Essay – Asset safeguarding and control system essay (*Note – Case study from the Sydney morning herald is attached below)
Aims: This piece of individual assessment is designed to achieve two aims. The first aim is to help develop your understanding of control systems. The second aim is to further your understanding and appreciation of the importance of controls to achieving the organisational goal of asset safeguarding.
Expected length: This assessment should not exceed 6 pages, including references, double-spaced 12-point Arial font. Referencing style should be APA or Harvard and should remain consistent throughout your essay.
Suggested information sources: The Botany City Council fraud has been widely reported in the media, particularly, the Sydney press, however, very detailed information is available at the ICAC website: www.icac.nsw.gov.au
Preliminary information: Assume you are a recent hire at the Riverside City Council and having completed a course in Accounting Information Systems are aware of the importance of, and are familiar with, controls to prevent such frauds. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor have approached you to report to the Councillors about what happened at Botany City Council. More importantly, the Riverside Mayor and Councillors want to know what can be done to stop a similar situation happening there.
Your immediate supervisor suggests you should develop a briefing for the Councillors describing the fraud at Botany, the fraud’s tangible and intangible costs, Botany’s control problems, the type of controls Riverside should implement, and whether the controls you suggest are preventative, detective, or corrective. At the same time, however, you need to make sure the Councillors understand the threat poor, weak, or non-existent controls pose to Riverside City Council.
Almost all of the Councillors have no background in Accounting Information Systems, so your briefing will be well researched, concisely and clearly written, accurately referenced, and in non-technical terms. Further, the higher the quality of your presentation, the more likely the Councillors and Council’s executive management will view you as a candidate for rapid promotion. In short, the spelling, grammar, and writing in the briefing must be to the highest standard.
Format of Essay:
You should set out your essay in this order.
How the fraud worked: In this section, you should briefly describe exactly how the fraud worked at Botany City Council. You should also briefly explain who was involved and how the fraud was uncovered (how the fraud was uncovered is not mentioned in the SMH article and will require you to research the fraud). This is a very important section as this is where you set up the premise of your briefing of how the fraud worked and how it continued to go apparently undetected for such a period. (1 page max).
The fundamental control problem: This section elaborates on Botany Council’s fundament control problem. You should state exactly what the problem was, at which levels (transaction, operational, management, strategic) did control weaknesses occur, who had exploited those weaknesses, and how they had exploited the weaknesses. You should also detail what the benefits were to the fraudster(s), as well as detailing the tangible and intangible costs to Botany City Council. You should provide referenced examples of the benefit to the fraudsters and the costs to Botany City Council to ensure the Riverside Councillors understand the extent of the costs of fraud! (3 pages max).
Explain briefly controls that you would suggest that could have helped avoid this fraud: Having described how the fraud worked and what the control problems were at Botany City Council, you should draw the two together and recommend at least two (2) controls that focus on reducing the likelihood of such a fraud occurring at Riverside Council. As always, you should explain how the controls would help avoid a similar fraud happening at Riverside Council and provide examples of those controls working in other organisations. (1 page max).
For each suggested control, explain whether it is preventive, detective, and/or corrective in nature: In this section, you should explain whether the controls you suggest to Riverside Council are preventative, detective, and/or corrective. Remember, the Councillors are not experts so your explanation will have to be non-technical (1 page max).
Note – Please write the essay according to the rubric attached. The essay should be strictly according the rubric attached. Since, Rubric shows which part of the essay has more marks and weightage as compared to other sections.