Internal controls help provide a system of checks and balances within an organization, which can help ensure that financial transactions are properly recorded and assets are safeguarded. By implementing appropriate internal controls, companies can improve their financial management, reduce the risk of financial losses due to fraud or mismanagement, and create a culture of accountability.
We work with you to create preventive and detective controls to stop errors from occurring and catch mistakes that pass through the first line of defense. These activities include thorough documentation, authorization practices, separation of duties, reconciliation, and audits.
Looking for something specific? Check out some of the links below to learn more about some common questions and concerns.
Separation of duties is a crucial part of preventive internal controls. It ensures no single individual is in a position to authorize, record, and be in the custody of a financial transaction and the resulting asset. Examples of preventative internal controls include limiting physical access to equipment and inventory and ensuring that invoices receive proper authorization before they are processed or paid.
Detective controls attempt to find problems within a company's processes once they have occurred. These include reconciliation as well as internal and external audits.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is a federal law passed in 2002 with bipartisan congressional support to improve auditing and public disclosure in response to several accounting scandals in the early-2000s. The law requires chief executive officers and chief financial officers to certify their companies' financial reports, and also established new protections for investors and a variety of new criminal penalties for crimes involving corporate fraud.
1. Control environment: The overall attitude, awareness, and actions of an organization's management and employees regarding the importance of internal controls. It sets the tone for the organization's control system and influences the control consciousness of its people.
2. Risk assessment: The process of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating an organization's risk profile. It helps an organization understand these risks' likelihood and potential impact and allows it to prioritize and address them appropriately.
3. Monitoring: The ongoing process of reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of an organization's internal controls. It helps identify any weaknesses or failures in the control system and allows for corrective actions.
4. Information/communications: An organization's processes and systems to gather, process, and report financial and operational information. These systems are essential for adequate internal controls, as they provide the necessary information for management to make informed decisions and for the control system to operate effectively.
5. Control activities: The policies and procedures an organization puts in place to ensure that its financial and operational objectives are achieved. They include a range of activities such as approvals, authorizations, verifications, reconciliations, and segregation of duties. Control activities help to ensure the reliability and integrity of an organization's financial and operational information and protect against errors, fraud, and waste.