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This research work “Appraising the functioning of Internal Auditing Units in Selected Akwa Ibom State Ministries for the past three years (2014 – 2016) was carried out with a case study of the Ministry of Finance, Internal Revenue Service and office of the Auditor General for Local Government of Akwa Ibom State. The methodology employed for data collection was the primary source, which involved the use of questionnaires, in which 45 questionnaire were administered to only the staff of Accounting and Internal Audit Department of these ministries who all completed and returned same to the researcher. The data generated for the study were interpreted using simple percentage. Findings about the study reveals that Internal/Auditing Units exist in these ministries and are functioning properly though with some loop holes which needed to be addressed. The researcher recommended that since internal auditing units is a very important units in government ministries which will help in making sure that the asset and resources of the ministries are well protected and safeguarded from fraud, stealing and embezzlement, honest, qualified and professional internal auditors should be employed to serve as watch dogs in these ministries and who can work without fear and intermediate from any quarter. Government should also endeavour to empower the internal auditing units with all the necessary resources in order to enhance their efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.
KEYWORD: Internal Auditors, Internal Auditing Units, Internal Control System, Financial Control, Efficiency, Effectives, Productivity.
1.1 Background of the Study
The most prevailing objective of any developing economy is to ensure that the financial resources of such an economy must be adequately channeled and allocated to the appropriate quarter for national development and investment purpose. This is because these financial resources are needed by several sectors of the economy in order to carry out their various activities most effectively and efficiently with regards to the available human, material and management resources for the achievement of optimum output to meet up with all the necessary target.
Thus government must seek for the appropriate ways or method of raising and channeling the available resources for proper and efficient development within the economy. This is where internal auditing comes into play since it is an indispensable force that cannot be overlooked because the survival of every organization depends on the effective and efficient utilization of resources (both financial and non financial) as internal audit unit is vested with the power of independent check in order to assess compliance with established rules and regulations of the organization of any government sector or ministries.
Also the management of government ministries is entrusted with public fund or resources and saddled with the responsibilities of managing these resources effectively and efficiently, It is expected that, the government officials entrusted with the management of public resources will give account of how these resources are being managed under their care. Thus in order to ensure proper utilization of the resources entrusted to these officials, laws are enacted to control the ministries revenue and expenditure through internal audit unit. Moreso, for an audit to be meaningful the audit unit must be seen to be truly independent and the report produced by the internal auditor will assist in providing information for planning, decision making and performance evaluation completeness, understanding and comparabilities.
The concept of internal audit has come a long way, traditionally, people understand internal audit an activity of self impose check which also supposedly involve the activity of going round telling people what they were doing wrong. Historically, it was held that internal auditing and allied records have been properly maintained, the assets management system is in place in order to safeguard the assets and also to see whether policies and procedure in place are and are dully being complied with. But these concept has undergone a sea change with changing time with regard to its definition and scope of coverage.
Modern approach suggests that auditing should not be restricted to financial issues alone but also on issues such as cost benefit, analysis resource utilization and their deployment, matters of propriety, effectiveness of the management etc. however, in what ever way one might view internal audit work, the contribution of the activity of internal audit is potentially of major importance as an effective internal audit system leads to improved accountability, ethical and professional practices, effective risk management, improve quality of output, support decision making and performance.
According to Johnson (1996:47) internal audit is an independent appraisal function within an organization for the review of activities as a service to all levels of management. It is a control which measures, evaluate and reports upon the effectiveness of internal control, financially and otherwise as a contribution to the efficient use of resources within an organization.
The objective of internal auditing is to assist members of the organization in the effective discharge of their responsibilities. Thus the activity of the internal audit unit can never be underestimated since the process of accountability cannot be complete without auditing which presently remain one of the most neglect and misunderstood area of the financial management cycle especially in the public sector.
Certainly to ensure adherence to financial regulations, laid down procedures, policies and plans, internal audits are established and is expected to review the means of safeguarding assets and where appropriate, verify the existence of such assets. Therefore, internal audit furnishes the authorities with analysis, appraisals, recommendations and information concerning all the activities reviewed (Buhari, 2001).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the fact that the internal audit exist in various government ministries and parastatals with internal control system in place but the act of financial crime still continues such as fraud, irregularities and even breach of other control. The observance of a close and critical examination of internal audit system in government parastatal reveals the permanent nature of fraudulent malpractices as a result of lack of adequate internal control system and due to incapability on the part of accounting and auditing staff, forgery, embezzlement and mis-appropriation of fund have been too rampant in our society. These general trend is expected to continue unless concrete efforts are put in place to arrest the incidence of these malpractice. Thus, this research work will help to review the general objectives and function of internal audit unit at selected government ministries in Akwa Ibom State (Ministry of Finance) and will finally recommend appropriate measures that would enhance the role and performance of internal audit units on the activities of government ministries and prastatatals.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this research work is to find out the roles played by the internal auditor in handling the internal control system in government ministries. The research focuses on the following:
1. To find out the actual functioning of internal auditor in the ministries.
2. To find out the purpose of establishing internal audit unit
3. To determine the role of internal auditors in connection with fraud and stealing prevention in the ministries
4. To find out the problem confronting internal auditors of these ministries in the execution of their duties
5. To suggest better ways for internal auditors in carrying out their statutory duties in the ministries.
1.4 Research Questions
1. When did your ministry establish internal auditing unit?
2. What were the purpose of establishing internal auditing unit?
3. What are the actual functions of the internal auditing units in your ministries?
4. What are the problems confronting internal auditors in the execution of their duties?
5. What are the possible suggestions that can be given to internal auditors to assist them in performing their duties efficiently and effectively?
1.4 Significance of the Study
These research work will enhance the proper custody of asset and resources of the government ministries for effective and efficient performance which will lead to optimum output. Also the research will see to the fact that financial malpractices and loss of government funds would be reduced to the bearest minimum.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of this research focuses on the internal audit of financial activities of government ministries and parastatals. It examine the various ways of controls and technique.
Specifically, the research work studies all those factors as its relate to the internal audit, internal control and internal check.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
This research is expensive and will be limited by the short period of time.
1.7 Organization of the study
For the purpose of clarity and simplicity, this study aims at assessing the effectiveness of internal audit units in government ministries in Akwa Ibom State with a view of determining whether the internal audit unit has what its take to exist independently for the purpose of safeguarding the asset and resources of government ministries for efficient and effective performance.
In order to achieved this, the research work has been divided into five chapters. Chapter one is the introduction which comprises the research topic, statement of the problem, outline the objectives and the significance of the study, scope of the study, limitation and definition of terms.
Chapter two focuses exclusively on the review of related literature which clearly states most of the relevant work done by various authors as regards this subject matter. This will also serve as a theoretical framework for the entire study.
Chapter three deals directly with the methodology used in the study. It discusses the research design, population and sample design, method of collection of data analysis. Chapter four gives the presentation, analysis and interpretation of raw data collected from the field. This chapter contains the practical aspect of the principles outlined in the previous chapter.
Chapter five, which is the last chapter, brings forward the summary, conclusion and recommendations which if properly applied may change the prevailing situation. It will be followed by bibliography of work cited and the appendix.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
Auditing: It is an investigation by an independent auditor into the account and records or other document of an organization, which have been prepared in order to ascertain that they represent a true and fair view of the summarized transactions for the period under review and to enable the auditor form his opinion and give report on it, Damagum (2003).
An Auditor: Is a professional (licenced) or chartered accountant who conduct an independent examination of accounting data presented by a business enterprises, form an opinion and give report on it, Akpakpan (2002:15).
Type of Auditors: That are basically two types of auditors: the external and the internal auditor, Akpakpan (2002:4).
External Auditor is a licensed or certified professional accountant who audit the account and other records of an enterprise in which he is engaged in or desire his services, Akpakpan (2002).
Internal Auditor is an accountant that ensures that the asset and resources of an organization are safeguarded for effective and efficient production through internal checks and control. Its form a valuable part of the whole system of internal control, Danago (2002).
Internal Audit: Is described as a review of operations and records something sometimes continuous exercise with a business or an organization specifically by assigned staff, Sabari (2003).
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