Finance and Tax Process Review - Improving the Finance & Tax Functions
Project Name: High level accounting and tax process review
Client:A leading distributor of FMCG products in the South Eastern part of Nigeria
Project Commencement Date: December 10, 2016
Project Completion Date: March 1, 2017
Project url: www.vi-m.com
The objective of the exercise was to review, highlight existing risks in the policies, processes and procedures of the accounting and tax functions of the company, and recommend remedial actions.
A high-level review of current tax and accounting practices, policies, and procedures to highlight existing risks and recommend remedial actions. We agreed that a review of the accounting and tax processes through 2015 and random months in 2016 would suffice in providing the required review evidence. We were also required to review the various branch/ locations operations and test for understanding and implementation of any accounting processes.
The major challenges we encountered, (and as also partly expressed by the management of the Company, leading to our engagement for this work) were:
- The company’s operations were large, but lacked the support of a strong/ competent finance function.
- The accounting staff not very competent in the field of accounting and other financial issues
- Inconsistent and muddled up records
- Lack of standard accounting policy/ procedure documents
- Non or partially working accounting/ ERP software – half automated processes, half manual processes
- Incoherence and lack of unified accounting processes among branches
- Grossly incomplete tax records
- Years of unreconciled suspense accounts
- Several versions of financial statements to cater for different stakeholders
- Weak controls, processes and roles not clearly defined and people working based on what they thought made sense.
Our execution strategies and approach were as follows:
- Walk through test on all tax and accounting processes
- Interview of key personnel/ administration of questionnaire
- Review of overall company structure
- Review of existing accounting policy manuals for completeness or gaps (no tax policy manual existed)
- Reviews of relevant financial statements, trial balances and extended trial balances
- High level reviews of financial trends, forecasts, fixed assets, treasury management, incomes and expenses
- Walk through of the warehouse and inventory processes (order, re-order, good received note, daily stock counts, purchase orders/ delivery notes reconciliations, bin-card records, system updates, returns and write-offs, stock movements in-between stores and warehouses) to identify gaps and weaknesses.
- Reviews of the ERP software functionalities, set-up, ease of use, reporting capabilities, outputs, level of staff use, user roles, controls, etc.
- Reviews of built in controls, management delegation and separation of duties
- Reviews of cash flows and working capital cycle
- Review of trends/ changes in share capital and reserves
- Review of 2015 financial statements for compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
- Reviews of tax audit reports (from both state and federal tax authorities)
- Reviews of corporation tax
- Reviews of employee taxes and handling of payroll/ salary payments
- Reviews of Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT)
- Reviews of 2015 total taxes paid versus corresponding 2015 financial statement indices
- Reviews of random monthly samples of covered taxes
- Report of gaps identified and recommended remedial actions
- Presentation of draft reports to management to incorporate their views/ responsible party responses
- Delivery of final reports
Our Consultant Vi-M Professional Solutions were able to articulate and adequately presented their findings. They delivered their report within agreed deadline and did engage with top management every step of the engagement. Vi-M’s presentations, both at the commencement of the engagement and on delivery were very professional. We also learnt a lot from the reports issued by Vi-M.
Client name (withheld), Chief Finance Officer
A leading distributor of FCMG goods in the South Eastern part of Nigeria