(a) Analyse and articulate business processes and recognise the role of accounting information systems in enhancing business process design.
(b) Communicate with IT professionals, stakeholders and user groups of information systems
Case Study: Apex Plumbing Ltd
Apex Plumbing Ltd, opened its doors in 2018 as a wholesale supplier of plumbing equipment, tools, and parts to hardware stores, home-improvement centers, and professional plumbers in the Riverwood metropolitan area. Over the years they have expanded their operations to serve customers across the nation and now employ over 200 people as technical representatives, buyers, warehouse workers, and sales and office staff. Most recently Apex has experienced fierce competition from the large online discount stores such as Robinson Ltd and Southern Plumbing Supplies Ltd. In addition, the company is suffering from operational inefficiencies related to its current information system.
Business process for Apex Plumbing Ltd
Apex’s sales department consists of 17 full-time and part-time employees. They receive orders via traditional mail, e-mail, telephone, and the occasional walk-in. Because Apex is a wholesaler, the vast majority of its business is conducted on a credit basis. The process begins in the sales department, where the sales clerk enters the customer’s order into the centralized computer sales order system. The computer and file server are housed in Apex’s small data processing department.
If the customer has done business with Apex in the past his or her data are already on file. If the customer is a first-time buyer, however, the clerk creates a new record in the customer file. The system then creates a record of the transaction in the open sales order file. When the order is entered, an electronic copy of it is sent to the customer’s e-mail address as confirmation.
A clerk in the warehouse department periodically reviews the open sales order file from a terminal and prints two copies of a stock release document for each new sale, which he uses to pick the items sold from the shelves. The warehouse clerk sends one copy of the stock release to the sales department and the second copy, along with the goods, to the shipping department. The warehouse clerk then updates the inventory subsidiary file to reflect the items and quantities shipped. Upon receipt of the stock release document, the sales clerk accesses the open sales order file from a terminal, closes the sales order, and files the stock release document in the sales department. The sales order system automatically posts these transactions to the sales, inventory control, and cost-of-goods sold accounts in the general ledger file.
Upon receipt of the goods and the stock release, the shipping department clerk prepares the goods for shipment to the customer. The clerk prepares three copies of the bill of lading. Two of these go with the goods to the carrier and the third, along with the stock release document, is filed in the shipping department.
The billing department clerk reviews the closed sales orders from a terminal and prepares two copies of the sales invoice. One copy is mailed to the customer and the other is filed in the billing department. The clerk then creates a new record in the account receivable subsidiary file. The sales order system automatically updates the account receivable control account in the general ledger file.
For the business process described for Apex Plumbing Ltd:
- Develop the current business process model.
- Identify and describe current strengths and inefficiencies that are present in the current system.
- Suggest ways that the business process inefficiencies could be corrected through business process re-engineering and the use of IT.
- Show the proposed business process model and explain how the newly reengineered system would operate.