[NOTE: this post is the last of a four-part series]
The three previous Risky Business blog posts
- defined what is meant by Internal Control systems,
- showed how such systems define and mitigate organizational risks as part of a strategic planning program,
- outlined the specific features of a comprehensive Internal Control system, and
- gave a detailed example of Financial Internal Controls.
I hope these posts have heightened awareness of the critical importance of Internal Control, and further, motivated readers to reexamine and improve what is being done in their own organizations.
Here are a few resources that can be used to understand and implement sound Internal Control systems:
- GAO Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government – Publication GAO-14-704G (2014) https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-704G
- Management Oversight and Stewardship Handbook, Administrative Office of the United States Courts, (2003) – copy available upon request
- Example of a CPA firm’s Internal Control checklist: https://doeren.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Internal-Controls-Checklist.pdf
- Financial Internal Controls Manual from a U.S. federal court (2018) – copy available upon request
- Internal Control of Court-Collected Funds – Robert Tobin, National Center for State Courts publication R-165 (1995)
This definition of Internal Control is worth repeating:
Internal controls are systematic safeguards that are a continuous built-in component of operations, reviews, and reports. Collectively, internal controls are the policies, actions and activities that provide reasonable assurance that assets and resources are protected from loss, waste or abuse; operations are efficient and effective; financial reports are accurate and reliable; and business practices are in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and judiciary policies.[i]
Every organization has risks – the challenge is to manage these risks and ensure that you are doing everything you can to reduce them to an acceptable level (ideally, to eliminate them).
Comments and suggestions for additional resources are welcome!
[i] Management Oversight and Stewardship Handbook, Administrative Office of the United States Courts, p.7 (2003).