Financial Implication Of Internal Control System In An Organisation (A Case Study Of Mercury Microfinance Bank)
Internal control systems is a topical issue following global fraudulent financial reporting and accounting scandals in both developed and developing countries.
This research work examine the implications of internal control system in an organization with reference to Mercury Micro Finance Bank. In today’s volatile business environment, banking sub-sector in Nigeria faces a wide array of complex business challenges. These challenges come in the form of regulatory compliance, litigation, competitive market pressure, changing technology, investors demand, corporate governance, business ethics and accountability.
The research examine the various types of internal control and the components of internal control. A questionnaire was designed and administered to the staff of Mercury Micro Finance Bank. The data gathered from the questionnaire were presented on table with the respective percentages. The formulated hypotheses were analysed with the used of Chi square statistical tool. From the analysis it was concluded that;
- Effective internal control system make fraudulent practices and other incidences of irregularities very difficult to perpetrate.
- Constant review of accounting and internal control system will reduce incidence of fraud and irregularities in Microfinance banks.
- The internal control system currently in operation at Mercury Microfinance Bank is inline with the International Accounting Standard (IAS).
Conclusion was deduced from the result of the analysis and recommendations were made.
Table of Contents
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of Problem
- 1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study
- 1.4 Research Question
- 1.5 Statement of Hypothesis
- 1.6 Research Methodology
- 1.7 Significance of Study
- 1.8 Scope and Limitation of Study
- 1.9 Definition of Terms
- 2.0 Introduction
- 2.1 Definition of Internal Control
- 2.2 Purposes of Internal Control System
- 2.3 Types of Internal Control
- 2.3.1 Directive or Entity Level Controls
- 2.3.2 Preventive Internal Control
- 2.3.3 Detective / Corrective
- 2.3.4 Compensating Control
- 2.4 Components of the Internal Control System
- 2.4.1 Definition of Responsibilities
- 2.4.2 The In-House Dissemination of Relevant and Reliable Information
- 2.4.3 A System for identifying and Analysing Risk
- 2.4.4 Control Activities
- 2.4.5 On-Going Monitoring of the Internal Control System
- 2.5 internal Control Players
- 2.5.1 The Board of Directors or the Supervisory Board (“The Board”)
- 2.5.2 Executive Management / The management Board
- 2.5.3 Internal Audit
- 2.5.4 Company Staff
- 2.6 Conceptual Framework
- 2.6.1 Control Environment
- 2.6.2 Risk Assessment
- 2.6.3 Control Activities
- 2.6.4 Application Controls
- 2.6.5 Information and Communication
- 2.6.6 Monitoring
- 2.7 Effective Internal Control
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 Sources of Data
- 3.3 Population and Sample Size
- 3.4 Research Instrument Design
- 3.5 Administration of Research Instrument
- 3.6 Analysis of Data
- 3.7 Methodology
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Introduction
- 4.2 Personal Characteristics of the Respondent
- 4.3 Response of Respondents of the Problem Areas
- 4.4 Testing and Interpretation of the Hypothesis
- 4.4.1 Test of Hypothesis One
- 4.4.2 Test of Hypothesis Two
- 4.4.3 test of Hypothesis Three
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Introduction
- 5.2 Summary
- 5.3 Conclusion
- 5.4 Recommendation
1.1 Background of the Study
When companies suddenly collapse, the often resounding question is, “what went wrong?” A breakdown in the internal control system is the usual cause. Internal control is a process that guides an organization towards achieving its objectives. These objectives include operational efficiency and effectiveness, reliability of financial reporting, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations (COSO 1992). Absence of these variables often results in organizational failure. The findings of the Treadway Commission Report of 1987 in the United States (USA) confirmed absence of, or weak, internal controls as the primary cause of many cases of fraudulent company financial reporting.
The widespread global corporate accounting scandals that assumes near epidemic proportions in recent years inform this study. Cases of accounting scandals have been recorded International Research Journal of Finance and Economics – Issue 27 (2009) 125in JCI and Rand gold and Exploration companies. In Nigeria, the Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Cadbury Nigeria plc were dismissed in 2006 for inflating the profits of the company for some years before the company’s foreign partner acquired controlling interest.
These scandals emphasize the need to evaluate, scrutinize, and formulate systems of checks and balances to guide corporate executives in decision-making. These executives are legally and morally obliged to produce honest, reliable, accurate and informative corporate financial reports periodically.
The banking industry is a very important subsector of the financial services of any economy. For effective operation and to be able to render a good stewardship to the operations of a bank, it is imperative that there should be reliable accounting and internal control system. The effectiveness of accounting system of any organization depends on the manner and methods used in the recording of financial transactions, which must be in agreement with the International Accounting Standard,(IAS) regulations.
Installation of an effective accounting and internal control system is compulsory for every banks especially the Microfinance Banks. If proper records of accounts are not be given to the shareholders and other users of accounting information. This may therefore leads to shareholders, customer, and general public not having confidence in the operation of Microfinance Banks.
There must be a periodic review of the accounting and international control system of Microfinance Banks from time to time to ensure proper reporting and accounting. Proper keeping of accounting records will enable the management to determine whether or. not the firm is operating at a profit. If there is constant review of accounting and internal control system, it will prevent fraud/mismanagement of funds.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Most Microfinance Banks do not have proper books of accounts and the accounting records of some Microfinance banks in Nigeria are inefficient and unreliable. Also, some of these Microfinance banks have collapsed and closed for business due to improper keeping of records and maintain adequate internal control system.
This research study will provide suggested solution to the above problem and if followed, will ensure proper accountability.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study
The aim of this research work is to evaluates the financial implication of internal control systems with special reference to Mercury Microfinance Bank. The objectives includes:
- Ascertains whether the internal control system provide adequate internal framework of checks and balances of the fund of Microfinance banks.
- To investigate whether the internal control system currently in operation at Mercury Microfinance Bank is inline with the International Accounting Standard (IAS).
- Investigate if the internal control system has ever been compromised and led to a negative financial implication.
- Find out how they could overcome the negative financial implication caused by the poor internal control system.
- To find out whether books of account are kept by Microfinanace banks as required by statute.
The research work will also look into the methods and systems of accounting to be adopted for day – to – day transaction and means of installing and effective internal control system, and also provide recommendation to solving various Internal control systems in Microfinance banks.
1.4 Research Questions
These objectives raise a number of questions, that requires answers in a later chapter of this research work. The major question is whether or not the established internal control systems in Mercury Microfinance bank are effective. This raises the following minor but inter-related questions:
- What role should internal control system play Microfinance banks?
- Does application of internal control system has any financial implication on Microfiinance banks?
- Does management of Microfinance banks appreciate, understand, and clearly respond to this rules?
- What internal control systems are currently in use?
- Do they include all the expected elements of internal control systems?
- Are internal control systems of Microfinance banks adequately documented and regularly updated as changes occur?
- Is Internal control system really useful on organization’s profit maximization decision making process?
Answering the research questions requires use of research methods to address the concerns raised. A later section of this chapter discusses the methods selected and the justification of the study.
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses
To provide answer to the research questions arising from this study, the following hypotheses are postulated.
- Ho: Effective internal control system does not make fraudulent practices and other incidences of irregularities very difficult to perpetrate.
- H1: Effective internal control system make fraudulent practices and other incidences of irregularities very difficult to perpetrate.
- Ho: Constant review of accounting and internal control system will not reduce incidence of fraud and irregularities in Microfinance banks.
- H1: Constant review of accounting and internal control system will reduce incidence of fraud and irregularities in Microfinance banks.
- Ho: The internal control system currently in operation at Mercury Microfinance Bank is not inline with the International Accounting Standard (IAS).
- H1: The internal control system currently in operation at Mercury Microfinance Bank is inline with the International Accounting Standard (IAS).
1.6 Research Methodology
Data for this research will be sourced from both Primary and Secondary source of data. Primary data will supply first hand information in form of Questionnaires and oral interviews. . The distribution of the questionnaires will be limited to only the staff of Microfinance banks.
Secondary data will be sourced from review of literature, textbooks, journals and magazines. It will also be source from statutory books relevant to the banking operations.
In this study, descriptive method will be used to present data and also in testing hypothesis, chi-square (X2) will be employed.
1.7 Significance of Study
Corruption is prevalent and transparency often lacking in the Nigeria banking industries including the Microfinance banks. Corporate accounting scandals occur where the systems of internal controls are abused by those responsible for their operational effectiveness. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2006, compiled by Transparency International covering 163 countries, reveals that majority of the African countries in the index scored within the low range of 1.9 – 3.6. Not more than five African countries scored within the range of 4.1 – 4.6. In contrast, majority of the European countries scored between 7.4 and 9.6. The Corruption Perceptions Indices suggest a prevalence of corruption in African countries.
These issues further justify this study that focuses on Microfinance banks in Nigeria. The study investigates whether the controls used for directing, controlling and governance of Microfinance banks in Nigeria are effective to ensure optimal utilization of funds.
1.8 Scope and Limitation of Study
The premise on which this study is based is, Financial Implication of Internal Control System in Microfinance banks with special reference to Mercury Microfinance Bank. The study will ascertains whether the internal control system provide adequate internal framework of checks and balances of the fund of Microfinance banks.
The study will further identify the fundamental limiting factors that could hinder complying with internal control system of Microfinance banks
In the course of conducting this research work it is expected that the following will constitute impediments to the effective conduct of the study
- Time constraint within which the study must be completed.
- Financial constraint
- Inaccessible and inadequate data
- Also, combining project work with several other activities is another stressful task that may not allow me to cover research materials extensively.
Nevertheless, I believe the above limitations will in no way affect the reliability and validity of the research study.
1.9 Definition of Terms
An accounting procedure or system designed to promote efficiency or assure the implementation of a policy or safeguard assets or avoid fraud and error etc.
Internal Control System:
An Internal Control System (ICS) is the part of a documented quality assurance system that allows an external certification body to delegate the periodical inspection of individual group members to an identified body or unit within the certified operator
The management of the finances of a business / organisation in order to achieve financial objectives
At the heart of operations are the systems and processes that keep information moving through a business and provide structure for those doing the work
A procedure to identify threats & vulnerabilities, analyze them to ascertain the exposures, and highlight how the impact can be eliminated or reduced.
The process of identification, analysis and either acceptance or mitigation of uncertainty in investment decision-making.
Frequent or ongoing audit conducted by a firm’s own (as opposed to independent) accountants to monitor operating results, verify financial records, evaluate internal controls, assist with increasing efficiency and effectiveness of operations and, to detect fraud.
Control activities are the policies and procedures that help ensure management directives are carried out
Actions, policies, values, and management styles that influence, and set the tone of a firm day-to-day activities
Monitoring is the assessment of internal control performance over time; it is accomplished by ongoing monitoring activities and by separate evaluations of internal control such as self-assessments, peer reviews, and internal audits.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This piece of research study has attempted to review thoroughly the Financial Implication of Internal Control System with special reference to Mercury Microfinance Bank. The research work also find out the weakness and make necessary recommendations for an improvement on Internal Control System.
Questionnaire were administered and personal interviews were held with the Microfinance bank officers to get necessary data for the successful completion of the project. The administration of the questionnaire and the personal interview; recorded a success because of the co-operation of the staffs. Their positive response had made me to record my findings and space for recommendations.
The following finding came to light during the course of the researcher’s study, the findings were derived from the administration of questionnaires and personal interview with Mercury Microfinance bank officials.
The Microfinance bank maintain adequate control over cash collection from customers who wish to deposits into various personal accounts. It was also discovered that there is dual control over the treasury. In other words, no single officer, no matter the position of such staff can gain entrance or access to the treasury for any purpose. All the necessary vouchers regarding deposits withdrawals or contra are both signed by the manager and the accountant or other authorized officers. Bank reconciliation statement are done monthly by designated officers on correspondent bank accounts. There are some other areas, however, which need adequate attention and proper controls. Segregation of duties are not normally performed on some transactions. There is no controls at all in situation where an officer make entries into different control books.
From the analysis of the Survey conducted, it resulted that Effective internal control system make fraudulent practices and other incidences of irregularities very difficult to perpetrate. And cnstant review of accounting and internal control system will reduce incidence of fraud and irregularities in Microfinance banks.
The analysis also proved that the internal control system currently in operation at Mercury Microfinance Bank is inline with the International Accounting Standard (IAS).
No organization can render a goal stewardship to the owners (shareholders) in the absence of a good accounting system. An effective accounting system is therefore vital to the existence of every organization. The accounting system must be one which is suitable to the environment of the enterprise and must reflect the consistency with policies and regulations as laid down by company and Allied Matter Decree (CAMD) 1990. Also, the financial statements laws before the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) must reflect true and fair view of the laws of the company.
An effective Internal Control, System is also essential in any organization. An effective and efficient internal control system in any establishment will about any attempt of fraudulent practice and other irregularities as well as improve job efficiency.
“This research work has been able to prove that the high rate of frauds in Microfinance banks can be attributed to weak internal control system. But for internal control system of Microfinance banks to be efficient and effective, its accounting system must also be sound.
In this project, the internal control system in Microfinance banks was highlighted and the areas of weakness revealed. An areas of improvement was also discussed.
Though, a sound internal control system is very essential in Microfinance banks, no internal control system can guarantee absolute efficiency in administration, the completeness and accurate recording of transaction and also completely check fraudulent collusion on the part of those holding positions of trust and authority.
The researcher wishes to make the following recommendations based on the study carried out, coupled with various findings.
- The management of a Microfinance bank must have various current account with their correspondent banks. For example, a Microfinance bank with only 1 (one) correspondent bank must have a minimum of three types of current accounts with such banks for sake of accountability and control.
- Training of staff impress staff moral and increases productivity and efficiency. Without staff training, various errors and irregularities may occur which may affect the internal control system of that bank. Management should therefore send their staff to various courses to allow them know more about the activity of Microfinance banks.
- Lack of effective credit control management has brought about the fall of some Microfinance banks. This might have been due to the management inability to know when to grant credit facility.
- The board of Directors must make a credit policy indicating how much the manager can grant to any customer without the board’s approval. Also, collateral security that will be more than the approved loan granting to the customers.
- It is very essential that meeting be held regularly by the management. This would enable the top management to know the problem facing the staffs and finding solution to them.
- It should be noted that lack of communication gap between them can make staff to commit fraud and other irregularities not minding the effect of such behaviour on the bank.
- It is imperative for all Microfinance bank to create audit department for the purpose of internal control. The department should report directly to the Board of Directors. It should make sure that all the policies made by the Board are implemented and followed by the management.
- The management of Microfinance banks mostly recruit inexperienced staff for the purpose of paying poor salaries. On this note, WASSCE/GCE holders are normally recruited. Where this is done, the management of such banks should try to always send them for training to improve their skill. Professionals must also be recruited to train them. With this, the quality of the staff of such banks will be improved.
- Microfinance banking system is not expected to be complex. In view of this, Microfinance banks should have a simple organization chart like the one recommended by Central Bank of Nigeria; in their operational guidelines. Management should make sure that there is a well defined organization chart, allocating responsibilities commensurate with their responsibility.
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