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Analyse an accounting information system to support a relatively small business system with some e-commerce capabilities

ASSIGNMENT PROJECT DETAILS
Assignment Project Objectives
This assignment is set to provide students with an opportunity to:
• Analyse an accounting information system to support a relatively small business system
with some e-commerce capabilities
• Use narrative description for documentation
• Report and document systems flowchart
• Identify and analyse measures that are in place to control the system and its data
• Recommend additional controls to improve operational and information system
effectiveness.
Overview
Your group (of four members) will learn about and propose a design of part(s) of an
accounting information system (e.g. accounts payable, general ledger) or a system closely
related to the AIS (e.g., sales, human resources). Your first task is to determine which
business scenario (from one of the business environments provided on the ACT304
Learnline site) your group will use. And then determine which interactive parts (subsystems) of an accounting information system you will design.
By the end of week three, your tutor will allocate students to the groups and will assign
business scenarios. Next, your tutor will determine which sub-systems (four in total) to be
analysed by the group. Once you receive this information, you will plan your work as a group
for the project.
Next, you need to gather information about the industry of the firm indicated in the case study.
You should conduct both a manual and an on-line literature search to find recent, relevant
articles in newspapers, trade journals, general business periodicals, etc. Examine the Web
sites (if they have one) of potential competitors, an industry association etc. The purpose of
this review will be to help you understand the operational and strategic challenges which
affect how the firm’s AIS is used by accountants and managers in the organisation. On an
ongoing basis, you should also read relevant periodicals in case a relevant current article
discusses the firm’s industry.
The information you gain from your literature search will form the basis of your understanding
of the AIS requirements and form the basis of your AIS design. Then you will prepare the first
section of your assignment report that describes the client’s organisation and its industry and
document the AIS (including a system narrative and a document/system flowchart) and
compare AIS design with the generic AIS described in the text. As part of the AIS design
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process, you will identify suitable software application(s) to support your system design.
Normally suitable software application(s) are identified after the system has been designed
and system specifications are identified. However, it may be possible to integrate the process
of application selection and design as an iterative process.
You will next identify, describe and analyse the application and pervasive controls related to
this AIS. As the case study will have some necessary constraints that will prevent you
designing a perfect system, you will need to identify control weaknesses and inefficiencies
and what recommendations or design changes you would suggest to improve the efficiency
and effectiveness of the AIS, if some or all of the constraints are reduced. Finally, you will
complete and submit your report.
Collaborative learning is emphasized in this project. Your individual efforts and skills should
complement other members of your group of 3 students. The final product should be better
than the output of a single individual!
Planned use of non-organisation sources: Do a preliminary consultation with a reference
librarian to identify relevant sources of information about the industry of your case study’s
firm. Describe in detail the specific data sources you plan to search to learn about your firm’s
industry ry. Include trade journals and web sites. Do not state that you will search on “Lexis –
Nexis” or “the Web” or “relevant trade journals.” Instead, note which Web sites, which specific
trade journals, etc. Identify sources that will also help you understand the particular
accounting cycle you will examine or typical packages for this system (e.g., text, other
sources).
Detailed Description of the Requirements:
There are three parts to consider for this assignment.
Part 1: Project plan
1.1 Group Member Responsibilities
Develop a clear understanding of how each member will contribute to the work of the group,
communicate with one another, and ensure a quality product throughout the entire project.
This section will require the group to set specific dates for completion of each part. Each
student should be allocated one of the subsystems identified and contribute to each of the
requirements1 of this assignment, as they are related to the sub-system allocated to the
student.
Describe specific mechanisms that will ensure that:
i. the group does not rely excessively on any one individual,
ii. controversial issues receive adequate discussion of appropriate points of view,
iii. ongoing work is appropriately reviewed and revised well ahead of due dates, and
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iv. the collective efforts of the group yield a better outcome than individuals working alone.
Mechanisms for group communication and coordination should be specific and unambiguous
(e.g. all members agree to check their e-mail three times daily; use of a telephone calling list,
etc.). Mechanisms for analysis, review and quality control should also be specific and
unambiguous. These mechanisms would include (but not necessarily be limited to):
mechanisms for dispute resolution with the group (egg majority vote, 3rd part arbitration etc.).
• mechanisms for ensuring deadlines for individual efforts are met.
• the way workloads will be redistributed in a timely manner if individuals cannot meet their
agreed obligations to the group effort.
• the way the quality of individual input is analysed/assessed and if necessary, improved upon
on a timely basis.
• the file naming conventions to be used by individuals and by the group.
• the way assignment documents will be managed in order to facilitate updating and access
by various group members.
• the way assignment documents and data will be protected from loss or corruption.
Successful completion of the following activities is necessary for a well-managed project:
• Define: Identify project goals and objectives.
• Plan: Identify and sequence project activities.
• Organize: Assign work packages (some to individuals, some to sub-groups, some to
the entire group).
• Control: Establish status reports and a mechanism to monitor quality and progress
against scheduled deliverables.
• Close: Prepare and present the report to the client.
1.2 Executive Summary (no more than 200 words):
Your executive summary should provide an overview of the entire document and highlight a
key message, such as actions you are urging that your client to take. There is no single format,
but one appropriate way to organize an executive summary might be as follows:
• Professional assignment. This should answer the following questions: (Who are you? What
was your assignment? What tasks did your group perform?)
• Purpose of the document (“This report describes our findings and recommendations…”)
• Results (what your group observed/found)
• Conclusions (your group’s assessment of the system’s strengths and weaknesses)
• Recommendations
Part 2: System Documentation and Analysis (3900 words)
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Preparation: Your group should meet several times to discuss the sub-system descriptions,
narratives, documentation, the interactions/interdependencies and information flows between
the sub-systems. With the intention of ensuring consistency between sub-systems and in the
overall systems documentation and overall quality of the report.
It is expected that each student in a group will focus on one of the sub-systems being analysed,
(along with contributing equally to those elements of this deliverable that are not specifically
part of a specific sub-system and supporting other group members in the analysis of the other
sub-systems being analysed by the group).
Detailed description of the requirements for this section are as follows:
2.1 Organisation/Industry Description (no more than 300 words):
Describe the products/services sold by the firm. Describe the firm’s industry, primary
competitors, etc. Include an organisation chart showing the intended major reporting
relationships that you will design into your group’s system. Discuss significant industry trends
and competitive/operational challenges (e.g., slow growth, new competitors, new regulations,
etc.) Cite all sources used (including trade journals, general business publications, Web
pages, and primary sources). The project should be properly referenced using an accepted
reference technique accompanied by appropriate bibliography and literature review at the end
of section
2.2 Describe the purpose and key features of each relevant part of the AIS (700 words).
Describe how each of the proposed AIS sub-systems contributes to organisational goals. On
the organisation chart, show how the department(s) in which each AIS sub-system is used
relate(s) to the larger organisation. Describe each sub-system’s major functions, typical
transactions, reports produced, and frequency of transaction and master file updates.
2.3 Discuss how your system addresses the main issues specific to e-business
systems: (600 words).
Identify the main issues that are specific to e-business processes/activities/systems (as
opposed to “traditional” business processes/activities/systems). Discuss how your system
design addresses these issues.
2.4 Describe how each of your proposed AIS sub-systems will provide data for
managerial decisions. (500 words)
Describe the typical managerial decisions supported by each of the proposed sub-systems
and what other data and/or information is needed for these decisions in addition to that
supplied by the system.
2.5 Describe the key features of AIS software chosen (400 words).
As part of the AIS design process, you will identify suitable software application(s) to support
your system design. Normally suitable software application(s) are identified after the system
has been designed and system specifications are identified. However, it may be possible to
integrate the process of application selection and design as an iterative process (i.e. find
suitable software, identify its key features and adopt these features into your sub-systems
design). Obtain a copy of the chosen AIS software brochure. Read the comments about the
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accounting software in the brochure in respect to those modules that the group has chosen to
report on. Identify and describe the key elements and features that apply to each of the
subsystems under review.
Describe the computer and network hardware and software that might be used and interfaces
with other systems (from which it receives data or sends data). Discuss whether the
organisation uses reasonably current technology, and show how the components of the
system are arranged. Include such details as hardware brand (e.g., Dell, HP), processor (Intel
Core i7-8700K, AMD FX-8350, etc.), operating system (e.g. MAC OS, Windows 10 — include
version numbers), database software (e.g. MS Access, DB2, Oracle), network description
(LAN, WAN, or both), and network software used (e.g. Cloud/SaaS, Windows Server 2016,
Linux; Apache Web Server). Note whether the software was developed in-house or purchased
and describe the contractual relationship with the software vendor.
2.6 Discuss a few points of similarity/contrast between each relevant part of your AIS
design and that described in the relevant chapter (400 words).
Consider the “standard” description of the system and compare and contrast your system
design with the “standard” description. Where significant differences exist suggest reasons for
the differences (such as changes to accommodate/compliment controls in other systems, cost
effectiveness etc.)
2.7 Document the system using narrative and flowchart (1000 words)
• Prepare a two pages narrative describing the operation of each of the sub-systems under
review, it’s data flows, processes, forms, files and reports. Prepare a Level 0 Logical Data
Flow Diagram, decisions
• Prepare a Document systems flowchart which is consistent with the Level 0 Logical Data
Flow Diagram and Narrative
Part 3: Internal Controls Analysis and Documentation, and
Recommendations (around 2900 word)
Preparation: Your group should meet once or two times to discuss the controls (or lack of
controls) that you designed in your firm’s system, prepare a control matrix describing them,
analyse their effectiveness and efficiency. Identify if your system has “built-in” control
deficiencies. Then prepare the documents listed below.
Detailed description of the requirements for this section and the draft report are as
follows:
There are no recommended or suggested page lengths for this section. The page lengths are
entirely dependent on the elements discussed. However, it is expected that you will be
relevant, clear and concise in your discussions.
3.1 Partial Control Matrix: include at least 7 existing control plans and any (“missing”) control
plans for each subsystem examined. These control plans should relate to the “key” or “main”
objectives of each of the relevant parts of the client’s sub-system under review. As the case
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study will have some necessary constraints that will prevent you designing a perfect system,
you will need to identify control weaknesses and inefficiencies inherent in your design and
what recommendations or design changes you would suggest to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of the AIS, if some or all of the constraints are reduced.
3.2 Control Matrix Explanation: Describe how each control plan helps (or would help)
achieve system goals.
3.3 Control Analysis: Discuss the overall adequacy of controls used in each sub-system
under review. Discuss the efficiency and effectiveness of controls (if an operations or
information system goal has no plan listed under it on your matrix, why not? Does an
expensive control support a single goal? Is this appropriate, in your judgment? Are there
control deficiencies in your system design due to cost effect constraints, software
incompatibility with your preferred system etc.? If so why is this appropriate, in your judgment?
Discuss the mix of preventive, detective, and corrective controls. Form a conclusion as to the
quality of the controls, based on the system’s environment and user needs.
3.4 Managerial Recommendations for each sub-system under review: Go beyond a
narrow control view to a broader look at how well the system achieves organisational goals,
and how it might be incrementally or dramatically reengineered (e.g. by taking advantage of
new technologies) to better achieve organisational goals, in the future. If you recommend
changes to your current system design and procedures, prepare a draft of the new
procedure(s), and document how the system would change, using a data flow diagram or flow
chart. If you recommend a new report, prepare a draft of that report. If you recommend
purchase of new hardware or a new software package, indicate either a specific product
recommendation, or list several viable options. If you recommend the status quo, justify your
recommendation. This segment will complement the discussion of missing controls in part 3.1.
Flowcharting Conventions
Please use the flowcharting conventions shown on the textbook for Data Flow Diagrams, and
Flowchart Diagrams.
Guidelines for Assignment Preparation Before Submission
• It is preferable that assignments be typed (written assignments will be accepted but
only if clear and legible. Marks may be deducted for illegible or partially illegible
papers.)
• Sketches, diagrams, charts etc. should be neat and properly labelled.
• Where appropriate assignments should be single spaced.
• Where applicable the assignment should be presented on A4 size page leaving at least
a 2.5cm margin on either side. (This is the best format for viewing and marking.) Larger
page sizes can be utilised for charts etc.
• Number each page of the assignment. (Where practicable the student’s name and
student’s number and/or group’s name and number should also appear on each page.)
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• Make a duplicate copy of each assignment. This overcomes any problems should your
assignments ever be lost even though this rarely happens.
• Assignment lodgement via Learnline is mandatory. No assignment will be accepted by
email.
• When lodging your file electronically, please use a file name structure/convention that
results in a unique file name that allows the receiver to identify to whom the file belongs,
the relevant assignment and relevant deliverable. Generic names such as “assignment
one” etc. are not acceptable.
• Assignment papers should be properly referenced using an accepted reference
technique accompanied by appropriate bibliography and literature review. Students
should restrict their quoting of specific passages to a bare minimum.
• Students’ attention is drawn to the Student Conduct By-Laws of the Charles Darwin
University.
http://www.cdu.edu.au/governance/policies/pol-001.pdf and Student Breach of Academic
Integrity Procedures http://www.cdu.edu.au/governance/procedures/pro-092.pdf
Submission Requirements.

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