Each department at UHD is encouraged to take a proactive role in monitoring and evaluating their work environment to ensure the procedures within the department follow best practices and are in compliance with the laws and policies that govern the work.
Our goal with this self assessment tool is to provide you with information that will allow you to internally assess your operations and determine if your department has reasonable internal controls in place. This tool is not a policies and procedures manual. It is a guide to assist with improving and/or implementing good business practices, complying with institutional policies and procedures, and limiting potential for misappropriation of institutional resources. Implementation of internal controls determined necessary upon review of this text will enable you to establish a positive control environment in your department.
In addition to the information contained in this self-assessment text, we have developed internal control questionnaires that will assist your department with some important, but not all inclusive, questions regarding each of the areas. The self-assessment questionnaire will immediately follow the respective text.
Contact offices and individuals listed throughout this text are available to assist you, should you require additional information and/or guidance.
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Internal control is defined as a process, carried out by our administration, faculty, and staff designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following areas:
Effectiveness and efficiency of operations
Reliability of financial and administrative operations
Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
Safeguarding of institutional resources
Think of internal control as a map that helps us get to our destination. Obviously, just because we have a map, there is no guarantee that we will get there, but it does provide “reasonable assurance”.
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Department Chairs, Directors and Managers are primarily responsible for identifying risks and assessing internal controls for their operations. In addition, individual employees have responsibility for evaluating, establishing, and/or improving, and monitoring internal controls for their areas of responsibility and accountability.
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Several major internal control items are listed below which can assist your department with achieving reasonable controls.
Identify all significant activities or processes for which your department/unit is responsible. Having such processes documented is an excellent starting point for determining and evaluating where risk and/or internal control weaknesses may exist for your department/unit.
Implement an adequate segregation of duties. No single person should have control over all aspects of any financial transaction, and/or process. Divide duties among staff members to reduce risk of error and/or inappropriate actions. Separation of duties also counts as a deterrent to fraud or concealment because collusion with another individual is required to complete the fraudulent act.
Ensure transactions are authorized and appropriately approved.
Records must be reviewed and reconciled by someone other than the preparer.
Employees should have appropriate training to carry out their job duties and have an appropriate level of supervision.
Formal policies and procedures documented and communicated to employees. Revisit policies and procedures periodically to ensure they remain current.
Additionally, as you utilize this information to conduct your internal control review of each area, you will expand your knowledge of other good internal controls and best practice mechanisms.
Self Assessment Questionnaires
Internal control can only provide reasonable assurance, not absolute assurance, that appropriate measures are being taken to protect the institution’s mission and objectives. The questionnaires following each area are not all inclusive, but an abbreviated version designed to identify basic control issues. This tool can be used as a guide for improving and/or implementing good business practices, complying with institutional policies and procedures, and limiting the potential for losses.
Utilizing the Questionnaires
As you conduct the self-assessment questionnaires, think carefully about your unit’s processes. The questionnaires can be completed based on the processes of the department by the fiscal manager, department administrator or other similar position for your department OR can be conducted by discussing the questionnaires with the individual(s) directly responsible for the day-to-day processes of the respective areas. Please note, the fiscal manager or department administrator may believe that a process/procedure is occurring one way, when in fact, that may not be the case. This said, it may be highly beneficial for the fiscal manager, department administrator, or other similar position to conduct the questionnaires with the individual who is directly responsible to obtain complete and truly accurate information.
In addition to the information contained in the self-assessment questionnaires, a self-assessment text has been provided that will assist your department/unit with some important information regarding each of the areas.
If an Answer on the Questionnaire is "No"
This questionnaire is designed so that “no” answers indicate that an internal control weakness may exist and the procedure/ process may need to be examined in greater detail. When such weaknesses are identified, a change in the process may be necessary OR a control may need to be put into place to address the weakness. The appropriate UHD contact office (as outlined in the self-assessment text) may be contacted for assistance with identified weaknesses.
This is a living document and will be updated as revisions are necessary. Periodically, you may want to check for updates and revisions. We welcome any questions and feedback regarding the information contained in this tool including any comments regarding how this may be more useful and effective.
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