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DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN EXPERT SYSTEM FOR FINANCIAL PLANNING AND BUDGETING (A CASE STUDY OF INTERNATIONAL GLASS INDUSTRY LTD)

ABSTRACT

This research is on Design and implementation of an expert system for financial planning and budgeting (a case study of international glass industry LTD).

Financial planning has been an important part of corporate culture in many business organizations.  The success of any business organization largely depends on realizing an optional method of resource allocation and anticipatory decision making to effect the prosperous direction of the entire organization.

Several business firms and organizations have suffered a failure as a result of inadequate management and incapacitations in handling sensitive matters.  Probably, there are no readily available formal planning practices, no company’s basic direction and purpose in order to ensure long-term health and vitality of any organization.

This research therefore, aimed at developing an expert system for financial planning and budgeting model, which will help direct and position an organization for growth and survival.

The International Glass Industry (IGI) Plc has been adopted as a case study.  In the course of the development of this new system, the current system was analytically and critically studied or assessed and thus they identified strengths and weaknesses were highlighted and a new system was designed for the weakness.

The present system was analyzed using a standard procedure recognized worldwide for such purpose and this is called Structured System Analysis and Design Methodology (SSADM).  The Visual Basic Programming Language is used to code the program modules developed for the system using some computer aided design tools.  It is also pertinent to point out here that the topic is generic in the sense that it can be applied or implemented in any decision-making organization.  Models, such as Gamblers Ruin Score, Boston Consulting Group, Z-Score Methods etc were developed and programmed for a positive implementation.

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Description

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

This research is on Design and implementation of an expert system for financial planning and budgeting (a case study of international glass industry ltd).

The Financial health of any functioning organization is greatly susceptible to planning.

This means that, lack of adequate financial planning can jeopardize the success of any given organization.  However, adequate financial planning, which involves budgeting reveals the operational status of a firm within a range of budgeted period.

The idea to automate the function of planning and budgeting by means of computer application software can be very helpful towards organizational survival.

Financial planning and budgeting is one systematic approach for attaining effective performance in organizational management and this basically focuses at the following tips:

  1. Ensuring that cash is available for investment requirements during a given period of time (usually three to five years), and
  2. That any proposed operations of a company results to a reasonable profit level through adequate cash flow plan

The design and development of an automatic competent budgeting system through computer applications helps in facilitating a firm’s control and effort in expert objectives, this takes care of every professional decision involving individual or group utilization and provides effective co-ordination in advance.

The development of such computerized design gives a clear indication of the high level of growth attained by the organization. This also facilitates the projection of profit and loss issues with ease.

In order for any organization such as The International Glass Industry (IGI) Plc, to Survive Critical Conditions and remain functional. It must out of necessity engage in financial planning and budgeting. This implies being fully aware of every changes currently taking place in a dynamic environment and being adequately prepared to either aggressively apply a method of ensuring that it is not submerged by the contemporary changes.

With the advances of computer technology, it is now possible to incorporate intelligent and flexible techniques into financial planning systems to help the planner cope with the complexity of rendering such functions on a daily basis.

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The issues that this project research seeks to address can be presented in a concise manner.  I understand that presently the art of financial planning and budgeting in the International Glass Industries Plc are being carried out manually and due to this, they encounter various difficulties including the following:

  1. The manual method of keeping records of sales and products makes the job so complex and tedious to handle effectively.
  2. There are always problems in balancing the annual financial statements or reports due to errors that occur in calculations of sales, cost, debts, equity etc. of the company.
  3. Most often inadequate application of the mathematical formulas used in computing the ratios and other parameters, introduces a lot of errors on the balance sheet.
  4. Manual method in the art of financial planning and budgeting could pose a challenge over a long-term planning due to the dynamic nature of our society.

Evidently, it has become imperative that an expert system should be developed to manipulate the financial records and used for effective and more flexible planning and budgeting that minimizes all these difficulties mentioned above.  The expert system is mainly concerned with translating most of the planning processes into automated operations including sensitive analysis.

International Glass Industries Plc, as a company is yet to apply a formal automated financial planning and budgeting model based on an expert system.

In today’s dynamic and highly competitive business environment, occasioned by application of high technology network, this model is very necessary as it tends to address the following issues:

  1. Provides awareness for investment opportunities, expansion and profitability.
  2. Assists, equips and directs managers, planners and directors to arrive at a sound financial policies and economic decisions.
  • SCOPE OF THE PROJECT

The initiative and effort behind this project research is to achieve the following major objectives:

  1. To study, develop and design an expert system for financial planning and budgeting.
  2. To introduce the expert system set of domain for independent planning and budgeting techniques.
  3. To classify some of the important research themes in automated system of planning and describes their development trend.

It is possible that the company could be spending a whole lot of time to examine the scenario that provides the basis for its financial plan.  Therefore it seems reasonable to elucidate on what the planning process will accomplish.

This however, narrows into stating the main objective of this project work, which is to design and develop for implementation a computer software package that enhance and address the following issues in the organization:-

  1. Enhance financial planning and budgeting in International Glass Industries Plc, Aba. In view of such objectives as presented herein, this project is to provide as specific an opportunity for the firm to develop, analyze and compare many different scenarios in a consistent way.

This will aid in identifying what may happen to the company in the future as certain events take shape, by specifically addressing what actions the firm will take if things go seriously wrong or more generally if assumptions made are seriously in error.

The software will ensure that the objectives and strategies stipulated with proper regard to certain functions of the company are substantially feasible with internally consistent conflicting goals indefinitely eliminated.

  1. Provide timely warning or signals on the dangers of liquidity and performance using the models provided by the software package to generate report and information that are suitable for the management.

This research, benevolently aims at providing the International Glass Industries Plc with an articulated financial planning and budgeting system that will help the firm to operate a decent and transparent long-term economic platform with improved level of profitability.  This will definitely enhance business forecasting as a comparative advantage in optimizing resources.

Apparently, the management and staffs of International Glass Industries (IGI) Plc is already conversant with the use of computers for daily transaction in the office especially at the finance department.  This research therefore, is limited to the application of automated systems in computerized financial planning and budgeting.

This need will be quite useful to all its officers dealing (directly or indirectly) with financial matters on a daily basis in International Glass Industries (IGI) Plc, Aba plant.

  • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

There are basically several strategies that were put in place in the development of this material, many stages and methods were applied in the design of an expert system for financial planning and budgeting.

Most of these stags are further defined individually as well as their procedures in the following list:        

  1. Study of present system and problem identification.
  2. System analysis specifications and preliminary design.
  • The system design
  1. System implementation.

The aim of studying the present system was to obtain some useful information that will be most necessary in the model and design of the new system.  This gives a good understanding of the system and the exact problems as well as appropriate solutions were identified.

A primarily consistent approach was used in this research for information during the project system activities and to determine the user objectives and requirements, while analytical method was implemented in the evaluation of the company’s documents, which contain the system data flow and transactions.

Procedure manuals were also published to find out what people do in the organization and what outputs they need at each time.

Furthermore, on the analysis and design stage, proper acknowledgement of the company’s financial planning and budgeting status.  The expert system was designed and set up.  Data flow diagrams logic and structural charts, program flow charts are the major tools utilized in the design stage.  The output and input formats of the program was determined and created.  At this stage, the broad system including the program structure was designed using comprehensive charts.  The program was developed by coding the solutions in terms of the syntax of programming language used in the package.  After coding, the program was tested and properly debugged and finally the designs and results were documented.

  • LIMITATIONS

The initiative, desire and readiness to incorporate this package Expert Systems into its financial planning and budgeting functions relies solely at the discretion of the company’s management board as its usage or application cannot be unduly enforced.

Indeed, it is a fact that every human expert has recognized his/her limitations; however, there is a general tendency to over-diagnose in order to provide an adequate solution.

In this regard, the expert systems may not perform very well at certain platforms, sometimes there could be distressing issues about it and in view of these limitations I strongly recommend that they are most sensibly used as tools to assist rather than to replace.

  • SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Negligence of the board of management over effective accounting information they need in order to run the company effectively.  This is so because, they are ignorant of these information.  In other words, a firm has to put into consideration the available resources before taking up a project so as to know if the applied resources will yield an output that is favorable to the company or not.  Therefore, the significance of the design and development of an expert system for financial planning and budgeting in IGI Plc lies in its ability to:

  • Critically review and make forecast based o previous years of performance
  • Analyze financial statement to suggest profit and loss account.
  • Review the performance of each product in detailed manner against major substitutes from competition.
  • Plan for subsequent years production output.
  • Create and contribute to economic environment culminating in national industrial growth and development.

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