Question: Mickie Louderman is the new assistant controller of Pickens Publishers

Mickie Louderman is the new assistant controller of Pickens Publishers. She was the controller of a company in a similar industry, where she was in charge of accounting and had considerable influence over computer center operations. Pickens wants to revamp its information system, placing increased emphasis on decentralized data access and online systems. John Richards, the controller, is near retirement. He has put Mickie in charge of developing a new system that integrates the company’s accounting-related functions. Her promotion to controller will depend on the success of the new AIS.
Mickie uses the same design characteristics and reporting format she used at her former company. She sends details of the new AIS to the departments that interface with accounting, including inventory control, purchasing, human resources, production control, and marketing. If they do not respond with suggestions by a prescribed date, she will continue the development process. Mickie and John have established a new schedule for many of the reports, changing the frequency from weekly to monthly. After a meeting with the director of IS, Mickie selects a programmer to help her with the details of the new reporting formats.
Most control features of the old system are maintained to decrease the installation time, with a few new ones added for unusual situations. The procedures for maintaining the controls are substantially changed. Mickie makes all the AIS control change and program-testing decisions, including screening the control features related to payroll, inventory control, accounts receivable, cash deposits, and accounts payable.
As each module is completed, Mickie has the corresponding department implement the change immediately to take advantage of the labor savings. Incomplete instructions accompany these changes, and specific implementation responsibility is not assigned to departmental personnel. Mickie believes operations people should learn as they go, reporting errors as they occur.
Accounts payable and inventory control are implemented first, and several problems arise. The semimonthly payroll runs, which had been weekly under the old system, have abundant errors, requiring numerous manual paychecks. Payroll run control totals take hours to reconcile with the computer printout. To expedite matters, Mickie authorizes the payroll clerk to prepare payroll journal entries.
The new inventory control system fails to improve the carrying level of many stock items. This causes critical stock outs of raw material that result in expensive rush orders. The new system’s primary control procedure is the availability of ordering and user information. The information is available to both inventory control and purchasing personnel so that both departments can issue timely purchase orders. Because the inventory levels are updated daily, Mickie discontinues the previous weekly report.
Because of these problems, system documentation is behind schedule, and proper backup procedures have not been implemented. Mickie has requested budget approval to hire two systems analysts, an accountant, and an administrative assistant to help her implement the new system. John is disturbed by her request because her predecessor had only one part-time assistant.

a. List the steps Mickie should have taken while designing the AIS to ensure that end-user needs were satisfied.
b. Identify and describe three ways Mickie violated internal control principles during the AIS implementation.
c. Identify and describe the weaknesses in Mickie’s approach to implementing the new AIS. How could you improve the development process for the remaining parts of the AIS?

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  • CreatedDecember 19, 2014
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