On a warm summer day in early July 2011, Ms. Smith of the executive team of X Company sat in her office preparing a request form for routine travel expense reimbursement. She attached documentation in support of the cost of the air travel portion of her planned trip, which she had booked recently and reserved using her personal credit card. The organization where Ms. Smith worked did not have a corporate travel account.
After signing the form, Ms. Smith walked to the office of the chief financial officer (CFO) to ask for his approval of the requested reimbursement. The CFO, who knew Ms. Smith well and had worked with her at a previous company, engaged in social conversation. He quickly glanced at the documents, not bothering to inspect them or review the total cost of the trip, since he trusted in Ms. Smith’s credibility. The CFO initialed the form and gave it back to Ms. Smith, who then went to see Alex, the Accounts Payable clerk with whom she had also worked at the prior company. She wanted Alex to immediately process her travel expense reimbursement request and approve a wire transfer of $6,250 into her personal bank account. Alex was only too happy to assist her with what he must have considered a routine task. He was busy with other tasks and did not take the opportunity to review the details connected with the travel expense reimbursement request. Alex immediately initiated the wire transfer, filed the documents into Ms. Smith’s folder for her trip, and then moved on to the rest of his busy day. Upon returning from her trip, Ms. Smith did not file a reconciling expense form with attached receipts of her trip.
Required: Discuss in detail at least three missing internal controls, the reasons why these controls are important, and a remedy in the case of X Company and Ms. Smith.
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