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ACCT326 Technology / 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 based upon the following
outline:

Section 1. Executive Summary

Section 2. Introduction

Section 3. Proposed System Requirements

o Billing Processing

o Input Requirements

o Output Requirements

o Control Requirements

o Collection Processing

o Input Requirements

o Output Requirements

o Control Requirements

o Payment Processing

o Input Requirements

o Output Requirements

o Control Requirements

o Payroll Processing

o Input Requirements

o Output Requirements

o Control Requirements

Section 4. Proposed Outsourcing Functions

Section 5. System Selection

Section 6. Challenges to Automation

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
Executive Summary should be limited to 2 pages double-spaced or 1 page
single-spaced.

? 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. Your
Introduction should be limited to 2 pages double-spaced or 1 page
single-spaced.

? 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:

o Key data you would need to collect in order to perform the
function

o Key data & information that will need to be produced /
generated when processing transactions

o Key controls to need to be implemented to support &
secure the function.

This will be your longest section. You can expect to spend
at least 1.5 – 2 pages for each system requirement (e.g., billing,
collections). Do not tread lightly in this area.

? 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 limited to 2 pages double-spaced or
1 page single-spaced.

? Section V – System Selection: In this
section, you will recommend a PC-based accounting system to support your new
system. In developing your recommendation, you should discuss the system’s
relative strengths & weaknesses, and why you are recommending it.
Also, you will recommend a migration plan (parallel, phase, etc.) for
implementing the solution. This section will exceed 2 pages double-spaced or 1
page single-spaced. NOTE: Information from Assignment #2 will be helpful to you
as you complete this section. You will not be able to simply “cut & paste”
information from Assignment 2, but information from Assignment #2 will help you
in determining your system’s relative strengths and weaknesses.

? 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 2 pages
double-spaced or 1 page single-spaced.

While here is no recommended page length for the assignment,
you can use the recommendations proposed in each section to determine how long
your response will be. Your page count does not include such items as cover
page, reference page, and appendix, if provided. You will need to include at
least two references and at least two in-text citations to support your paper.
These references must be related directly to the topics covered in the paper.
Other formatting specifics regarding this paper include:

– Headings: You will need to use headings (short, brief, and
centered) to separate each area of your paper. Your headings should have an
appropriate title such as Challenges to Automation instead of Section VI. You
will need to include sub-headings when discussing items relating to System
Requirements

– Margins & Font Sizes: Use standard margins (minimum
.5″; maximum 1.5″) and standard font size (minimum 10 point; maximum
12 point) in your paper.

– Writing Style: APA is the preferred writing style, but you
can choose any appropriate writing style (e.g. MLA), except that all references
are to be formatted via APA. Please consult the UMUC Effective Writing Center
(http://www.umuc.edu/writingcenter/index.cfm) for assistance regarding choice
of styles and formatting of references via APA.