Internal Controls

Internal controls are practices that protect or make more efficient use of the University's assets. Some types of controls follow.

Segregation/Separation of Duties

Duties are divided, or segregated, among different people to reduce the risk of error or inappropriate actions. For instance, responsibilities for authorizing transactions, recording them and handling the related asset are divided.

No one person will perform more than one of the following seven types of duties:

  • Receiving and depositing remittances
  • Authorizing disbursements
  • Preparing checks
  • Operating a check signing machine State Administrative Manual (SAM) [Section 8080]
  • Comparing machine-signed checks with authorizations and supporting documents (or signing checks manually after personally comparing them with authorizations and supporting documents). State Administrative Manual (SAM) [Section 8080]

Symptoms of Control Deficiencies

The existence of one or more of the following signals will usually be indicative of a poorly maintained or vulnerable control system. These symptoms may apply to the organization as a whole or to individual units or activities

  • Policy and procedural or operational manuals are either not currently maintained or are nonexistent.
  • Lines of organizational authority and responsibility are not clearly articulated or are nonexistent.
  • Financial and operational reporting is not timely and is not used as an effective management tool.
  • Line supervisors ignore or do not adequately monitor control compliance.
  • No procedures are established to assure that controls in all areas of operation are evaluated on a reasonable and timely basis.
  • Internal control weaknesses detected are not acted upon in a timely fashion.
  • Controls and/or control evaluations bear little relationship to organizational exposure to risk of loss or resources.

Physical Controls

Equipment, inventories, cash and other assets are secured physically, and periodically counted and compared with amounts shown on control records. Access is restricted to those with authority to handle them.

Reconciliations

Comparisons are made between similar records maintained by different persons to verify transaction details.

Policies and Procedures

Established policies, procedures and job descriptions provide guidance and training to ensure consistent performance at a required level of quality.