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Assume you are the owner of a small CPA practice in a major metropolitan area. You have desires to expand the practice to recommend AIS products to your customers. You have found your first new client who is interested in moving to a new AIS. The client, uTopia Homeowner Association (UHA) is a growing homeowners’ association (HOA) consisting of 3,500 homeowners. They are in the process of acquiring four other homeowner associations within the next 30 days. This acquisition will increase the number of homeowners to 7,500. uTopia is currently using an accounting information system that will no longer be supported by the vendor; therefore, they must find a new system. Currently, two of the HOAs that uTopia is acquiring are either Sage and QuickBooks, while the others are using systems that uTopia has no knowledge of. Per this, uTopia wants to move to a single system. They have no preference regarding Sage or QuickBooks, but they will defer to your judgment for the best option.
As the owner of the CPA firm, you are excited by this opportunity because it is a way to expand your practice. As a result of this opportunity, you have asked your lead CPA to develop a proposal for uTopia. You have given your resources four weeks to complete this assignment. Listed below are the core requirements of the new AIS for uTopia (after their acquisition):
• Billing (Invoicing): 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 on the 20th of each month and payment is due by the 10th of the following month.
• Collections (Receipts): Payments can be made in person (at the HOA main office); via mail (via a PO Box); or electronically. Payments will be deposited into the client’s account.
• Payments (Checks): It is expected that the system will generate a minimum of 400 / payments each month. These payments will cover a variety of services, such as expenses for office supplies; rent; utilities; landscaping; and trash/snow removal. The firm will rely on electronic payments; thus no paper checks.
• Payroll (Payroll): It is expecting that the client will have roughly 100 full-time employees and 150 part-time employees. Employees will be paid on a bi-weekly basis via direct deposit. Payment will be made from the client’s payroll checking account, which is separate from the client’s primary account.
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.
• Section I – Introduction: In this section, you will provide a narrative regarding the current business problem and how automation may or may not address the problem (2 pages double-spaced or 1 page single-spaced).
• Section II – System Requirements: In this section, you will document the specific requirements (input, output, & control) as required for each of the respective functions (billing, collections, payments, & payroll). In order to complete this, you will need to identify the following:
• A general description of the process and the necessary data you would need to collect in order to process transactions for the function in question (INPUTS).
• A description of the information, including data that will need to generate when processing transactions (OUTPUTS).
• A listing of key controls that needs to be implemented to support & secure the function (CONTROLS).
This will be your longest section. You can expect to exceed 2 pages double-spaced or 1 page single-spaced for system requirement (e.g., billing, collections).
• Section III – 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. (2 pages double-spaced or 1 page single-spaced).
• Section IV – System Selection: In this section, you will recommend a PC-based accounting system to support your new system. In developing your recommendation, start with a general overview of the systems. Next, you will discuss the system’s relative strengths & weaknesses, and why you are recommending it. Also, you will recommend a migration plan (direct cutover migration, parallel migration, or a pilot/phase migration) for implementing the solution. This will be your second-longest section. You can expect to exceed 2 pages double-spaced or 1 page single-spaced. Information from Assignment #2 will be helpful to you as you complete this section.
• Part V (Impact of Technology): Discuss how advances in technology, such as robotic processing automation (RPA), blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), or data analytics may be used in conjunction with your recommended AIS. Be sure that you clearly identify the technologies being recommended (2 pages double-spaced or 1 page single-spaced).
• Section VI –Challenges to Automation: In this section, you will identify and discuss at least three challenges to migrate to a new automated system (2 pages double-spaced or 1 page single-spaced).