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Application of Small-Scale Data Analytics to a Pre-Existing Accounting Process

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The concept of data analytics has become a primary focus for companies of all types, and from within all industries. Leveraging data to enhance the decision making power of management is now vital for companies to remain competitive. Beginning as

The concept of data analytics has become a primary focus for companies of all types, and from within all industries. Leveraging data to enhance the decision making power of management is now vital for companies to remain competitive. Beginning as a movement pioneered by tech-startups and teams of university researchers, data analytics is reshaping every industry that it touches, and the field of accounting has been no exception.
Corporate buzzword terms like “big data” and “data analytics” are vague in meaning, and are thrown around by media sources often enough to obfuscate their actual meanings. These concepts are then associated with company-wide initiatives beyond the reach of the individual, in a nebulous world where people know that analytics happens, but don’t understand what it is.
The power of data analytics is not reserved for company-wide initiatives, or only employed by Silicon Valley tech start-ups. Its impacts are visible down at the team or department level, and can be conducted by the individual employees. The field of data analytics is evolving, and within it exists a rapid transition in which the individual employee is becoming a source for insight and value creation through the adoption of analytics based approaches.
The purpose of this thesis is to showcase an example of this claim, and demonstrate how an analytics based approach was applied to an existing accounting process to create new insights and information. To do this, I will discuss my development of an Excel based Dashboard Analytics tool, which I completed during my internship with Bechtel Corporation throughout the summer of 2018, and I will use this analytics tool to demonstrate the improvements that small-scale analytics had on a pre-existing process. During this discussion, I will address conceptual aspects of database design that related to my project, and will show how I applied this classroom learning to a working environment. The paper will begin with an overview of the desired goals of the group in which I was based, and will then analyze how the needs of the group led to the creation and implementation of this new analytics-based reporting tool. I will conclude with a discussion of the potential future use of this tool, and how the inclusion of these analytical approaches will continue to shape the working environment.

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Date Created
2019-05

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The Cognitive Audit: The Effects of Cognitive Computing on Financial Audit Roles of Tomorrow

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Cognitive technology has been at the forefront of the minds of many technology, government, and business leaders, because of its potential to completely revolutionize their fields. Furthermore, individuals in financial statement auditor roles are especially focused on the impact of

Cognitive technology has been at the forefront of the minds of many technology, government, and business leaders, because of its potential to completely revolutionize their fields. Furthermore, individuals in financial statement auditor roles are especially focused on the impact of cognitive technology because of its potential to eliminate many of the tedious, repetitive tasks involved in their profession. Adopting new technologies that can autonomously collect more data from a broader range of sources, turn the data into business intelligence, and even make decisions based on that data begs the question of whether human roles in accounting will be completely replaced. A partial answer: If the ramifications of past technological advances are any indicator, cognitive technology will replace some human audit operations and grow some new and higher order roles for humans. It will shift the focus of accounting professionals to more complex judgment and analysis.
The next question: What do these changes in the roles and responsibilities look like for the auditors of the future? Cognitive technology will assuredly present new issues for which humans will have to find solutions.
• How will humans be able to test the accuracy and completeness of the decisions derived by cognitive systems?
• If cognitive computing systems rely on supervised learning, what is the most effective way to train systems?
• How will cognitive computing fair in an industry that experiences ever-changing industry regulations?
• Will cognitive technology enhance the quality of audits?
In order to answer these questions and many more, I plan on examining how cognitive technologies evolved into their use today. Based on this historic trajectory, stakeholder interviews, and industry research, I will forecast what auditing jobs may look like in the near future taking into account rapid advances in cognitive computing.
The conclusions forecast a future in auditing that is much more accurate, timely, and pleasant. Cognitive technologies allow auditors to test entire populations of transactions, to tackle audit issues on a more continuous basis, to alleviate the overload of work that occurs after fiscal year-end, and to focus on client interaction.

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2018-05

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Motivation Crowding Theory and Its Limits

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This paper consists of a literature review, wherein four papers surrounding Motivation Crowding Theory (MCT) were read and analyzed. The paper then goes into an analysis of a survey I conducted. The survey consisted of three main questions with three

This paper consists of a literature review, wherein four papers surrounding Motivation Crowding Theory (MCT) were read and analyzed. The paper then goes into an analysis of a survey I conducted. The survey consisted of three main questions with three sub-questions for each, and all attempted to find a "limit" to MCT. However, results for the survey were ultimately inconclusive. The paper concludes with lessons learned in conducting research and surveys in particular, as well as a nod to the relevancy of MCT in business and personal applications.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Web-based Accounting Curriculum for Financial Literacy

Description

The Internet has brought along countless benefits to society and for the case of this thesis, especially educational benefits. Students can now have endless resources to whatever they wish to learn. This is especially beneficial in a time where a

The Internet has brought along countless benefits to society and for the case of this thesis, especially educational benefits. Students can now have endless resources to whatever they wish to learn. This is especially beneficial in a time where a clear majority of studies show that the U.S.'s financial literacy is in a concerning state. However, even though there may be a bounty of websites and programs available non-exclusively, they do not all effectively teach accounting and finance. In fact, many websites aimed at teaching accounting or finance simply replicate textbooks and glossaries, even though there are ways to make them more effective learning tools. Since the scope of this empirical observation is too large to confront, this thesis is mainly concerned with students currently learning accounting and finance who wish to have more supplemental learning information. Accordingly, the overarching argument of this thesis, is that college students aiming to learn accounting do not have enough resources to fully understand the classroom formulas and concepts. The creative solution for this problem is a website, name FIN-WIT aimed at providing financial content in plain language and with real-world examples.

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Date Created
2018-05

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An Analysis of the Relevancy of Women's Initiative Programs in Public Accounting

Description

Women have more opportunities to expand their career aspirations than ever before, so many view it as being acutely relevant. However, although women now account for more than half of the work force, there is still a considerable gap in

Women have more opportunities to expand their career aspirations than ever before, so many view it as being acutely relevant. However, although women now account for more than half of the work force, there is still a considerable gap in the representation of women in the top leadership positions within their organizations. This trend is especially prevalent in public accounting firms. Drilling down to the root cause of gender inequality in firm management reveals several key obstacles that women face including generational gender biases, inflexible work schedules, insufficient career development training, and limited visibility of other female leaders. The negative implications of uneven gender distribution in upper management leave a potential for firms to miss opportunities for diverse perspectives on innovations, solutions, and advancement in the industry. Furthermore, firms make tremendous investments on extensive training of their professionals throughout the entire length of their careers, so high turnover rates cause a significant loss to each firm's investment in their human capital. So, public accounting firms have made considerable investments to develop resources and programs in order to combat the issues that create gender inequality and uneven turnover. The thesis begins by reviewing the Ann Hopkins v. Price Waterhouse trail, which was a pivotal point in changing how public accounting firms treat and prevent sex discrimination within their organizations. The rest of the thesis analyzes the correlation between the barriers that are most frequently linked to hindering women's success in public accounting and the programs that firms have installed to address those barriers. It also addresses qualitative accounts from female CPAs on the actual effectiveness of their firm's programs on the longevity of their careers in public accounting, as well as perspectives from current Accountancy students on the relevancy of diversity and inclusion programs.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Creating an Accounting Software Program: Small Business Focus

Description

This software can process transactions for small businesses and store those transactions for reporting purposes. The specific build is tailor made for a small business run by the author and their partners. The software is a customized, in house solution

This software can process transactions for small businesses and store those transactions for reporting purposes. The specific build is tailor made for a small business run by the author and their partners. The software is a customized, in house solution for maintaining accurate accounting information. It uses C# code and windows forms to create a unique GUI to both enter and retrieve data. The code for each form is attached at the end of the user manual.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Scandal: An Ethics Game on the Importance of Accurate GAAP and FASB Reporting for Public Corporations

Description

Financial statements are one of the most important, if not the most important, documents for investors. These statements are prepared quarterly and yearly by the company accounting department, and are then audited in detail by a large external accounting firm.

Financial statements are one of the most important, if not the most important, documents for investors. These statements are prepared quarterly and yearly by the company accounting department, and are then audited in detail by a large external accounting firm. Investors use these documents to determine the value of the company, and trust that the company was truthful in its statements, and the auditing firm correctly audited the company's financial statements for any mistakes in their books and balances. Mistakes on a company's financial statements can be costly. However, financial fraud on the statements can be outright disastrous. Penalties for accounting fraud can include individual lifetime prison sentences, as well as company fines for billions of dollars. As students in the accounting major, it is our responsibility to ensure that financial statements are accurate and truthful to protect ourselves, other stakeholders, and the companies we work for. This ethics game takes the stories of Enron, WorldCom, and Lehman Brothers and uses them to help students identify financial fraud and how it can be prevented, as well as the consequences behind unethical decisions in financial reporting. The Enron scandal involved CEO Kenneth Lay and his predecessor Jeffery Skilling hiding losses in their financial statements with the help of their auditing firm, Arthur Andersen. Enron collapsed in 2002, and Lay was sentenced to 45 years in prison with his conspirator Skilling sentenced to 24 years in prison. In the WorldCom scandal, CEO Bernard "Bernie" Ebbers booked line costs as capital expenses (overstating WorldCom's assets), and created fraudulent accounts to inflate revenue and WorldCom's profit. Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison and lost his title as WorldCom's Chief Executive Officer. Lehman Brothers took advantage of a loophole in accounting procedure Repo 105, that let the firm hide $50 billion in profits. No one at Lehman Brothers was sentenced to jail since the transaction was technically considered legal, but Lehman was the largest investment bank to fail and the only large financial institution that was not bailed out by the U.S. government.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Company X Supplier Financial Health Model

Description

Company X is one of the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors. The company relies on various suppliers in the U.S. and around the globe for its manufacturing process. The financial health of these suppliers is vital to the continuation of

Company X is one of the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors. The company relies on various suppliers in the U.S. and around the globe for its manufacturing process. The financial health of these suppliers is vital to the continuation of Company X's business without any material interruption. Therefore, it is in Company X's interest to monitor its supplier's financial performance. Company X has a supplier financial health model currently in use. Having been developed prior to watershed events like the Great Recession, the current model may not reflect the significant changes in the economic environment due to these events. Company X wants to know if there is a more accurate model for evaluating supplier health that better indicates business risk. The scope of this project will be limited to a sample of 24 suppliers representative of Company X's supplier base that are public companies. While Company X's suppliers consist of both private and public companies, the used of exclusively public companies ensures that we will have sufficient and appropriate data for the necessary analysis. The goal of this project is to discover if there is a more accurate model for evaluating the financial health of publicly traded suppliers that better indicates business risk. Analyzing this problem will require a comprehensive understanding of various financial health models available and their components. The team will study best practice and academia. This comprehension will allow us to customize a model by incorporating metrics that allows greater accuracy in evaluating supplier financial health in accordance with Company X's values.

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Date Created
2016-05

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A Study on Occupational Fraud within Small Businesses

Description

The main goal of this study was to understand the awareness of small business owners regarding occupational fraud, meaning fraud committed from within an organization. A survey/questionnaire was used to gather insight into the knowledge and perceptions of small business

The main goal of this study was to understand the awareness of small business owners regarding occupational fraud, meaning fraud committed from within an organization. A survey/questionnaire was used to gather insight into the knowledge and perceptions of small business owners, while also obtaining information about the history of fraud and the internal controls within their business. Twenty-four owners of businesses with less than 100 employees participated in the study. The results suggest that small business owners overestimate their knowledge regarding internal controls and occupational fraud, while also underestimating the risk of fraud within their own business. In fact, 92% of participants were not at all familiar with the popular Internal Control \u2014 Integrated Framework published by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. The results also show that small business owners tend to overestimate the protection provided by their currently implemented controls in regard to their risk of fraud. Overall, through continued knowledge of internal controls and occupational fraud, business owners can better protect their businesses from the risk of occupational fraud by increasing their awareness of fraud.

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Date Created
2014-05

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How Should Goodwill Be Evaluated?

Description

This research study aims to find out the way how goodwill should be evaluated. This paper is about accounting for goodwill which will provide general information about goodwill value, especially of public companies. Additionally, I will discuss sources of goodwill,

This research study aims to find out the way how goodwill should be evaluated. This paper is about accounting for goodwill which will provide general information about goodwill value, especially of public companies. Additionally, I will discuss sources of goodwill, the importance of goodwill, why it is important to evaluate goodwill correctly, and what methods have been applied to evaluate goodwill. This thesis will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of both methods of accounting for goodwill which are the impairment testing method and the amortization method. This study is done by researching studies, journal articles, reviews, books, and websites about accounting. Lastly, this study will provide a suggestion for how goodwill should be evaluated effectively.

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2021-05