digital verification before updating data in the system. It is mandatory to have a proper digital verification system for ensuring that the business can be considered more reliable and trust worthy.

The sixth weakness was mainly associated with the idea of creating unnecessary hard copies of the digital documentation such as the order copies. These order copies have all of the viable details of the records that are essential for the entire business system. This eventually enhances the possibility of data redundancy in the entire purchase system. At the same time, it is also being assured that a particular ideology of having less faith in the digital system is being restored from the side of the employees. These can eventually be considered as the weaknesses of the purchase system

Risks Associated with the Weaknesses of the Purchase System

For the first weakness that has been identified the key risk involved is that the weakness would eventually result in substantial amount of high procurement time and would ensure that the manual consideration has been taken into choice. There would be a risk of misplacement of the purchase order in the mail system and the suppliers might not also have the availability of the supplier copy which would be essential for receiving the product (Mian and Santos, 2018). The key risk here would be eventually being that of disruption in certain key activities, eventually leading to the idea of operational risks.

The second weakness that was being considered the idea of not having any kind of centralised inventory system. Thus, it eventually leads to the idea that there is no availability of effective communication between the different branches that exists in the business (Torabi et al., 2015). This has eventually increased the rate of operational costs and have reduced the amount of profit that used to be gained by the people earlier. The capability of the resources is also degrading at a much dramatic rate. Thus, the key risks that are associated comprises of profit risks, inventory risks and the risks of liquidation.

The third risk is associated with the lack of responsibility and the sense of accountability in the receiving department. There is barely any documentation available that can be properly used. There are various ranges of risks that might occur and it has been assured that they would eventually continue to occur at a most sophisticated level. There are no proper proof of order copies or viable track records of all the activities that are being conducted on a regular basis. Most of the time even the invoices go missing and the inventory management department keeps on playing the ideal blame game to suit their interests and to save themselves (Chen et al., 2015). The key activity that keeps on occurring is the inventory misplacement and eventually the business fails to understand the key person who needs to be held responsible for all of the messy situation that is being identified for the business activities. The key risk that has been identified here is mainly the consideration of the accountability risk.

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The fourth risk consists of the idea that is associated with the manual reconciliation of proper documents that are being found under the purchase system. This has eventually increased the possibility of errors and mistakes that could eventually lead to fraud in the business situations. Thus, the key risk that has been identified here is possible errors and even higher chances of fraud occurrences.

The fifth risk is related is associated with the less trust worthy range towards using digital verification system. The information that is being updated in the system in a regular manner needs to be verified properly and it ensures that the digital data or the information system has been formed in the most appropriate way possible. Thus, the key risk that is related with this stratum involves that of weakness of the system inefficiency risk (Pickering and Byrnes, 2016).

The final and the sixth is related to the ability to create unnecessary hard copies which would eventually will not be required for remembering certain aspects of the business. This is increasing the stationary costs of the Bell Studio and their management is also creating issues for many. The studios are thus facing with lowest efficiency in their business activities and even more data redundancy in their entire system. Thus, the key risk that is associated here is the operational risk.

Description of the weaknesses in the cash disbursement system

The key weakness that was being identified in the cash disbursement system is the fact that there is a higher chances of battling through a legal dispute especially with the suppliers mainly because there might be occurrence of situations such as cheque misplacement in the process of mailing it to the suppliers. This would enhance the chances of legal liabilities, which would eventually have a much bigger impact on the supply chain management of the organisation (Elsukova, 2015). Thus, the organisation has to take measures to properly deal with the legal risk of the business.

Risk associated with the weaknesses that have been identified

The weakness that has been identified here is the possibility that there might be a legal dispute between the company and the suppliers, with the fact that the misplacement of various valid documents might keep on occurring. The increase in the stratum of legal liabilities falls under the organisation's legal risk which would be considered a bit difficult to control and stratify.

Weakness in the Payroll System

There are mainly two weaknesses that have been identified with the payroll system. The first weakness is the manual recording of the employees work hours and that too in the time card. This eventually has the possibility to enhance the chances of errors in recording the actual work hours of all of the employees. This would also create a series of bizarre expense level for the organisation.

The second weakness that has been identified is the improper segregation of roles and responsibilities as the supervisor who is being charged with the responsibility of monitoring the timelines of each of the employee is also being held accountable for the proper distribution of pay checks (Hess and Cottrell Jr, 2016). Thus, there is a chance of increasing range of fraud in the entire system.

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Risks identified with the weaknesses

The key risk that has been identified with the first weakness constitutes of fraud risk or error risks in the entire documentation process. It is mainly because there is a less consideration towards ensuring the use of modern and advanced methods of recording the time of the employees.

The second key risk that has been identified is mainly associated with the idea of operational risks as their might be frauds related to the payments to be made to the employees. Since, the supervisors would be assigned with multiple responsibilities so they might cause a discrepancy that would increase the inefficiency in the organisation.

8. Conclusion

This report has managed to show extreme amount of potential in the organisation named Bell Studios and focused on their essential amount of weaknesses and the kind of risks they possess. It is to make sure that enough attention has been paid towards the idea that the business is able to achieve new remarks and heights for the better outcome of their decisions.

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