AN EVALUATION OF THE ROLES OF INTERNAL AUDITORS IN A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY

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CHAPTER ONE

1.1 INTRODUCTION

Internal Audit Units are established in organizations in order to assist members of the Organization in the effective discharge of their responsibilities, monitor the use of resources and make recommendations for the improvement of the organizational operations. The day-to-day operation of an organization is delegated to the management by the Board of Directors. The head of the management often referred to as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer serve as a link between the Board of Directors and the management. An internal auditor is employed as an agent of the management for ensuring effective working of Internal Control System. Independence of auditor is a cornerstone for the quality of his performance.

However, it is practically difficult for an internal auditor to possess any reasonable degree of independence in mind and attitude because of the management influence and scope of the work. It needs to be emphasized that internal audit function as an integral part of the internal control system is concomitant to good corporate governance. The purpose of internal audit in big companies is to ensure that the account on which the auditor is reporting disclose a true and fair view of the transaction summarized within the period under examination. To ensure completeness and effectiveness in big companies, auditing is very important, the major work covered in the exercising of auditing include examination of internal control, the system of bookkeeping and account, to ensure whether they are appropriate for the nature of the business or activities being carried out by the client and whether all the transactions have been properly recorded under the system. The existence of any internal audit units in big companies is a sign of good control system. If properly conducted, internal audit units can have a great impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of big companies. Adeniji (2004) suggest that internal audit as an independent appraisal activity established within an organization as a service to it. It is a control, which functions by examining and evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of other controls.

Adams (2002), opined that internal auditing is an independent appraisal actively for the review of operations as a service to the management. Internal auditor here is one who is employed by the management of an enterprise who may or may not attain minimum academic or professional qualification, that is he may not be a member of any recognized body e.g. ICAN, ANAN. It is in the view of the above that this study would be conducted to find out the role played by an internal auditor in big companies through proper installation of effective Internal Control System in big companies. Internal control system is examined by internal auditor in order for him to know if the control system is effective. He does this by carrying out compliance test. Internal check is done in order to prevent and detect errors and fraud. It involves the arrangement of bookkeeping and other clerical duties. Internal Audit is a review of the operations, procedures and records of the business. Internal Auditing is itself an Internal Control which operates by appraising and reporting on the effectiveness of the other controls.

Thus, its main objective is to assist management in discharging its responsibilities and to evaluate compliance with corporate procedures. It is often assigned for reviewing the accounting system and related Internal Controls, monitoring their operation and recommending improvement thereto, and also the examination of financial and operating information. Aquaisua (2004) opines internal audit as the process of continuous review of financial transactions in order to ensure that they are working as the management intends. All the regulations, instructions, accounting system or procedures and rules set should be controlled to ensure that they are working as prescribed. It assures management of the adequacy and appropriateness of the system of internal controls by testing their operations. Usually, Government, financial instructions provide that the Accounting Oicers of Ministries or Departments or (non-ministerial) departments will ensure that, subject to the availability of staff, an internal audit unit be established to provide a complete and continuous audit of accounts of revenue, expenditure, plant, allocated stores and un-allocated stores where applicable. Omoya (1984) suggests that the duty of the internal auditor, who should be responsible to accounting officer will be to audit account and records and for the examination of the systems and procedures in force. His report should be submitted to the Accounting officer copying the Auditor-general of his state.

He should have an audit programme which should be submitted to the Accounting Officer and for the acceptance of the Accountant General and Auditor General. Such programmes should ensure that the programme of audit will extend to cover all the records of the ministry, department or unit, in order to satisfy himself that: i) The safeguards introduced for the prevention of the prompt detection of fraud and loss of cash or stores or plants are adequate. Normal safeguards include the observance of government and departmental regulators and instructors and for existence of internal checks. ii) The system for the control of the collection of revenue is adequate and that all monies received have been promptly brought to account to the correct head and sub-head. iii) The system for the control of expenditure is adequate and that all payments made are properly authorized and correct, that they are paid to the right person, for whom they were authorized. iv) The system for the control of the issue and consumption of stores is adequate, that issues are made to the right person and are used for the purpose for which they are authorized. v) There are adequate means for which the verification is done by him, of all cash, stores and plant held. Bigg and Davies (1994) postulates, Internal Auditing is an independent objective assurance and consulting actively designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk Management Control are governance processes. Independence is established by the organizational and reporting structure.

Objectivity is achieved by an appropriate mind-set, the internal audit activity evaluates risk exposures relating to the organization’s governance, operations and information system in related to: i) Effectiveness and efficiency of operations ii) Reliability and integrity of financial and operational information iii) Safeguarding of assets iv) Compliance with laws, regulations and contracts Based on the result of the risk assessment, the internal auditors evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of how risks are identified and managed in the above areas. They also asses other aspects such as ethics and values within the organization, performance management, communication of risk and control information within the organization in order to facilitate or good governance process. The internal auditors are expected to provide recommendations for improvement in those areas where opportunities or deficiencies are identified, while management is responsible for internal controls, the internal audit actively provides assurance to management and the audit committee that internal controls are effective and working as intended.

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