The course project flows fromWeek 1throughWeek 5.The course project assignments are based on the development of a policies and procedures manual for a hypothetical or actual organization.
Use the same hypothetical organization and the policies and procedures manual you worked on in weeks 1 and 2.
As a course project task for this week, provide the purpose, scope, responsibilities, definitions, activities and processes, references, and forms for the following policies and procedures regarding the following:
- Summarize the major provisions and Section 404 compliance issues and approaches of SOX.
- Describe the potential need and procedure for expert witness affiliation and utilization.
- Analyze the procedures for preparation of and participation in forensic computer investigations.
- Discuss the procedures for and policies on the use of law enforcement networks and databases.
- Present your paper as a 5- to 7-page report in a Microsoft Word document using APA style.
Memorandum To: Dr. Dana Leland From: Tieshia Garner Date: July 18, 2023 Subject: Need for Policies and Procedures Manual Dear Dr. Dana Leland, I am writing to talk about how critical it is for our company to create a thorough policies and procedures document. A policies and procedures manual are an essential tool for directing our staff and fostering uniformity, effectiveness, and compliance throughout our business operations. It provides a framework for staff to follow and reduces the likelihood of mistakes, fraud, and non-compliance by outlining the policies, procedures, and procedures that direct our organization's operations. Having a clearly defined set of rules and procedures is crucial in our dynamic and changing company world for a number of reasons: 1. Standardization: By establishing consistent practices, a policies and procedures manual is essential to the success of any organization. It acts as a thorough manual that details the appropriate procedures and strategies for conducting various activities. The manual makes sure that all workers follow the same standards and processes by giving clear instructions and guidance. This standardization encourages efficiency within the company by reducing uncertainty and the possibility of mistakes or misunderstandings. Additionally, maintaining standard practices improves efficiency by streamlining procedures and facilitating teamwork among staff in pursuit of common objectives. In the end, a comprehensive manual of policies and procedures is a useful tool for fostering an organization's culture of consistency, clarity, and productivity. 2. Compliance: For our organization to run morally and legally, it is essential that our policies and processes take into account pertinent legal and regulatory requirements. By detailing these requirements in detail in our internal policies, we provide a structure that enables us to abide by the limitations imposed by the law. With this initiative-taking approach, we are protected from potential fines, legal repercussions, and reputational harm that could result from non-compliance. Additionally, incorporating legal and regulatory standards into our procedures shows our dedication to ethical behaviors and responsible business practices. It reassures all parties involved in our operations—including clients, staff members, and partners—that we place a high priority on compliance, openness, and honesty. 3. Risk Management: For our organization, policies and procedures are crucial tools for risk mitigation. They offer a methodical approach to locating and addressing possible risks and weaknesses that could have an effect on our business operations. We can successfully lower the possibility of errors, fraud, and other operational risks by establishing suitable controls and checks within our operations. Plans for business continuity and disaster recovery that describe how to lessen the effects of unforeseen occurrences like natural disasters or cyberattacks can also be included in the manual. We increase our organization's resilience, reduce disruptions, and safeguard our assets, reputation, and stakeholders' interests by anticipating risks and putting contingency measures in place. 4. Training and Development: The organization's policies and procedures manual are a crucial resource for staff growth and training. With a shorter learning curve and the ability to contribute meaningfully right away, it helps new hires quickly comprehend the organization's expectations, policies, and operating procedures. The manual promotes continuing training activities by offering a thorough framework, making sure that staff members are aware of the most recent best practices and any modifications to policies or procedures. This makes sure that the personnel are always up to date and have the skills and information needed to perform their duties successfully. In the end, the manual encourages ongoing learning and development, building an improvement-oriented culture within the company. 5. Consistency and Accountability: In order to establish responsibility within an organization and to encourage consistency in decision-making, well defined policies and processes are essential. By laying out clear expectations, they make sure that workers are aware of their obligations and responsibilities clearly, enabling them to make decisions that are in keeping with organizational goals. This uniformity in decision-making not only simplifies processes but also improves fairness and transparency. The manual also creates a framework for assessing employee performance by offering a standard against which actions can be measured. It enables management to spot any deviations from set standards and deal with them, ensuring that workers are held responsible for their deeds. It also encourages adherence to organizational standards and a culture of accountability. After emphasizing the value of a policies and procedures manual, let's examine our organization's current rules and procedures in more detail. Even though there is not a written manual in existence, the following important guidelines are already being followed: 1. Human Resources Policies: These address topics like hiring, orientation, performance management, employee benefits, and disciplinary procedures. 2. Financial Policies: These contain regulations for accounts payable/receivable operations, financial reporting, spending management, and budgeting. 3. IT and Data Security Policies: These set forth procedures for network access, software use, incident response, and data privacy to safeguard cybersecurity. 4. Health and Safety Policies: These provide standards for upholding a secure and healthy working environment, addressing concerns including accident avoidance, emergency readiness, and employee well-being. 5. Quality Assurance Policies: These emphasize maintaining uniform quality standards across the entire organization and cover customer satisfaction, product/service quality, and process improvement. Despite the fact that these policies and procedures already exist, it is essential to assemble them into a thorough manual that all employees can simply access. This handbook will function as a single point of reference for our staff, providing them with precise directions for performing their duties efficiently and in accordance with the organization's standards. The manual should also include details on our accounting information systems, the fundamentals of internal and external auditing, and the risks and controls related to each. This will guarantee that our financial processes are properly documented, auditable, and consistent with best practices in the sector. Additionally, it will make it easier to comply with local, regional, national, and international financial requirements while participating in activities outside of our core business operations. We can build a strong basis for the expansion, resiliency, and success of our organization by investing in a policies and procedures handbook. It will improve operational effectiveness, reduce risks, encourage compliance, and advance an organized and responsible workplace culture. I suggest dedicating the required funds and knowledge to creating this crucial guidebook, and I am willing to help. We appreciate your thought on this suggestion. If you need any more details or if you have any specific requests for the policies and procedures manual's development, kindly let me know. Sincerely, Tieshia Garner Memorandum To: Dr. Dana Leland From: Tieshia Garner Date: July 25, 2023 Subject: Detailed analysis of purpose, scope, responsibilities, and forms for policy manual Dear Dr. Dana Leland, I am writing to discuss regarding the purpose, responsibilities, and forms to be included in policy manual for the organization because the policy manual is very important from overall governance perspective and for implementation of effective internal control systems. The detailed analysis for policy manual can be understood from below points: · Summary about the organization and its information system: Our organization is providing financial services and other allied services and the organization is required to have strong information system in place. The financial service sector is one of the most influential sectors of a country and financial services includes banking services, insurance and investing etc. and our organization is also providing various other allied services along with three core services. The organization is having strong presence in the country and having more than two million customer bases. The information system is an integrated set of components which is used for collection of data, storing of information, processing of data in digital form and keep an records of customers and their financial transactions. Being a financial service organization, it is necessary that the organization should have strong security mechanism and robust information system in place because the organization is having the records related to financial transactions and it is required to keep all customers data private, secure and confidential. Further, the policy manual is a key aspect for maintaining effectiveness and efficiency of internal controls over documentations, processing of transactions and will also define scope and procedures more clearly. · Defining scope and purpose of internal control principles: Internal controls are the policies, organizational structures and procedures which are used and implemented to provide assurance that the objective of areas of financial reporting, compliance with laws and regulations and operational efficiency can be achieved. Further, the purpose of internal control principles is to provide assurance to stakeholders regarding efficiency of operations and procedures so that there will be no fraud occurred and the information presented are reliable (True Tamplin, 2023). There are various components of internal controls which includes establishment of policies and procedures, designing of internal controls to ensure that the polices and procedures are followed properly and establishment of proper communication channels between personnel responsible for implementation of control etc. Further the other components of internal control principle include providing training on relevant procedures and policies and monitoring performance through regular audits and conducting risk assessments, and making appropriate adjustments etc. The management of an organization is responsible for managing and maintenance of internal control system and the management should have detailed defined scope and responsibilities towards effective implementation of internal controls. · Detailed analysis about auditing environment, tests and processes: Auditing environment is also had important role in policy document and the audit requirements and processes should be clearly defined in policy document. For example, the policy document should clearly state that it is mandatory for all employees to provide supporting documentation to audit team and each employee should ensure good audit score. Further, top management approach should be included in policy document so that every employee will consider audit as priority and the internal controls will also be effective. Further, the policy document should also clearly define testing methods to be used during audit procedures. There are 5 types of testing methods which can be used during audit of service industry and such methods include observations, inquiry, re-performance, examination or inspection and CAAT. Under inquiry method, the interview is conducted with all parties and a detailed questionnaire is asked and accordingly investigation is conducted. Under observation technique, all the procedures are observed by fraud detection team and accordingly investigation is performed. Further, under examination or inspection, the backups are running at regular intervals. The CAAT method is one of the most effective methods for fraud detection and special software are used under CAAT technique. · Fraud detection process: Fraud detection techniques play an important role in effectiveness of internal control system and the fraud detection techniques should also be defined in policy manual. The policy manual should have detailed guidelines for fraud detection and prevention procedures. The identification of fraud risk indicators is one of the key aspects in fraud investigation process and there should be effective plan in place to identify fraud indicators (Bernard Gallagher, 2022). Under fraud detection process, the research is performed for preliminary investigation and the fraud expert team should have all required information or skillsets to extract information from open public sources such as nature, background, activities involved etc. The ownership structure should also be identified and there should be mechanism to assess the effectiveness of internal controls at regular interval. Transaction analysis or forensic audit should also be performed at regular intervals and the entity should hire expertise or professionals having deep knowledge of forensic areas and the guideline should be clearly incorporated in policy manual regarding hiring of forensic expert. The below chart can also be incorporated in policy manual for fraud identification: Further, the six step approach can also be defined in process manual for fraud detection and investigation. The six-step approach include consultation, examination, identification, background, assets discovery and legal action and accordingly the document should be concluded. Thus, based on detailed discussion it can be concluded that policy manual should have detailed procedures to be followed for effective implementation of internal controls and the guidelines for fraud detection and investigation should also be clearly defined. Further, the audit environment and processes should also be clearly defined for effective implementation of internal controls and the policy document should also cover fraud and forensic accounting aspects. Further, the format should also be defined for organization to be followed for internal controls and the responsibilities of each stakeholder should be specifically called out in policy document. References Bernard Gallagher (2022). The Five Types of Testing Methods Used During Audit Procedures. Retrieved from https://www.ispartnersllc.com/blog/five-types-testing-methods-used-audits/ True Tamplin (2023). Internal Controls. Retrieved from https://www.financestrategists.com/accounting/accounting-concepts-and-principles/internal-controls/#:~:text=Internal%20controls%20are%20important%20because,prevent%20waste%2C%20abuse%2C%20mismanagement%20and