When integrating computer systems, reconciliation reports become all the more important.

Integrating Computer Systems and Segregation of Duties

Accountants have been taught the importance of "segregation of duties" and have been trained on this for years, but IT folks often overlook this import business control.  For example, the person who opens the mail at the front desk should not be the same person that pays the bills in a company.  If we allowed the person at the front desk to pay the bills, then that person could easily create a false, bad payable and throw the invoice out every time it came into the company. We also make sure that the mail is all opened at the front and not just passed on to the employee for whom the mail is meant for.  This is because we do not want any bills to arrive and get missed.  The idea of segregation of duties can also be carried over into the computer systems world and is of importance to IT folks.

An Example Integration:  CRM Sales Orders to Accounting Invoices and Receivables

An example of segregation of duties in the context of computer systems would be how the sales person generating an invoice should not also be the person entering the received monies from that invoice into the accounting system.  So, having a CRM system used by a sales person to record invoices and a separate accounting system where the accounts receivable clerk takes receipt of monies creates a great segregation to enforce a policy that looks to ensure no fraud happens within the company.

The Importance Of Reconciliation Reporting Between Systems

Reconciliation reports form a great way to ensure that systems that are in place with integrated records, but remain as separate systems for segregation of duties, remain correct.  It is also important to note at this point that reconciliation reports present hard cold facts to the person that reviews the reconciliation reports.  Reconciliation reports do not dictate what a person should do.  Let's look at our example from the previous section on sales people entering invoices and accounting clerks taking receipt of monies.  We can have a reconciliation report that identifies how many invoices were created from the CRM system and how many invoices were created from the accounting system.  We could also look at the sum total of invoices created in the CRM system and the sum total of invoices created in the accounting system.  The reconciliation report would also show, if there was a difference, the following two items: (1) invoices in the CRM system, but not in the accounting system; and (2) invoices in the accounting system, but not in the CRM system.  This will help to ensure that the accounting clerks are not creating invoices in the accounting system, which is the responsibility of the sales people.  It also ensures that the correct dollar figure for monies owed is dependent on the sales person and not the accounting person who takes receipt of those monies.

How do you reconcile between your integrated systems?  How are you segregating your duties to ensure no fraud occurs?  Are you using reconciliation reports as well?