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Lack of accountability and transparency by public servants has been identified as a cankerworm eating into the fabric of our National Development and similarly causing utmost decay. These have been the case also on the issue of embezzlement of public funds by our public officers. It is an established fact that every responsibility goes with accountability.
In considering financial accountability in the public as well as in the private sectors, there are usually problems as to the amount of reliance that can be placed on the returns rendered. Therefore, there are difficulties, errors and fraudulent arising from these in the time reports were made. This explains why the law provides for the auditing of financial statement of all government institutions and public limited liability company.
An issue to be addressed critically in the financial accountability of public officers. Corruption and lack of accountability by public offices holders have long been a problem in Nigeria. The purpose of this research therefore was to examine the role of audit as an instrument of financial accountability in the public sector.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The failure of first and second Republic administration of this country – Nigeria is largely blamed on lack of accountability and proper auditing system. Proper accounting records in respect of transaction of public funds is a pre-requisite to true accountability outcry for a more economical husbandry of scarce resources will be in vain without thorough, efficient leaks in government coffers.
Large scale fraud in the public service may have been perpetuated unabated, either because improper record keeping has unwillingly become legalized or that auditing as a control measure against misuse of public fund in trust in deficient.
A critical appraisal of these problems poses the questions: “why are some public sectors successful while others are not”. And two “is the success of these public sectors related to the provision of relevant, accurate and timely auditing and financial accountability”? These form the central focus of this research.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The present state of accountability in public sector therefore calls for greater alert, thoroughness and dynamism on the part of auditors. The purpose of this study therefore are:
(a) To identify the possible cause(s) of inefficient and poor accounting and auditing system in the public sector
(b) Evaluate the procedure of auditing by the Audit Departments.
(c) Ascertaining the reasons why auditing has failed to stem the tide of non-accountability in public sector administration.
(d) Make suggestions and necessary recommendations from the findings.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
An attempt shall be made to subject the following hypotheses to empirical tests.
Ho: There is no significance difference between the financial accountability in public sector and the management.
Ho: There is no significance relationship between the internal auditing and the internal control in the financial accountability.
Ho: There is no significance difference between an independence appraising activity within the financial accountability in the public sector.
Ho: There is no significance difference between the internal auditing and the external auditing in the financial accountability of public sector.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work would be of immense help to students in Economics, Business profession and related discipline who might wish to conduct enquiries into similar field or topic.
The researcher beliefs that audit as an instrument of financial accountability in the public sector is needful as it
(a) Reveals areas of weakness in the public sector accounting and auditing system, thus, creating room for improvement.
(b) Re-established confidence in the mind of the people on the government ability to manage their affairs.
(c) Improve the researcher’s knowledge as well as satisfy his prolonged yearning for an improved and well organized desire for research materials on this area.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study centered on the government ministries and Extra Ministerial Departments. But the researcher will concentrate its research work in the office of the State Auditor General which functions as External Auditors to the Government include: to audit and give report of the financial position. Report of the ministries, example (Agriculture, Industry, Commence, Education etc) have their internal audit units.
The major constraints on this study was the short time allowed for its completion. The necessary length of time that would have been allowed for a more exhaustive and thorough research was absent.
Another limiting factor was the cost involvement in undertaking a more exhaustive research, which is beyond the researcher’s present financial resources.
The researcher was also limited with materials in our libraries on the related topic.
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
The study was organized into four chapters to make for an easy understanding of what is covered by the researcher. Chapter one contained the introductory information statement of the problem, objective of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitations of the study, organization of the study.
Chapter two deals with the definition of terms and literature review. Chapter three concerned with research methodology and analysis and interpretation.
Chapter four finalized the work with summary, conclusion and recommendations, followed by references.
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