The following narrative description of a company’s cash receipts and billing system is in the auditors’ audit files: Rural Building Supplies Inc. is a single- store retailer that sells a variety of tools, garden supplies, lumber, small appliances, and electrical fixtures. About half of the sales are to walk- in customers and about half to construction contractors. Rural employs 12 salaried sales associates, a credit manager, three full- time clerical workers, and several part- time cash register clerks and assistant bookkeepers. The full- time clerical workers are the cashier who handles the cash and the bank deposits, the accounts receivable supervisor who prepares invoices and does the accounts receivable work, and the bookkeeper who keeps journals and ledgers and sends customer statements. Their work is described more fully in the narrative.
Rural’s retail customers pay for merchandise by cash or credit card at cash registers when they purchase merchandise. A building contractor can purchase merchandise on account if approved by the credit manager. The credit manager bases approvals on general knowledge of the contractor’s reputation. After credit is approved, the sales associate files a prenum-bered charge form with the accounts receivable (A/ R) supervisor to set up the contractor’s account receivable.
The A/ R supervisor independently verifies the pricing and other details on the charge form by reference to a management- authorized price list, corrects any errors, prepares the sales invoice, and supervises a part- time employee who mails the invoice to the contractor. The A/ R supervisor electronically posts the details of the invoice in customer database, and the computerized system simultaneously transmits the transaction details to the bookkeeper. The A/ R supervisor also prepares ( 1) a monthly computer- generated A/ R subsidiary ledger without reconciliation to the A/ R control account and ( 2) a monthly report of overdue accounts.
The cashier performs the cash receipts functions, including supervising the cash register clerks. The cashier opens the mail, compares each check with the enclosed remittance advice, stamps each check “for deposit only,” and lists the checks on the deposit slip. The cashier then gives the remittance advices to the bookkeeper for recording. The cashier deposits the checks each day and prepares a separate deposit of the cash from the cash registers. The cashier retains the verified bank deposit slips (stamped and dated at the bank) to use in reconciling the monthly bank statements. The cashier sends to the bookkeeper a copy of the daily cash register summary. The cashier does not have access to the bookkeeper’s journals or ledgers. The bookkeeper receives information for journalizing and posting to the general ledger from the A/ R supervisor (details of credit transactions) and from the cashier (cash reports). After recording the remittance advices received from the cashier, the bookkeeper electronically transmits the information to the A/ R supervisor for subsidiary ledger updating. Upon receipt of the A/ R supervisor’s report of overdue balances, the bookkeeper sends monthly statements of account to contractors with unpaid balances.
The bookkeeper authorizes the A/ R supervisor to write off accounts as uncollectable six months after sending the first over-due notice. At this time, the bookkeeper notifies the credit manager not to approve additional credit to that contractor. Required: Take the role of the supervising auditor on the Rural engagement. Your assistants pre-pared the narrative description. Now you must analyze it and identify the internal control weaknesses. Organize them under the heading of employee job functions: credit manager, accounts receivable supervisor, cashier, and bookkeeper. (Do not give advice about correcting the weaknesses.)
Discuss the possibilities for fraud you notice in this control system.