TESTING THE SALES SYSTEM
TESTING THE SALES SYSTEM
For many businesses, sales are made on credit and so objectives
for the sales cycle includes control debtors
These control objectives include:
a) Customers' orders
should be authorized, controlled and recorded in order to execute them
b) Goods shipped and work
completed should be controlled to ensure that invoices are issued and
revenue recorded for all sales.
c) Goods returned and
claims by customers (for example, in respect of damaged goods) should be
controlled in order to determine the liability for goods
returned and claims received. .
d) Invoices and credits
should be appropriately checked for accuracy and should be authorized before
being entered in the receivables' records.
e) Authorized customer
transactions, and only those transactions, should be accurately entered in the
f) There should be
procedures to ensure that sales invoices are subsequently paid by customers and
that doubtful amounts are identified in order to determine any
provisions or write offs required
Control Procedures over Sales and Debtors
There are a large number of controls that may be required in the
sales cycle due to the importance of this
area in any business and the possible opportunities that exist
for diverting sales and cash receipts away from
Typical control procedures at key stages of the sales cycle are:
3. Invoicing and credit notes
4. Returns inwards
6. Bad Debts
(i) Existing customers should be allocated a credit limit and it
should be ascertained whether this limit
is to be exceeded if the new order is accepted. If so the matter
should be referred to credit control.
(ii) Any new customer should be referred to the credit control
department before the order is accepted.
(iii) All orders received should be recorded on pre-numbered
sales order documents so that a check can
be made that all orders have been dealt with -a completeness
(iv) All orders should be authorized before any goods are
(v) The sales order document should be used to produce a
dispatch note for the goods outwards
department. No goods may be dispatched without a dispatch note.
(i) Dispatch notes should be pre-numbered and a register kept of
them to enable them to be matched
with relate to sales invoices and customer orders.
(ii) Dispatch notes should be authorized before goods leave the
(iii) Regular checks should be made to ensure that all
dispatches have been invoiced.
(d) Invoicing and credit notes
(i) Sales invoices should be authorized by a responsible
official and matched with the authorized order
and dispatch note.
(ii) All invoices and credit notes should be entered In daybook
records, the sales ledger, and sales
ledger control account. Batch totals should be maintained for
(iii) Sales invoices and credit notes should be checked for
prices. casts and calculations by a person
other than the one preparing the invoice.
(iv) All invoices and credit notes should be serially
pre-numbered and regular sequence checks should
be carried out.
(v) Credit notes should be authorized by someone unconnected
with dispatch or sales ledger functions.
(vi) Copies of cancelled invoices should be retained.
(vii) Any cancellation of an invoice should lead to a
cancellation of the related dispatch note.
(viii) Cancelled (and free of charge) invoices should be signed
by a responsible official.
(ix) Each invoice should distinguish between different types of
sales and, if relevant, different rates of
VAT or sales tax. Any coding of invoices should be periodically
(i) Any goods returned by the customer should be checked for
obvious damage and, when accepted. a
document should be raised.
(ii) All goods returned should be used to prepare appropriate
(i) A receivables ledger control account should be prepared
regularly and checked to individual sales
ledger balances by an Independent official.
(ii) Receivables ledger personnel should be independent of
dispatch and cash receipt functions.
(iii) Statements should be sent regularly to customers.
(iv) Formal procedures should exist for following up overdue
debts which should be highlighted either
by the preparation of an aged list of balances or by the
preparation of regular customer statements.
(v) Letters should be sent to customers for collection of
overdue debts. A policy should be in place for
the Institution of legal proceeds where appropriate.
g) Bad debts
(i) The authority to write off a bad debt should be in writing.
Appropriate adjustments should be
made to the sales ledger and the control account
(ii) The use of court action or the writing-off of a bad debt
should be authorized by an official
independent of the cash receipt function.
Tests of Control
Tests of control should be designed to check that the control
procedures are being applied and that
objectives are being achieved. Tests may be appropriate under
the following broad headings.
(a) Carry out sequence test checks on invoices, credit notes,
dispatch notes and orders. Ensure that all
items are included and that there are no omissions or
(b) Check the existence of evidence for authorization in respect
iii. acceptance of the order (the creditworthiness check)
iv. dispatch of goods
v. raising of the invoice or credit note
vi. pricing and discounts
vii. Write off debtors as bad debts.
Check both that the relevant signature exists and that the
control has been applied.
(c) Seek evidence of checking of the arithmetical accuracy of:
viii. invoices, including pricing, and VAT and sales tax
ix. credit notes,
This is often done by means of a 'grid stamp' containing several
signatures on the face of the document.
Ensure that the control has been applied by checking the
accuracy of such invoices and credit notes.
(d) Check dispatch notes and goods returned notes to ensure that
they are matched with invoices and
(e) Check that control account reconciliations have been
performed and reviewed.
In all cases, tests should be performed on a sample basis.