Assignment – Accounting Systems
Assignment – Accounting Systems
E-submission using turnitinUK; by 23:55 (pm).
50% of the overall unit mark Put your student ID(s) in the header or footer.
You may submit work individually or in groups of up to 4. You do not have to use the same groups as for the first assignment.
Each group should submit only one copy of the work required.
The assignment mark will be given to all group members unless the group members request it to be split differently.
Groups of more than 1 MUST submit additional information on how the group worked together. Details of this are given below (page 79).
Note: If your group plans to work over the Easter period you should arrange details of the work and communication before Easter.
Required: The assignment consists of a report to senior management based on ONE of 4 case studies below. (an additional case study on recent events may be added up to 29 Jan 2015) You select 1 of the 4 (or 5) case studies. In summary these are:
Case Study 1: Lascelles Fine Foods Case Study 2: Andy’s Bonsai Company (ABC) case study Case Study 3: Security Services Limited (SSL) Case Study 4: Why do public-sector projects fail? report to an NHS trust management
Note: The case studies are designed to cover multiple sessions from the lectures.
you Use at least one academic quality article and/or professional journal article. You should must NOT use articles aimed primarily at marketing a product (except possibly for tables, also graphs, etc.)
Use appropriate referencing and citations in Harvard APA format (6th edition).
Note: Although the report is to senior management it should also follow the conventions of academic work in the sense that:
It should be fully referenced and citations used wherever external sources are used, whether direct quotes or put in your own words.
It should deal with theory where appropriate (as well as with practice).
Note: Some students include either an abstract or ‘executive summary’. Neither of these is necessary for this work.
However, be sure to follow the standard practice of an introduction and conclusion.
Also, use headings and sub-headings to make the structure of the work clear and tables and/or graphs to illustrate points.
Word count: 2,500 words excluding cover page, tables, graphs, bibliography & appendices.
Criteria: The assignment assesses the following unit learning outcomes,
LO 3 Explain the activities involved in system implementation & management.
LO 4 Evaluate information systems in a financial & management context.
LO 5 Appreciate security and governance issues as they relate to information systems.
Working in groups
Groups of more than 1 MUST submit additional information on how the group worked together. Individuals not working in a group may also complete this information if they wish to practice the skills involved.
This information has been developed along the lines of ‘graduate and employability skills’ for the University of Portsmouth.
Management of tasks and of others
Group members should share sufficient contact information to enable them to communicate with each other in the timescales required. They should also ensure that every group member has a copy of, or access to, material produced in relation to the assignment. This can be done by exchanging copies of material at group meetings (see below) or by emailing copies of material to other group members.
Groups should arrange to meet on a regular basis. At each meeting, one member of the group should be appointed to record the following group work (a sample form is provided):
- 1 Date, time and location of meeting.
- 2 Hemis numbers of those attending and apologies for non-attendance.
- 3 Brief details of the work done and / or topics discussed.
- 4 Where appropriate, a review of the work done to date, or since the last meeting, including: Whether or not the work is progressing according to schedule (or plan). How the work relates to other work done. What further work needs to be done, and by whom. Any feedback and / or constructive criticism given.
- 5 Where appropriate, details of any plans made or decisions taken, including: Plans for future work, especially work to be done before the next meeting. How that work is to be split amongst group members. How that work is to be reviewed and / or evaluated by other members of the group. Any assistance and / or support needed or offered.
A different group member should record the above information at different meetings so that all group members have the opportunity to keep these records for at least one meeting.
Meetings may take place formally to cover the requirements above and may be in person or via electronic means such as email, text, chat, etc.
Often meetings will be less formal and typically will be used to work on the assignment together. The information listed above should still be recorded. In this case, item 5 should also cover work that was carried out while the group worked together. (It may also be the case that item 5 relating to work to be carried out before the next meeting will not apply. This occurs when group members do not carry out work between meetings but do the work together.)
You must submit a summary of not more than one page covering:
Who was in the group? How did the group maintain contact and arrange meetings? How did the group share out work? What was done by whom? What was done jointly? How did the group review, evaluate and act on the work done? How did the group provide feedback, constructive criticism, assistance and support?
Case Study 1: Lascelles Fine Foods
Lascelles Fine Foods (LFFL) is a fictitious example of a long-established company operating in the food industry. The company has its administrative headquarters in Ashville and manufactures on an adjacent site. All customer deliveries are from the Ashville-based warehouse. In addition, LFFL purchases finished and semi-finished food products from other manufacturers which it then finishes before resale.
The company has enjoyed steady growth in recent years and is now seeking to capitalise on the current fashion for quality and healthy food products. LFFL’s turnover is £16 million with net profitability of 6.3% of turnover. It is hoping to gain a competitive edge by providing quality food products which meet all present and anticipated quality standards and to this end will be applying for B55750 accreditation within the next six months. It is hoping to increase turnover by 10% per year after inflation over the next five years and increase net profitability to 9% of turnover over the same period.
LFFL’s main operations are divided into four main areas:
- sales and marketing;
- warehousing and distribution;
All information recording and internal communication is paper based and relies on a range of pre-printed documents which are then used as appropriate.
The sales department
LFFL has a diverse customer base, ranging from small health food shops to major supermarket chains. Orders can be one of two types: standard orders placed in advance for delivery in a specific week or priority orders placed for immediate delivery. Orders are placed either directly through sales office ‘account handlers’ or through field sales persons (each customer has one sales person). Each customer is allocated an account handler who acts as the main liaison point within LFFL. Besides receiving orders, the account handler is responsible for cash collection, ensuring satisfactory progress of the order and handling day-to- day queries. Customers are also placed into sales categories based on geographic location, volume of business and type of customer (e.g. specialist store vs supermarket chain). The sales director is apt to change his mind about which category a customer is in and which category means what.
Once an order is taken, it is recorded on a pre-printed order form. One copy is retained by the sales department and two copies are sent to warehousing and distribution. Warehousing and distribution sort all order forms into date order. When an order is due to be delivered, products are picked from the warehouse and loaded into the appropriate vehicle. When an order is delivered, it is accompanied by a consignment note and an invoice. The customer is required to check the delivery against the invoice and note any errors on the consignment note. The delivery driver returns with a signed copy of the consignment note and if any errors are noted a corrected invoice is sent to the customer.
Warehousing and distribution
LFFL stores finished products, bought-in products and raw materials in the warehouse. The warehouse is divided into three areas:
- the general zone, comprising a high-rise bulk storage area with a floor-level picking area;
- the cool zone, comprising low-level storage at 2 to 4°C;
- the frozen zone, with temperatures held to -18°C.
In addition to their role in the order processing cycle, other activities are also performed:
- internal warehouse movements from high-rise locations to ground-level areas and vice versa;
- receiving products and raw materials from suppliers and returned products from customers;
- issuing raw materials to manufacturing in response to submitted requisition forms;
receiving finished products from manufacturing and any unused raw materials. Information about quantities of finished goods and raw materials in stock is recorded in a card file, which has to be searched manually for the appropriate entry when updating is required.
Manufacturing ranges in complexity from simple repackaging of bulk-purchased materials to complex mixing and cooking activities. Recipes are recorded on 7″ by 5″ cards and include details of the required ingredients as well as the processing which is to take place.
LFFL’s finance department is divided into three areas:
accounts payable – when LFFL makes purchases, suppliers will invoice them; LFFL uses a manual purchase ledger to manage these accounts;
financial accounting – management of all monies flowing in and out of the company together with compliance with legal accounting requirements;
management accounting – internal accounting information necessary to manage the business more effectively. The accounts receivable area is handled by the account handlers who use a manual sales ledger and make a weekly return to the finance department on the state of their customers’ accounts.
- Specific business issues
There are a number of specific issues which relate to the activities of each department. These are detailed below.
Sales The status of an order cannot easily be determined without pestering the warehouse. Many customer complaints occur due to delivery of wrong products, orders delivered too late, incomplete orders and faulty products. Warehousing does not deliver the most important orders first – small orders are often given priority over larger orders from major retailers.
Orders often cannot be delivered on time because manufacturing produces too late and in insufficient quantity.
Warehousing and distribution
Many items have a limited shelf life – warehousing often fails to rotate the stock properly.
Actual stock levels are rarely in step with the recorded stock levels – this may be due to pilfering, poor update of stock records or both.
The sales department often accepts priority orders for products which are not in stock.
Manufacturing bypasses the normal requisition procedures and simply takes raw materials as required – it also often fails to return unused materials to warehousing.
The sales returns from the account handlers are often incomplete.
There are several bad debts which cannot be recovered – this is attributed to poor credit control procedures.
Management accounting is very difficult due to a general lack of accurate information from other departments.
Financial accounts are often published late due to lack of accurate information.
Warehousing is slow to respond to requests for raw materials, thus necessitating correct procedures being bypassed (especially when the sales department is applying pressure).
Lack of accurate forecasting makes it difficult for production to be planned ahead and adequate supplies of raw materials to be secured.
There is a rapid turnover of staff, especially in the sales area where the pressure from customers can be intense. In addition, field sales personnel are apt to make promises which cannot be kept and new sales personnel are often thrown in at the deep end with little formal training for their jobs.
There is a high level of sickness in the warehousing and distribution area, due mainly to inadequate provision of lifting equipment.
There is a perceived lack of management and technical support which has resulted in a general lowering of morale.
The managing director, Clive Moor, has indicated that he would like to replace the existing paper-based systems with ‘computers of some kind’. With such a move, he is hoping to improve on the communication of information at all levels in the organisation. However, Mr Moor knows little about computer hardware or applications software except that it seems to cost rather a lot.
In order to proceed with the computerisation programme, Mr Moor has asked the following senior managers to produce a plan:
- Paula Barlow – Finance director
- Terry Watson – Sales and marketing director
- Peter Jackson – Manufacturing operations director
- Frances Clarke – Warehousing and distribution director
However, these directors have varying degrees of enthusiasm for the project, together with a desire to minimise the risk of damage or exposure within their own departments. One of the key decisions which must be made will be how LFFL acquires the necessary applications software. One option will be to hire relevant IT staff and build bespoke applications, while another will be to purchase off-the-shelf packages. Yet another option will be for end-users to develop their own applications. This last option may prove awkward, since there is very little IT expertise among the end-users.
1.Which method(s) of business systems software acquisition would you recommend to LFFL? Explain and justify your answer.
2.Assuming that LFFL decides to go down the route of purchasing off-the-shelf packages, what steps do you recommend it takes to ensure that the applications which are selected meet their requirements?
Produce a feasibility analysis of the alternative methods of acquiring application software as they relate to LFFL. You should pay particular attention to the operational, organisational, economic and technical feasibility of each one. You should conclude with a recommendation on how LFFL should best proceed to the next phase of the information systems acquisition process.
- Identify risks, including their probabilities and impacts.
- Identify possible solutions to these risks.
- Implement the solutions, targeting the highest-impact, most-likely risks.
- In the Lascelles case study, is the feasibility analysis included in the body of the report or the report itself should be in the form of a feasibility analysis?
This will depend to some extent on the detail in the feasibility analysis. The main report should include sufficient information from the feasibility analysis to support any recommendations and to demonstrate understanding of the question in the context of the information given. Appendices are excluded from the word count and hence from formal marking although they can be used for detail which would not fit in to the main body of the paper. Students need to ensure the main body contains sufficient information to demonstrate their level of understanding.
- So is your recommendation that we put the most detailed feasibility report in the appendix and evaluate it in the main text? (Assuming we have a detailed feasibility report)
also for the risk identification and solution, is it only for the option of purchasing off-the-shelf packages as stated by question 2?
When answering these questions, you can consider alternative acquisition methods, but you need to use the information provided about LFFL. The answer does not need too focus on one specific acquisition method.
“The main report should include sufficient information from the feasibility analysis to support any recommendations and to demonstrate understanding of the question in the context of the information given.” You need to make sure that the main body includes sufficient information from the detailed feasibility report to support your evaluation.
- About the feasibility study, are we required to carry out a feasibility report for each acquiring method, or for the one we recommended in question 1 alone. Also, when you said the paragraph relates to questions 1 and 2, what do you mean? Are we supposed to incorporate it into our answers for questions 1 and 2? Or are we to have it as a separate report?
The question says “produce a feasibility analysis of the alternative methods…”. This can be done either by looking at the (main) feasibility criteria for each acquisition method (the normal approach) or by looking at the acquisition methods for each feasibility criterion. The decision on the acquisition method would not normally be taken until the feasibility analysis is done, thus the feasibility analysis would not be restricted to any particular acquisition method.
Would the answer to question 1 be informed by the feasibility analysis? The same for question 2?
Note: This is not saying that the feasibility analysis provides all the information needed to answer questions 1 or 2, just that it may provide some information. (see the definition of ‘relate’)