The Comprehensive Assurance and Systems Tool (CAST) provides an integrated learning opportunity that encompasses financial statement assurance and accounting information systems. CAST uniquely exposes students to these issues at The Winery at Chateau Americana, a hypothetical company that is based on an actual domestic winery. Unlike traditional projects and assignments that may offer little or no context, students develop a rich knowledge and understanding of Chateau Americana and its industry as they provide assurance on the company's financial statements and address a variety of challenging accounting information systems issues.
CAST is comprised of three self-contained, but complementary modules:
- The Manual AIS module requires students to complete real-world business documents, journalize and post a variety of transactions, and prepare a yearend worksheet. This module may be completed before or during the completion of either the Accounting Information Systems module or the Assurance module. However, students are not required to complete this module before the other modules.
- The Accounting Information Systems module is comprised of three components: spreadsheets, general ledger software, and databases. Although self-contained, this module's value is greatest when combined with the Manual AIS module.
- The Assurance module provides students hands-on experience with fundamental elements of financial statement assurance. This module is comprised of components related to the client acceptance decision, understanding the business environment, understanding and testing internal controls, assessing risks and materiality, conducting substantive tests, evaluating attorney's letters, performing analytical review procedures, and determining the appropriate audit opinion. These components build upon one another and should be completed in the order in which they are presented.
CAST can be implemented in either an undergraduate or graduate setting and is ideally suited for simultaneous integration across assurance and information systems courses. In addition, each of the modules can be completed either as an in-class or an out-of-class assignment. CAST affords students the opportunity to develop and strengthen their analytical thinking, written and oral communication, problem solving, and team building skills.
We believe your students will benefit from using CAST and we encourage you to contact us with questions or suggestions about how we can improve the materials.