Segregation of duties is an important concept in internal control. However, this is often a challenge for smaller businesses because they do not have sufficient staff. Normally, the segregation of duties deficiencies identified below results in either a significant deficiency or a material weakness in internal control. For each segregation of duties deficiency identified below as (1) – (6), do the following three tasks:
a. Indicate the risk to financial reporting that is associated with the inadequacy of the segregation of duties.
b. Identify other controls that might mitigate the segregation of duties risks.
c. Identify possible tests of controls for the mitigating controls selected in b. above.
The inadequate segregation of duty situations to be considered are as follows:
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1. The same individual handles cash receipts, the bank reconciliation, and customer complaints.
2. The same person prepares billings to customers and also collects cash receipts and applies them to customer accounts.
3. The person who prepares billings to customers does not handle cash, but does the monthly bank reconciliation, which, in turn, is reviewed by the controller.
4. The controller is responsible for making all accounting estimates and adjusting journal entries. The company does not have a CFO and has two clerks who report to the controller.
5. A start-up company has very few transactions, less than $1 million in revenue per year, and has only one accounting person. The company’s transactions are not complex.
6. The company has one computer person who is responsible for running packaged software. The individual has access to the computer to update software and can also access records.
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