ICAS Project Proposal

anthony_12canthony_12c Feels At HomePosts: 40Registered
Submitted what i though was a suitable proposal to my training provider...

Turns out my example of 'fraud' wasn't adequate, but my question is, if your basing this on a actual workplace fraud and the risks tend to be low as most companies are not rife with fraud, certainly not at the level most people writing a project would be exposed too.

Why do we have to include information about a P&L and Balance sheet, surely if your doing the ICAS project you should have good knowledge of these by now.


Has anyone been given the task by the training provider rather than basing it on a actual workplace environment situation, if so how did you find it?

Comments

  • readerreader Experienced Mentor Posts: 1,039MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    Submitted what i though was a suitable proposal to my training provider...

    Turns out my example of 'fraud' wasn't adequate, but my question is, if your basing this on a actual workplace fraud and the risks tend to be low as most companies are not rife with fraud, certainly not at the level most people writing a project would be exposed too.

    Why do we have to include information about a P&L and Balance sheet, surely if your doing the ICAS project you should have good knowledge of these by now.


    Has anyone been given the task by the training provider rather than basing it on a actual workplace environment situation, if so how did you find it?

    I'm in the middle of the ICAS project (I've done about 2,500 words, so I've got another 1,000 words left). I absolutetly hate this project.

    One thing you can try and do is review any recent changes in your workplace, i.e. write the project as if the change hadn't been made and then review the change.

    I work in practice so this project has been even more difficult for me given that I don't work in any particular accounting function.

    I guess you need to give your training provider a call if you don't understand how to tackle things; I think the best thing to do is get your project over and done with.
  • freck59freck59 Feels At Home Posts: 39Registered
    I feel the same. I work in local authority and we have internal audit and external audit who make sure that any loophole for fraudulent activity is well and truly plugged before it even happens. The chances of an admin person training with AAT (i.e. me) finding something they can't spot is remote!

    I'm going to have a look through my external auditing books and see if there's a clue there as to possible scenarios.

    I've also looked on the AAT main website and found their ICAS project scenario and looked for fraud clues there. To be honest the scenarios have glaring faults and possiblities for fraud so I feel a bit cheated in having a job!!!
  • coojeecoojee Experienced Mentor Posts: 794Registered
    It's really important when writing this report to always have at the back of your mind what the standards are for this unit so that you know you're meeting them and not waffling on about something that's not required. Regarding fraud there are 3 standards that you need to meet and they are:

    "Describe the causes of, and common types of, fraud and the impact of this on the organisation.

    Explain methods that can be used to detect fraud within an accounting system.

    Explain the types of controls that can be put in place to ensure compliance with statutory or organisational requirements."

    So fraud doesn't have to be possible in the system you're reviewing, you just need to mention some of the fraudulent activities that could take place and what impact this would have (eg if you work in the cash office for the council you could pocket the cash that was handed over at the desk). Then you need to talk about what's in place to detect that fraud and what controls there are (for the above example it would be issuing pre numbered receipts, cheque/credit card payment only etc)

    So you're not necessarily looking for fraud in the current system, you're evaluating the current system and it will either be good at detecting fraud in which case you say why (and thereby meet the standards) or not good at detecting fraud in which case you make recommendations to detect and prevent fraud (and thereby meet the standards)

    Further on in the standards it says:

    "Identify potential areas of fraud arising from lack of control within the accounting system and grade the risk."

    Again for this you can say what the potential areas of fraud are but then say why they're not a problem, grade the risk as low. Remember that it's virtually impossible to eliminate all fraud.

    I guess it all hinges on what area you choose to base your report on, if it's a robust system in the first place then you're going to struggle to find any weaknesses in it let alone fraud so it's not the best system to choose. A system that has many weaknesses is likely to be open to fraud.
  • stevefstevef Well-Known CarmarthenPosts: 258Registered
    If working in local government suggest you pick a high risk system, there will be a number of internal controls and checks built into the system, but the risks are still there. A clue to these system, they are the ones that Internal Audit devote a lot of time to considering the value of transactions. Talk to the Internal Auditors, they probably have a risk indexing system to help their planning, they should be able to easily spot the high risk systems for you, descibe how they are trying to reduce the risk and tell you about areas of weakness.

    As a clue, look for systems with high volumes of cash that are away from the central cash office and may not use a centrally linked till, look for people who work alone and can make purchasing decisions or collect income. Car parks, sports centres, libraries, private school funds, rent collection, leisure park facillities (eg pitch and putt, tennis courts etc), petty cash, purchase/credit cards, expenses, contract letting etc.
  • AuntieTAuntieT Feels At Home Posts: 96Registered
    I also had problems with the fraud bit as also working for a local authority am only to aware of the Audit team hovering!

    Having myself been challenged on this area, I was confused as to what to do.

    Fortunately in the next 3 days, was asked to check coding/ sign a manual payment for expenses, and found charges to a "cost centre" which included VAT thus over stating costs.

    It got me looking differently at the question, as has been said concentrate on what the tick box you need to get ticked says. What could be..

    In neither case did / do I believe there was any fraud intended, but both both got me thinking probably because having had negative feedback was foremost in my mind about what could happen if people did want to be naughty! I actually then got quite creative with my thoughts!

    Now awaiting feedback on that so maybe completely wrong!
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