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Expenditure Cycle

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Finance
Wordcount: 2511 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Learning Outcomes

Describe and discuss the business activities that related to data processing operations that performed in the expenditure cycle and identify the information needed to make those decisions.

Spot and dealing with the major threats and estimate the adequacy of various control procedures in the expenditure cycle.

Understand and familiar with a data model (REA diagram) of the expenditure cycle.


What Should You Know!! The Expenditure Cycle

The expenditure cycle involves interactions with your suppliers.

You buy goods or services and pay cash.

The primary objective of the expenditure cycle is to minimize the total cost of acquiring and maintaining inventory, supplies, and services.

Also to ensure that all goods and services are ordered as needed, receive and verify that they are in good condition as were ordered.

Accounting for expenditures is an answer for all questions related to activity in any organization. Accounting entities have increased requirements due to budgetary reporting needs and the variety of different fund types related to the expenditure cycle. The recording of expenditure related transactions must be carefully monitored and controlled to meet these requirements.

Objectives of the Expenditure Cycle

The primary objective of the expenditure cycle is to minimize the total cost of acquiring and maintaining inventory, supplies, and services.

Other objectives related to expenditure cycle:

To ensure that all goods and services are ordered as needed

To receive all ordered goods and verify that they are in good condition

To safeguard goods until needed

To ensure that invoices pertaining to goods and services are valid and correct

To record and classify the expenditures promptly and accurately

To post obligations and cash disbursements to proper suppliers’ accounts in the accounts payable ledger

To ensure that all cash disbursements are related to authorized expenditures

To record and classify cash disbursements promptly and accurately


Figure 3.1: Context Diagram of the Expenditure Cycle


Figure 3.2: Level of Expenditure Cycle

Basic Activities for Expenditure Cycle

There are three basic activities performed in the expenditure cycle are:

1. Ordering goods, supplies, and services the Key decisions in this process involve identifying what, when, and how much to purchase from whom to purchase. Weaknesses in inventory control can create significant problems on inaccurate records cause shortages and one of the key factors affecting this process is the inventory control method to be used. We will consider three alternate approaches to inventory control:

Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)-traditional approach to managing inventory just in Time Inventory (JIT)*-seeks to reduce inventory levels by improving the accuracy of forecasting techniques Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)*-to minimize or eliminate inventory by purchasing or producing only in response to actual sales

The order processing typically begins with a purchase request followed by the generation of a purchase order for inventory control system. The demanding to purchase goods or supplies is triggered by the inventory control function or an employee noticing a shortage. For advanced inventory control systems, initiate purchase were automatically requests when quantity falls below the reorder point. The need to purchase goods typically results in the creation of a purchase requisition. The purchase requisition is a paper document or electronic form that identifies:

Who is requesting the goods

Where they should be delivered

When they’re needed

Item numbers, descriptions, quantities, and prices

Possibly a suggested supplier

Department number and account number to be charged

The purchase requisition is received by a purchasing buyer (Agent) in the purchasing department that typically performs the purchasing activity and the detail on the suppliers and the items purchased can be pulled from the supplier and inventory master files. A crucial decision is the selection of supplier and basic considerations are price, quality and dependability. Based on this three criteria’s, the supplier has should selected and identify a product so its can become part of the product inventory master file so the supplier does not have to be carried out and repeated every time for every purchasing for products that are seldom ordered. It’s also important to track and periodically evaluate supplier performance including data on purchase prices, rework and scrap costs and supplier delivery performance to make sure the process it’s done on time.

Purchase Order

A purchase order is a document or electronic form that formally requests a supplier to sell and deliver specified products at specified prices. The PO is both a contract and a promise to pay. It includes:

Names of supplier and purchasing agent

Order and requested delivery dates

Delivery location

Shipping method

Details of the items ordered

Multiple purchase orders may be completed for one purchase requisition if multiple vendors will fill the request. The ordered quantity may also differ from the requested quantity to take advantage of quantity discounts.

Blanket Order

A blanket order is a commitment to buy specified items at specified prices from a particular supplier for a set time period.

Reduces buyer’s uncertainty about reliable material sources

Helps supplier plan capacity and operations

Information Technology on ordering

In AIS, Information technology also can help and improve for efficiency and effectiveness of purchasing function based on time and cost using:

Electronic Data Interchange(EDI) to transmit purchase orders

vendor-managed inventory systems

reverse auctions

pre-award audits

procurement cards for small purchases

2. Receiving and storing these items

The receiving department is responsible to accepts deliveries from vendor or suppliers and reports it to warehouse manager that who reports to Vice President (VP) of Manufacturing. Inventory stores department typically stores the goods and also reports to warehouse manager.

The receipt of goods must be communicated to the inventory control function to update inventory records. The two major responsibilities of the receiving department are deciding whether to accept delivery and verifying the quantity and quality of delivered goods.The first decision is based on whether there is a valid purchase order is accepting an unordered goods wastes time, handling and storage. Verifying the quantity of delivered goods is really important so the company only pays for goods received and inventory records are updated accurately

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Companies must an effectively and clearly communicate with their staff especially receiving clerk so that all deliveries counting accurately. The receiving clerk need to sign receiving report, record the quantity received and also carefully examine each delivery for signs of obvious damage before routing the inventory to the warehouse. The receiving report is the primary document used in this process:

It documents the date goods received, shipper, supplier, and Purchase Order (PO) number

Shows item number, description, unit of measure, and quantity for each item

Provides space for signature and comments by the person who received and inspected

Receipt of services is typically documented by supervisory approval of the supplier’s invoice. When goods arrive; a receiving clerk compares the PO number on the packing slip with the open PO file to verify the goods were ordered.

Then counts the goods

Examines for damage before routing to warehouse or factory

Three possible exceptions in this process:

The quantity of goods is different from the amount ordered

The goods are damaged

The goods are of inferior quality

If one of these exceptions occurs, the purchasing agent resolves the situation with the supplier and typically allows adjustment to the invoice for quantity discrepancies. If goods are damaged or inferior, a debit memo is prepared after the supplier agrees to accept a return or grant a discount.

One copy goes to supplier, who returns a credit memo in acknowledgment and other copy to accounts payable to adjust the account payable and other one go to shipping to be returned to supplier with the actual goods.

IT can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the receiving activity:



EDI and satellite technology


3. Paying for these items

There are two basic sub-processes involved in the payment process:

Approval of vendor invoices-by the accounts payable department, which reports to the controller. The legal obligation to pay arises when goods are received and the basic approach for processing vendor invoices are non-voucher system and voucher system

Actual payment of the invoices-Payment of the invoices is done by the cashier, who reports to the treasurer.The cashier receives a voucher package, which consists of the vendor invoice and supporting documentation, such as purchase order and receiving report.

Internal Control for Expenditure Cycle

Before we move on to discuss internal controls in the expenditure cycle, let’s do a brief review of the organization chart, including:

Who does what in the expenditure cycle

To whom they typically report

Purchasing: selects suitable suppliers and issues purchase orders.

Receiving: decides whether to accept deliveries and counts and inspects deliveries.

Inventory Stores: stores goods that have been delivered and accepted.

Account Payable: approves invoices for payment

Cashier: Issues payment to vendors.

Figure 3.3: Partial organization chart for units involved in expenditure cycle

In the expenditure cycle, Accounting Information System (AIS) should provide internal and external controls to ensure that the following objectives are met:

All transactions are properly authorized

All recorded transactions are valid

All valid and authorized transactions are recorded

All transactions are recorded accurately

Assets are safeguarded from loss or theft

Business activities are performed efficiently and effectively

The company is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations

All disclosures are full and fair

Threat and Control

There are several actions a company can take with respect to any cycle to reduce threats of errors or irregularities. These include:

Using simple, easy to complete documents with clear instructions

Using appropriate application controls, such as validity checks and field checks

Providing space on forms to record who completed and who reviewed the form

Pre-numbering documents to encourages recording of valid and only valid transactions.

Restricting access to blank documents (reduces risk of unauthorized transaction).

The threats that may arise in the three major steps of the expenditure cycle, as well as general threats, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) related threats, and threats related to purchases of services. Before we discuss specific threats, it may be helpful to have some background on a form of occupational fraud and abuse which is broadly referred to as corruption. Corruption cases often involve arrangements between a company’s purchasing agent and a sales representative for one of the company’s vendors. The vendor’s representative may try to induce the purchasing agent to buy goods that are over-priced, inferior quality. Aren’t even needed and also aren’t even delivered. In exchange, the vendor’s rep typically offers the purchasing agent something of value. That “something” might be money, payment of a debt, a job offer, an expensive vacation, or anything the purchasing agent might value.

According to the Fraud Examiner’s Manual published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, these schemes usually take four forms:


Conflict of interest

Economic extortion

Illegal gratuities

Information Needs for Expenditure Cycle:

Information is needed for the following operational tasks in the expenditure cycle, including

Deciding when and how much inventory to order

Deciding on appropriate suppliers

Determining if vendor invoices are accurate

Deciding whether to take purchase discounts

Determining whether adequate cash is available to meet current obligations

Information is also needed for the following strategic decisions based on setting prices for products/services, establishing policies on returns and warranties, deciding on credit terms, determining short-term borrowing needs and planning new marketing campaigns. The AIS needs to provide information to evaluate purchasing efficiency and effectiveness, supplier performance, time taken to move goods from receiving to production and percent of purchase discounts taken.

Both financial and operating information are needed to manage and evaluate these activities. Both external and internal information are needed when the AIS integrate information from the various cycles, sources, and types, the reports that can be generated are unlimited. They include reports on:

Supplier performance

Outstanding invoices

Performance of expenditure cycle employees

Number of POs processed by purchasing agent

Number of invoices processed by A/P clerk

Number of deliveries handled by receiving clerk

Number of inventory moves by warehouse worker

Inventory turnover

Classification of inventory based on contribution to profitability

We also know that an accountant should continually refine and improve these performance reports


In this subtopic, we really learned about the basic business activities and data processing operations that are performed in the expenditure cycle on:

Ordering goods, supplies, and services

Receiving and storing them

Approving invoices and paying for them

We also learned how IT can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these processes and learned about decisions that need to be made in the expenditure cycle and what information is required to make these decisions. This subtopic also discuss about the major threats that present themselves in the expenditure cycle and the controls that can mitigate those threats


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