ACCT326 Course Project (only use reference)

ACCT326 Course Project

The project will demonstrate your comprehension of accounting systems and your ability to effectively communicate in writing.

Assume you are the owner of a small CPA practice in a major metropolitan area.  You have six professional employees, of which 2 are relatively new CPAs (recent graduates from UMUC), and an experienced office manager. In the past, your practice consists primarily of tax and advisory services, but you want to expand the practice. Based upon your desires to expand the practice, you have found a potential new client. The client has a growing homeowners' association consisting of 1000 homeowners, who is in the process of acquiring with four other homeowner associations within the next 90 days. This acquisition will increase the number of homeowners to 3000.  The new client is interested in using a single automated accounting information system that will be able to perform the following functions:

1.  Billing - Each month, the system will generate an itemized bill for each homeowner. The fees will vary from $100 to $200 per month, based upon the location of each home, and the type of home (townhouse or single family homes). Late fees are 20 percent per month of the unpaid balance. The bills are mailed the 25th of each month and payment is due by the 10th of the following month.  .
2.  Collections – Payments can be made in person (at the HOA main office); via mail (via a PO Box); or electronically. Payments will be deposited to the client’s account.  
3.  Payments: It is expected that the system will generate a minimum of 100 checks / payments each month. These payments will cover a variety of services, such as expenses for  
•    office supplies
•    rental space for the HOA
•    utility expenses for the HOA  office as well as for lighting for each of the 5 HOAs
•    lawn care
•    refuse & snow removal  
4.  Payroll: It is expect that the client will have roughly 20 full-time employees and 30 part-time employees. Employees will be paid on a bi-weekly basis.  Payment will be made from the client’s payroll checking account, which is separate from the client’s primary account.
5.  Reporting: It is expected that the system will be able to handle any and all reporting, including periodic financial statements.

Currently two of the four HOAs (including the client) are using an automated accounting system (Sage and QuickBooks), while the others are using Microsoft Excel to perform its accounting functions.  Per this, you can see why the client will want to move to a single system. The client is using QuickBooks, but is open to using another system.

As the owner o the CPA firm, you are excited by this opportunity because it is a way to expand your practice, but this is an opportunity that is very new to you. As the result of this opportunity, you have asked your lead CPA to develop a document that will help you to determine if you should proceed with this opportunity.  You have given your resources 4 weeks to complete this assignment.  

Required: Using the methodology developed in this course, document and illustrate the system from an automated function viewpoint. As part of your documentation, you will need to identify the specific system requirements in the areas of inputs, outputs, and controls for each of the service areas. You will be also required to provide mock-ups of sample forms, documents, and reports.  Your finish product will be a paper & a PowerPoint presentation (a summary of the paper), based upon the following outline.

1.  Executive Summary
2.  Introduction
o    Purpose of  New System
3.  Proposed System Requirements
o    Billing
o    Input Requirements
o    Output Requirements
o    Control Requirements
o    Collection
o    Input Requirements
o    Output Requirements
o    Control Requirements
o    Payments
o    Input Requirements
o    Output Requirements
o    Control Requirements
o    Payroll  
o    Input Requirements
o    Output Requirements
o    Control Requirements
o    Financial Reporting
o    Input Requirements
o    Output Requirements
o    Control Requirements
4.  Proposed Outsourcing Functions
5.  System Selection  
6.  Challenges to Automation
7.  Appendix

Listed below is a summary of each section, including projected page lengths.

Paper Guidelines
•    Section I – Executive Summary: In this section, you will provide an executive summary of Section II – VI. Your summary should be limited to 2 pages.
•    Section II – Introduction: In this section, you will provide narrative regarding the current business problem and how automation may or may not address the problem. This section should be limited to 2 pages.
•    Section III – System Requirements: In this section, you will document the specific requirements (input, output, & control) as required for each of the respective functions (collections, payments, etc.). In order to complete this, you will need to identify the following:

•    Key data you would need to collect  in order to perform the function
•    Key data & information that will need to be produced / generated when processing transactions
•    Key controls to need to be implemented to support & secure the function.  

•    Section IV – Outsourcing Considerations: In this section, you will identify functions that may be prime candidates for outsourcing.  For those functions that are selected for outsourcing, you will need to explain why they are; the possible benefits; and potential concerns. This section should be at least 2 pages long.

•    Section V – System Selection:  In this section, you will discuss which PC-based accounting system will be the best choice. You can need to select 3 PC-based systems to evaluate and determine which one is the best choice. In developing your recommendation, you should discuss each of the system’s relative strengths & weaknesses, and recommend a solution. Also, you will recommend a migration plan (parallel, phase, etc.) for implementing the solution.  This section should a minimum of 4 pages.

•    Section VI –Challenges to Automation: In this section, you will identify and discuss the challenges to migrating to a new automated system. This section should be at least 3 pages long.

•    Appendix: In this section, you will provide a mock-up of two sample reports; and two sample financial statements.

Presentation Guidelines
•    Introduction: Summary of  Section II – not to exceed 2 slides
•    System Requirements: Summary of Section III - not to exceed 2 slides for each area (billing, collection, etc.)
•    Outsourcing Considerations:  Summary of Section IV – not to exceed 2 slides
•    System Selection  Summary of Section V – not to exceed 4 slides
•    Challenges to Automation: Summary of Section VI – not to exceed 2 slides

Your grade for this project will be based on the quality of both content and presentation, considering the following:

•    Discussion of all required points related to the outline above.
•    Ability to apply concepts from this course in order to design a solution.
•    Ability to conduct the appropriate analysis based upon the limited information that has been provided.
•    The creativeness of your solution.
•    Formatting considerations, such as
o    Well-written and free of grammatical and typographical errors
o    Professional, neat appearance
o    Ability to use specific formatting guidelines (as listed below)

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