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Question: Henrico Retail, Inc. is a first year

Henrico Retail, Inc. is a first year audit client. The audit partner obtained the following description of the sales system after recently meeting with client personnel at the corporate office.
Henrico’s sales system is IT-based with computerized cash register terminals on the floors of all of its stores. At the point of sale, Henrico’s sales clerks scan the bar code on the price tag of the product being sold to read the product number. If the quantity of a product being sold exceeds one, sales clerks can either enter the quantity being sold for that particular product code or scan the bar code for each individual item being purchased. At that point, the computerized cash register performs the following:
 Identifies correct unit price for that product number from the online price master file stored on the store server
 Notifies the clerk if product number is invalid
 Calculates total price of purchase (price × quantity)
 Extends totals, calculates sales taxes, and determines final transaction amount.
Before the sale can be completed, sales clerks must indicate whether this is a cash, debit, or credit sale. For credit sales, Henrico only accepts VISA or MasterCard credit cards. Customers swipe their credit card through a card reader directly linked to VISA and MasterCard to initiate the online credit card approval process. When the credit card agency’s electronic approval is transmitted back to the cash register system, the credit approval code is electronically recorded on the cash register hard drive before the charge slip is generated for customer signature. When credit is denied, customers must either pay by cash or the sales clerk voids the sale. The original signed copy of the credit charge slip is maintained in the cash drawer. Debit card transactions work virtually in the same manner as credit sales except that the online system seeks authorization from the customer's bank. For all types of sales, the cash register generates a customer paper-based receipt while a duplicate record of the transaction is stored on the cash register’s hard drive in an online file that is backed up hourly to the store’s computer server. This electronic transaction information documents on the register’s hard drive the product number, unit price, quantity sold, the extended transaction totals, and credit card agency or bank approval information.
Sales clerks have no access to the transaction electronic file. In addition, sales clerks can only read unit price information and have no access to change unit prices in the online price master file. Only the store manager’s staff has access to the price master file. Each week, the store manager’s staff approves price changes and new product listings to be added to the price list master files. And, only the store’s human resources manager is authorized to input changes to the employee master file of valid employee identification numbers.
Store clerks are allowed to operate any machine on the floor as long as the clerk has a valid employee identification number. If a cash register is not currently being used, all the sales clerk has to do is enter his or her employee identification number before scanning any product being sold. The system will not proceed without a valid employee identification number. Generally, operation of the cash register is self-explanatory although some problems have occurred previously. New sales clerks receive two hours of training on the operation of the cash register before serving customers on the sales floor. Henrico management believes “on the job experience” is most effective.
At the end of each day, sales clerks select the “register closing” option on the cash register. That process automatically updates both the transaction online file stored on the cash register’s hard drive and the backup file stored on the store’s server. The closing process generates a receipt printout at the register that summarizes the total amount of cash sales, debit and credit sales, sales returns, and any other miscellaneous transactions for the day. The sales clerks count the cash in the drawer and list the total cash count on a Daily Deposit Sheet (a preprinted blank form). In addition, sales clerks summarize total debit and credit sales on the Daily Deposit Sheet by listing total amounts from the debit and credit sales slips in the register. The sales clerks also record on the Daily Deposit Sheet the cash, debit, credit, and other transaction totals indicated on the cash register receipt generated by the register closing process. The sales clerks reconcile their cash, debit, and credit slip counts to these transaction totals and indicate any differences in amount. At that point, the sales clerks take the cash drawer, which includes debit and credit slips, to the store cashier who is located in the store cashier’s office. The store cashier verifies the Daily Deposit Sheet and initials the total cash and debit and credit sales columns listed on the Daily Deposit Sheet for each register closed indicating that the amounts in the drawer reconcile to the amounts on the Daily Deposit Sheet.
The cashier leaves $200 in each cash drawer to begin the following day. Cash drawers are stored overnight in the store’s vault. Each night, a local Brinks security service picks up the cash collected during the day for delivery to the overnight depository at the store’s local bank. The next day, the bank posts cash deposits and the debit and credit card transactions processed into Henrico's bank account.The store cashier can download confirmation of the deposit processed each day by logging into the bank's online customer account access webpage.
An independent person in accounting for each store verifies that the sum of the cash, debit transactions, and credit card slip totals on all Daily Deposit Sheets for the prior day reconcile to the confirmation received from the bank of the deposit processed. After the reconciliation is performed, the bank’s email confirmation is printed and attached to the Daily Deposit Sheets, which are scanned and filed together by date in both paper and electronic form.
Overnight, the store computer server processes all transactions downloaded from each cash register through the register closing process and summarizes that information in a Daily Sales Report, which is an electronic file stored on the store’s server. Each night, an electronic copy of the Daily Sales Report file from each store is transmitted automatically at midnight to the corporate office main server. The store server also automatically generates a paper copy of the Daily Sales Report for each store nightly. It summarizes total store sales, as well as subtotals of cash transactions, debit transactions, and credit sales, by store cash register. These reports are filed by date at each store.
Each night, the store computer server automatically updates perpetual inventory records, which are stored on the store’s computer server. Once the perpetual inventory records are updated, an electronic copy of the perpetual inventory record is transmitted to the corporate office main server. No paper reports of daily updates to the perpetual inventory record are generated by the computer.
At month end, the store computer server generates an Inventory Report from the perpetual inventory file. The Inventory Report provides inventory quantity information by product number. Also, the store computer server uses each day’s Daily Sales Report file to generate a Monthly Sales Report file for each store. This file contains daily sales totals for the store for each day of the month. This Monthly Sales Report information is electronically transmitted to the corporate office. Each store’s server generates a printout of the Monthly Sales Report at month end. The corporate office computer server uses this information to prepare and print a consolidated General Ledger, which summarizes the postings of monthly sales totals from each store to the consolidated sales account.
You are the audit senior assigned to the audit of Henrico Retail Inc. The audit partner recently asked you to assist in planning the audit of the sales system based on your review of the client-prepared sales system narrative. The partner has asked you to address the following issues:
[1] Describe the sales transaction audit trail from the point of sale to the general ledger posting to the consolidated sales accounts at the corporate office. Be sure to emphasize which aspects of the audit trail are in paper or electronic form.
[2] Describe the difference between a preventative control and a detective control and give an example of each that are present in the sales system at Henrico.
[3] Develop a proposed strategy for auditing the occurrence assertion for sales transactions. Describe whether there is a sufficient paper-based audit trail to audit that assertion without relying on IT audit specialists to test electronic only processes.
[4] What evidence source would you use to select a sample of sales transactions to test the occurrence of sales transactions at one store? Why would you use this source? What evidence would you examine for each transaction selected?
[5] Develop a proposed strategy for auditing the accuracy assertion for sales transactions. Describe whether there is a sufficient paper-based audit trail to audit that assertion without relying on IT audit specialists to test electronic only processes.
[6] Describe whether you can use the same sample of transactions selected to test the occurrence assertion to also test the accuracy assertion.
[7] How would you select a sample to test the completeness assertion for sales? Explain whether the sample used to test the occurrence assertion would be effective for testing the completeness assertion.
[8] How do risks related to manual controls differ from risks related to automated controls? Give an example of each from the sales system at Henrico.
[9] What portion, if any, of the accounting system will likely require the assistance of an IT systems auditor, who evaluates evidence existing only in electronic form?
[10] What control deficiencies can you identify in the existing sales system?


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