CONTRIBUTED BY: Ali Asghar
This article doesn’t literally represent concepts that may come from any book rather they are my opinion and should be treated as knowledge from the writer’s point of view.
When I was a young professional trying to figure my way in the corporate world trying to learn about how the business operational cycles work, I wanted to find out certain concepts about risk and audit which would enhance my practical knowledge while all the sources I could read from offered me bookish knowledge rather than the practical steps I should follow to get the job done.
So, in this article, I would like to explain how practically you can perform a walkthrough in your organization in such a way that completeness is ensured and one can report to his/her supervisor with confidence.
Walkthrough generally means ‘to follow a transaction from the point of origin to when it finally lands in the financial statement’, this is a very good concept and this is actually how it is done as well. However, for a newbie this statement is vague and if someone wants to be a good audit/risk specialist then he/she must learn to be as specific in their tasks as possible. So even before learning about ‘walkthrough’, one must know how to be specific in their approaches.
Throughout my career I learned a lot of things but unfortunately learned about being ‘specific’ after almost 6 years of my career but after I grasped this concept everything around me changed and became easy ‘personally and professionally both’ as I was able to think clearly and develop my plans and strategy in a better way and in less than a year of performing with having this concept in my mind I got promoted where I worked and then eventually got an offer from another place with a jump of almost twice my package. So, the world changed around me, even now when I am writing this article there are rumors at my new workplace that this guy has what it takes to go to the next level and I’ll probably be promoted here very soon as well and I have a lot of skills, luck and hard work to thank for that but all of those things were already there even before, what changed was that I became specific in my approaches. The way it works is that you don’t leave your supervisor’s desk and/or your client and/or your customer and/or the operation floor till you have absolute clarity at what the person in front of you is explaining and what exactly what you have to deliver. This may piss some people off and may take a little bit of extra time in the start as well but once you become as specific in your task as you can be then it will be easier for you to deliver as per expectations. What most professionals suffer from is that they never get to understand the process or their boss’s requirements and get scared to ask about details, in the end, deliver something different than what was expected which ultimately hurt their reputation and career. So, as my first advice, I would request you to follow this simple approach and get absolutely clear of what is demanded of you and be as specific as you can be in your approaches and you’ll see how things around you start to change. People will start to notice your work and will consider that you are performing better even when the level of effort has not changed.
Secondly, as soon as you get out of a meeting, document it down as soon as possible because you might have great retention but after a while, you will not be able to remember the specifics as you did during the meeting so first understand things specifically and then document them.
Coming back to where we started, the operational walk-through process, the good walkthrough is really simple if you follow the below-mentioned approach. Firstly, you sit with the person responsible for the operations or has the knowledge about the operations then you ‘specifically’ understand what he is explaining, through this you will learn what is happening on the ground level. After this, you ask about the system reports involved in the process with every step. Let’s apply the above-explained approach to a practical example:
Let’s talk about the payment cycle of any random company; If you try to understand this process you will visit the purchase officer about the cycle, he will start to tell you that:
Firstly, a purchase requisition is made (PR) – Request from the user department to purchases item
Then quotations (QUOTATION) – Vendor’s doc showing what he will deliver and in what amount
Then comparative statements (CS) – Comparison between multiple quotations
Then purchase order is requested from the decided vendor (PO) – Ordering purchase to the vendor
Once goods/services are received then GRN is made (GRN)
Then comes the invoice then the payment is made. (INVOICE)
Now after this meeting between you and the purchase officer you have an idea of what the process is. Now, you need to do 2 more things to have a complete grip over this process, ask the person giving you this knowledge that what are the PHYSICAL DOCUMENTS involved in this process so in this process you’ll get documents for PR, Quotations, CS, PO, and Invoice so once you see those documents first hand then you’ll get an away better grip of the process cycle.
Once you know this, you now need to understand that we live in the 21st century therefore everything that you do in the organization will have a reflection in the ERP as well so we have to understand it as well to complete our understanding, as for example, the GRN in the above-mentioned process may not have any physical document rather can be seen in the system.
Once you have a grip on all of these 3 things i.e., the process at hand, the physical documents involved, and the ERP implication of the same; then my friend, you will not find anyone having a better grip on any processing cycle as much as you.
Just to close the process, ask yourself that from which another process cycle is this process cycle linked and you will find that the whole business is connected to each other cycle to cycle but that is a topic for another article.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this.
Have a nice day, ciao.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
M&P Express Logistics
Ali belongs to the ACCA fraternity possessing more than 7 years of experience in the field of Risk Management, Compliance, Audit, and Accounting & Finance has worked with market leaders such as Siemens Pakistan, Lucky Cement Limited, and M&P Express Logistics (Pvt) Ltd. Currently, Ali is working as Manager Compliance (Risk Management & Internal Controls) while teaching ACCA at TSB Education.
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