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Accounting Information Systems

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Running Head: ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEMS 1
Accounting Information Systems
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ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEMS 2
Organisations always aim at having effective and quality data entry controls to prevent
the adverse cost related to inaccuracies while gaining competitive advantage (Xu, 2009, p.1).
The consequences of having poor data entry controls range from regulatory fines, overpayments,
and tainted reputations English (1999, p.13). Such consequences might have serious long-term
dents on the revenue flow and sustainability of a business. Whether manually performed or
computer-executed data entry, controls are essential to all organizations as they improve the
quality of data (Firth, 1996, p.2). With all organizations, non-profit or otherwise, increasingly
dedicated towards reduction of financial and non-financial costs, these controls are a necessity
they cannot afford to ignore.
Westpac has a set of data entry controls that are essential in keeping check of its systems.
These data entry controls, manual and computerized, form an integral part of the organization’s
system. In managing its manual data entry, double entry has been used as a control mechanism.
These two independent individuals work to ensure that no error is overlooked thus enhancing
accuracy. Westpac is consistent with the terminologies it uses in its data entry forms. These
forms are pre-numbered to enhance consistency and reduce errors. These manual controls,
though inadequate, have proved vital in avoiding serious errors of commission.
The company has also put controls that ensures that its computer-execute data entry are
reliable. Most of their computer-entered data is done automatically thus limiting the margin for
human error. The other common feature with this set of data entry method is the error messages.
This offline and online data entry control is put in place to ensure that the person executing the
task is made aware of the error. Such transactions cannot be completed until corrected. Double
confirmation of actions before execution is the other control of the computer-executed data entry
tasks. This is effective since it gives the user a chance to confirm or edit an entry before it is put

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ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEMS 3
into the system. Transaction logs have also been put in place to reflect specific details of such
activities including the time, magnitude, and authorizing body.
Despite the existence of these controls, the company ended up being a victim of an error
of commission. This error meant that it had to incur a hefty loss. This emphasises the need to
change the current data control. While designing a data entry control, emphasis needs to be
placed on the integrity and availability of the data entry system (Romney and Steinbart, 2012,
p.17). A system is deemed reliable if it has the ability to deliver information in an accurate and
timely fashion. The source data should fulfil these conditions for them to be considered reliable.
As part of the team with the obligation of ensuring that the control system of Westpac
works, the focus will be on creating a structure that if error proof. One way of doing this involves
identifying the flaws in the current control structure. These flaws might be patched to ensure that
they never occur again. While this is one way of getting out of the current debacle, it fails to
offer a lasting solution. This is because the other errors that have not been observed might still
occur. This solution is, therefore, reactive and works in the short term while a lasting solution is
sought.
The best way to solve the problems that Westpac had involves a complete overhaul of
their data entry control. This will ensure that there are no gaps left thus guaranteeing accuracy
into the unforeseeable period. This process will start from identifying the areas in the business
where the data is entered (Romney and Steinbart, 2012, p.18-19). It also involves grouping the
different types of data that a business uses as its input. This ensures that all data that is entered
into the business system is subject to scrutiny and stringent control. After identifying the data
types and the data entry points, focus will be on addressing each set of data.

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