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A way to make the revenue cycle run smoothly is by integrating hardware and software to assist in the setup of the various systems. This setup would make it easier for Riordan Manufacturing to access their financial information. We will discuss what hardware and software is needed, and will go on to identify who accesses this information. Another area to cover is the controls that need to be implemented based around the accounting procedures, and what information should be available through the corporate Internet and intranet.
Examining Hardware and SoftwareTo integrate cost of goods sold into the accounting process Riordan Manufacturing would need a system to work for all locations. Currently, the thr
ee locations have different systems. It would require software that is compatible for all locations as well. At the present time, each location uses different software as well.
Information Shared Between Different Cycles
One source of information to be shared would be the balance sheet. It highlights the company’s assets, liabilities, and stockholders equity. Another source of information to share is the income statement. The breakdown of revenue and expenses appear on this statement. The final results capture net profit or net loss.
Access to Information
While integrating this accounting process into an automated system there should be only a select few people who have access to the information contained in the database. Those people would include the database designer, the people or persons installing the hardware or software and database management. The database designer would need access to the information for obvious reasons along with the persons installing the hardware or software. Database management would need access to the information to insure that the information is being installed correctly and to insure breach of security is not an issue. When creating a database, there should be as few people as possible that have access to the information. That way information contained in the database can be kept as secure as possible.
The internal controls required for the revenue cycle specifically dealing with cost of goods sold are similar to other accounting areas. The first set of internal controls deal with whom has access to the accounting information system. The set of controls that deal with issues of security in the system and are embedded into the system are called IT general controls (Bagranoff 2008). IT general controls deal with whom is authorized to access and change data files. One of the general controls required for the company’s system would be restricting access to programs. The control would prevent unauthorized personal from changing anything in the program.
The second area of internal controls or application controls deals with transactions. Application controls can be divided in three parts: input control, processing controls, and output controls (Bagranoff 2008). These three areas of control deal with data input, processing data and the reporting of processed data. Application controls are vital to ensuring accuracy and legitimacy of the data.
Two common input internal controls that would be required are feedback mechanism and edit tests. Additional internal controls can be added to better facilitate the input processes. Processing data controls deals with the data after input. The first internal control needed is an audit trail. This control allows a person to follow the route the data has taken and will take.
The second area is file control which ensures the integrity of the file. The final step in application control is the output controls. One area of concern in this area is control of company forms. In the area of revenue specifically cost of goods sold the forms that should be managed are purchase orders and inventory control sheets.
IT is currently being used to support finance and accounting decisions, inventory control, and logistics. While it is apparent that the inventory methods in use are effective, there is room for improvement. Documenting the receipt of raw materials and shipping of manufactured items is done using paper invoices. IT can be applied to this process to achieve a more streamlined approach.
One way to streamline the process is to automate the receipt of raw materials so that necessary inventory data is automatically entered into the inventory system as raw materials are received, instead of waiting for clerks to input this data manually. Using bar code scanner technology to input this data would be a more efficient and would reduce errors. A similar process could be used for outbound shipping of finished products. Integrating bar code technology with Riordan’s existing database would allow management to receive real-time inventory data on raw materials received and manufactured products shipped. Making the data available in real-time, instead of having to wait for data entry clerks to manually input the data, would further enhance the business intelligence (BI) necessary to support both operational and strategic decision-making.
Intranet or Internet
As a way to make the accounting process easier for all involved, Riordan Manufacturing must brainstorm on how to provide information through the corporate intranet or Internet. In order to decide on where to list information, some detail on the meaning of the intranet and Internet is provided.
“The intranet is for internal communications purposes. These computer networks use the same software as the Internet, but are internal to the organization that created them” (Bagranoff, 2008, p. 7).
“The Internet is a collection of local and wide area networks that are now connected together via the Internet backbone – that is, the main electronic connections of the system” (Bagranoff, 2008, p. 5).
A good way to use the intranet would be to have all locations connected. This in return would allow all information to be accessible to each location. At the same time, it saves time trying to get information forwarded to corporate. The intranet could be used to give updates on key issues relating to the accounting process as well.
The Internet is a good place to provide customers with information on the history of Riordan Manufacturing. Another area of interest is listing some information on the products that are being sold. Listing a telephone number with a contact for the customer to call regarding issues is a good idea as well.
With the hardware and software implemented and having good internal controls over the accounting information will help to have more consistent and more accurate financial reports. The revenue cycle is an important factor in running the business from the time an order invoices to the time the order is collected. Being able to report quicker and faster on internal financial reports will even give the business a quick glance of how they are doing from week-to-week or monthly so they know what they need to work on, or even if they need to make a purchase. This way the business will always know where they stand on their financials.
Bagranoff, N. A., Simkin, M. G., and Strand, C. (2008). Core Concepts of AccountingInformation Systems (10th ed.). [Electronic Version]. New York: Wiley. Retrieved July 10, 2008 from University of Phoenix, ACC/340, rEsource Web site: http://mycampus.phoenix.edu/login.aspBagranoff, N. A. (2008). Accounting on the Internet. [University of Phoenix CustomEdition e-text].John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved July 12, 2008, from University ofPhoenix, ACC340 Web site.