AN APPRAISAL OF INTERNAL AUDIT FUNCTIONS IN FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS: EVIDENCE FROM UNIVERSITY OF UYO, UYO.

AN APPRAISAL OF INTERNAL AUDIT FUNCTIONS IN FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS: EVIDENCE FROM UNIVERSITY OF UYO, UYO.

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ABSTRACT

Internal audit system is very important to any organization whether public or private. This is because it allows for orderliness and efficiency in the administration of the organization. No organization can function properly without internal auditing system because the assets of the organization will not be safeguarded talkless of achievement of completeness and accuracy of the accounting records. Internal control system is the birth-rock of the alarming due process which has been introduced into our organization. The due process regulates various level/process which work must past through before it can gain credibility in the eyes of supervisory agents/auditors. The researcher has been seriously touched of what will be faith of our organization if the internal audit system is weak. However, some control technique has been highlighted by the researcher to eradicate weakness in internal auditing processes. There are segregation of duties, authorizations and approval, physical control, supervision, personal controls, arithmetical controls, accounting control and management controls etc. Apart  from the fact that this research work is an academic exercise, it usefulness and recommendations will go a long way to check weakness of internal auditing in both public and private sector of an organization; students will also find the study very useful.       

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Tertiary institution in Nigeria has been faced with both internal and external forces that require initiative to remain competitive and relevant. According to Sagwa (2013), most institutions have minimum internal control over external factors. Such institutions only remain with one appropriate solution, which is creation of internal control. There is a common belief that institutions that institute and enforce proper internal control will have and lead to improved financial performance. It is also a general perception that properly instituted systems of internal control will always enhance financial reporting process, which will ultimately lead to reliable reports being produced, which will in turn enhance the accountability role of management of an enterprise. Despite the institution of strong internal control, available records still alludes that, in tertiary institutions, financial performance is and has been elusive. In the study, internal audit is construed to mean, an independence, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations. It help an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. Internal auditing is a catalyst for improving an organization’s governance, risk management and management control by providing insight and recommendations based on analyses and assessment of data and business processes. In tertiary institutions in Nigeria, financial performance is one aspect that has not been given the attention it deserves. Institution staff has in a number of cases been given institution resources and have failed to account for the resources entrusted to them or have not made the necessary accountabilities on time.

        Since the internal audit functions is to contribute to the management of organization’s resources, safeguard its assets and checks the reliability and efficiency cannot be over emphasized therefore there is need to appraise the extent to which it is helpful in tertiary institution viz university of Uyo, became necessary to feed back on the lapse and of the system for proper internal control system to manage efficiently the resources of the institution.

        Statement of Accounting Standard (SAS) 300 requires auditors:

(a)         To obtain an understanding of the accounting and internal control systems sufficient to plan the audit and develop an effective audit approach.

(b)         In planning the audit to obtain and document an understanding of the accounting system and control environment sufficient to determine their audit approach.

(c)         If after obtaining an understanding of the accounting systems and control environment, they expect to be able to rely on their assessment of control risk to reduce the extent of their substantive procedures, they should make a preliminary assessment of control risk for material   financial statement assertions and should plan and perform lists of control to support that assessment (Millichamp, 1996).  

Internal control system, according to Millichamp (1996) is viewed as the whole system of controls, financial and otherwise, established by the management  in order to carry on the business of the enterprise in an orderly and efficient manner, ensure adherence to management policies, safeguard the assets and secure as far as possible the completeness and accuracy of the records. The individual components of an internal control system are known as “control” or internal control.

         Millichamp (1996) further analyzes internal control as follows:

The Whole System: Internal control can be seen as single procedures (e.g. clerk “A” checks the calculations of clerk ‘B’ performance). The whole system should be more than the sum of the parts.

Financial and Otherwise: The distinction is not important perhaps financial would include the use of control account and otherwise many include physical access restriction to computer terminals.

Carry On-Efficient Manner: Clearly the converse is unacceptable in any business.

Ensure adherence to management policies. Not all management here expressed policies. But as an example a budget is an expression of management policy and adherence to the budget can be achieved by procedures such as variance analysis. Also selling price of the enterprise products is being laid down by management and controls existing to ensure that these prices are adhered to, safeguard the assets-obviously, allowing assets to be broken, lost or stolen is unacceptable and procedures are always devised to safeguard them.                                 

Secure - Completeness: It is especially important that all transaction are recorded and processed procedures which do this include checks that no goods leave the factory without a delivery note followed by regular comparison of invoices with delivery notes to see that no goods sold (always evidenced by a delivery note) have failed to result in an invoice.

 Again, the converse is unacceptable. Examples of procedures to achieve this include checking of the work of one clerk by another or the use of control accounts independent comparison of two sets of records eg. Stock records, piecework payment and good work put with store (Millichamp 1996). In spite of the much acclaimed internal audit functions, it seems many institutions are still not understand their benefits. Therefore in the light of these that the study was undertaken to appraise the internal audit functions in the management of financial resources in university of Uyo, Uyo (hereafter referred to as Uniuyo).

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Every tertiary institution in Nigeria; be it private or public are faced with poor financial performance which in extreme cases has lead to closure of some of them, despite having the necessary resources to run them. It is not strange to hear of tertiary institutions which are unable to pay their staff in good time or staff salaries are in arrears for several years. For some, servicing their bank loans as per the agreement with financial institution is problematic besides difficulties to pay for their suppliers when they are due. The situation had led to a number of tertiary institutions operating on bank overdrafts, which adds to the financial burden because of the relatively higher cost of borrowing. The establishment of effective internal audit department in tertiary institutions as a control unit becomes a necessity. The responsibility of instituting this control is upon management and it is aimed at assisting in the operation and detection of corporate irregularities and ensuring compliance to management regulations.

        Management inefficiency and ineffectiveness has much to do with nature of internal control system, poor internal control has been a contributing factor to problems of poor productivity and collapse of companies. Fear of penalization by the management also constitute a problem to internal control in an organization, those subordinate in-charge of the control often conceal unhealthy request and approval of management notwithstanding the amount stated. Most of them are fear of transfer, supervision etc. It should be noted that, management interference and influence on transaction is not in the best interest of the organization.                 

        Today, many tertiary institutions tend to neglect or undermine the contributions of internal auditors. In some institutions, there is complete absence of or ineffective internal audit unit. It is against this background, the study is set out to appraise the internal audit functions in financial management of uniuyo.

1.3   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to appraise the internal audit functions in financial management of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Other objectives include:

i)      To establish the existence of internal audit department in the university.

ii)     To find out internal audit contributions to the effective and efficient management of financial resources in the university

iii)    To find out how internal auditor’s information can assist management in achieving their goals

iv)    To find out how the internal auditor assesed the financial resources of the university in attaining corporate goals.

v)     To identify and analyze the problems of internal auditing system in the university.

1.4   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

        Based on the objective of the study the following questions were formulated to enable the researcher obtained useful information from the respondents (staff and management of uniuyo).

i)            Does internal auditing system practice exist in the uniuyo?

ii)          Is there any impact of internal auditing in the management of financial resources of the university?

iii)        Does internal audit information assist management in achieving their goals?

iv)         Is there any other methods internal auditor can improve upon assessing the financial resources of the university?

v)           Are there any problems associated with the auditing system of the university?

1.5   SIGNIFICACE OF THE STUDY

 The study on appraisal of internal audit functions in financial management of tertiary institutions is significant. This is so because its findings will provide valuable information to the management of Uniuyo on how to effectively manage financial resources for the purpose it was meant for. It is believe that a good system of internal control would keep the university administration under a check and balance and ensures proper accountability as well as provides measures to evaluate performance against standard.

        The study will harness ways and suggest alternative approach to tackling ineffective or mismanagement of financial resources of the university.

        Its findings and generalization will also add knowledge to what has already been known about the variables under investigation. Finally, the project would be a source of inspiration to students, other researchers; who might conduct enquiry into similar fields and moreover enhance managerial activities in the university.

1.6   SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study revolves around internal audit functions, internal control, financial resources, financial management and organizational resources, and its sample subjects is “the entire staff of Uniuyo; but was restricted to employees whose work relate to the subject matter of the university”. The reason was to ensure accurate and reliable data collection.

1.7   LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

        Every survey research is fraught with limitations. This research is limited to internal audit functions in financial management of Uniuyo. However, the research could not go beyond this scope due to financial constraint to deal with at the moment in search of data; and poor attitude of some departmental/unit officers towards provision of information have combined to further restrict the coverage of this project.

1.8   DEFINITION OF TERMS   

        In order to ease the understanding of the users or readers of this study, the researcher has deemed it necessary to define some professional terms used herein.

Appraisal: This is the act of estimating or judging the nature or value of something or someone in Uniuyo.

Auditing: Is an independence examination of an expression of opinion on the financial statement of Uniuyo by the appointed auditor (3rd party).

Financial Management: This refers to efficient and effective utilization of funds in order to accomplish Uniuyo’s management objectives.

Financial Resources: This is organizational funds used by Uniuyo management to acquire other institution’s resources.

Internal Control: This is a process effected by Uniuyo management regarding the achievement of reliability of financial reporting.

Tertiary Institution: This is an organized place of learning order than primary and secondary school example Uniuyo.

1.9   ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY    

        For the purpose of achieving the aim of this study, the researcher organized the study into five chapters. Chapter one is the introductory chapter of the study and it dealt with the following: background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitations of the study, definition of terms, organization of the study, brief historical background of University of Uyo; chapter two dealt with the review of related literature of the study.

Chapter three dealt with the research design and methodology. It contains; research design and administration, population and sampling size, source and method of data collection, validity and reliability of research instrument and method of data analysis.

Chapter four is mainly on presentation of data collected, analyzed and interpreted through the use of tables and figures to fully explain the finding. Lastly chapter five contain summary, conclusion and recommendations.

1.10 BRIEF HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF UNIVERSITY OF UYO

        According to records in the University library, Uniuyo was established in October 1991 by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a Conventional Federal University. The University inherited students, staff, academic programmes and the entire facilities of the erstwhile University of Cross River State established by Cross River State Government in 1983. The guiding motto of the University is Unity, Service and learning.

        At the inception, a pioneer vice chancellor professor Fola Lasisi and the registrar Mr. Jacob Aborishade was appointed. Also the pioneer governing council headed by Mr. Kayode Odukayo was constituted thus, the beginning of full academic session in 1992.

Presently the University runs a multi-campus system namely: Main Campus, Town Campus and the Annex Campus, the College of Health Science Campus and the Ime Umana Campus. The University had about two thousand (2,000) staff strength, eighty (80) undergraduate and fifty three (53) postgraduate academic programmes with over twenty five thousand students (25,000) by the 2013/2014 academic year.

        The University has about 12 faculties and 4 academic programmes namely; School of Continuing Education, College of Health Science, Postgraduate School and Research Centre/Unit and is expanding. It is a citadel of learning, research and community development.

The academic faculties include: Agriculture, Arts, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Science, Pharmacy, Social Science, Clinical Surgery etc.

The exist some administrative department, they include:  the vice chancellor’s office, the Deputy Vice chancellor’s office (Academic and administrative), the registrar’s office, the bursar’s office, works, health centre, students affairs, security, guest house etc.

The university is run by Federal Government’s subvention, students school fees and other internally generated revenue, Grants from both national and international agencies such as ETF, TETFUND, BANKS, NDDC AND UNDP ETC.   


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