Who’s responsible and for what?
Our competence and professional integrity are essential components of a sound internal control program. By knowing what our responsibilities are, we can help to provide reasonable assurance that our internal control systems are adequate and operating in an efficient manner.
This section will identify the relationship between the theories and definitions presented thus far and your responsibilities as an employee. The responsibilities identified below are basically those found in each employee’s job description and not additional responsibilities resulting from the implementation of the Internal Control Act of 1987.
- Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities established in one’s job description.
- Meeting applicable performance standards.
- Attending education and training programs as appropriate to increase awareness and understanding.
- Taking all reasonable steps to safeguard assets against waste, loss, unauthorized use and misappropriation.
- Reporting breakdowns in internal control systems to your supervisor.
- Refraining from the use of your official position to secure unwarranted privileges.
Managers have these additional responsibilities:
- Maintaining an office environment that encourages the design of internal controls.
- Documenting policies and procedures that are to be followed in performing office functions.
- Identifying the control objectives for the functions and implementing cost-effective controls designed to meet those objectives.
- Regularly testing the controls to determine if they are performing as intended.
The Internal Control Officer spearheads the campus’ Internal Control Program and is responsible for the following:
- Establishing, maintaining and evaluating the organization’s overall internal control system.
- Coordinating the development and implementation of the campus’ Internal Control Program.
- Monitoring identified weaknesses and required corrective actions.
- Ensuring that employees are informed of applicable policies and receive appropriate training in internal control.
In addition, Internal Auditors can supplement the internal control program by ensuring that:
- The quality and accuracy of the work is up to standards.
- Internal control systems are tested for their reliability.
- Significant weaknesses in internal control systems are identified and recommendations for corrective actions are made.
Commitment of Top Management
Employee attitude affects the quality of job performance and, as a result, the quality of internal controls. A positive attitude is initiated and fostered when internal controls are a consistent priority. Members of top management must demonstrate commitment to the campus’ Internal Control Program.
A concise statement of policies and standards was developed at each campus and made available to all employees. This statement identifies the basic policies common to all employees and encourages adherence to these for the betterment of the campus. This statement demonstrates the commitment of top management to the campus’ Internal Control Program.
Another factor essential to the success of SUNY Optometry’s Internal Control Program is adequate training in the area of internal controls. Training should familiarize employees with the objectives of the internal control program, how it operates and the benefits it provides. Adequate training will help all employees understand the importance of their role in the campus’ system of internal controls.
In addition, management should be open to employee suggestions concerning the campus’ internal control systems. Users are the best source of improvements to a system.