Internal Controls

Primary Purpose

One of the primary purposes of Financial & Management Analysis is to review and evaluate compliance with institutional controls, policies, and procedures in an effort to ensure that all significant compliance risks are addressed, effectively managed, and properly mitigated to an acceptable level.   Management's role is to ensure internal controls are in place, operating effectively, and meeting the needs of the University.  Laws and regulations affecting universities are increasingly complex.  The Department helps management manage its risk by not only promoting effective internal controls but also providing management with high-quality data, analysis, and recommendations.

An Employee's Role in Internal Controls

Everyone within the University has some role in the University's internal control structure.  An individual's obligation for the internal controls in their area largely depends upon their level of responsibility.  The Board of Trustees, President, Chancellor, and senior administrators collectively establish the overall presence of integrity, ethics, competence, as well as support a positive control environment; this is often referred to as the "Tone At The Top".  While College Deans, Department Directors, and area managers are responsible for establishing and maintaining internal controls within their individual areas with staff responsible for day-to-day execution of the established control policies and procedures.

What Can Jeopardize the University's Internal Controls?

  • Lack of Segregation of Duties.  Individuals should not be able to perform a transaction from beginning to end without proper management oversight and/or review.  In some instances, a small staff size may hinder efforts to properly segregate all duties; however, even in those circumstances compensating controls can ensure that control objectives are still met.
  • Inappropriate Access to Assets.  Safeguards should be in place over physical assets, sensitive, restricted or propriety information, critical forms, etc.
  • Inadequate Knowledge of University Policies.  New policies, including policy revisions, occur frequently.  All University policies are available at Fayetteville Policies.  All employees should stay up-to-date on policy changes, particularly those that directly affect their job responsibilities.
  • Management Override of Controls.  Exceptions to established policies and processes can sometimes be necessary, but these exceptions almost always pose a risk if not limited and closely monitored.

Resources

The Department of Financial & Management Analysis provides guidance, support tools, and documents to help Departments manage financial related processes.  Internal Control Self-Assessment Questionnaire has been designed to help Departments self-assess their internal control environment and the associated risks.

Important Information

If you have information concerning the misappropriation of University assets, or suspect fraud, theft, or misuse of University funds, please call 575-5553 for a confidential discussion of your concerns.