Internal Controls Program Overview
Internal Controls are the integration of the activities, plans, attitudes, policies and efforts of the people of an organization working together to provide reasonable assurance that the organization will achieve its objectives and mission. Internal controls are an integral part of the operating procedures management uses to accomplish its mission and achieve its goals.
An effective system of Internal Controls can give managers the means to provide accountability for their programs, as well as the means to obtain reasonable assurance that the programs they direct meet established goals and objectives. While managers have a significant impact on the organization's system of internal control, every employee of the organization has a responsibility and a role in ensuring that the system is effective in achieving the college's mission.
SUNY Delhi's Internal Controls Program is comprised of four main components (Segmentation, Risk Assessment, Reviews, and Training) designed to ensure that daily operating practices and procedures are sufficient to minimize the possibility of operational failure, overspending, or other actions inconsistent with campus policies or violations of law by reviewing, evaluating, and improving the college's existing systems and procedures. SUNY Delhi's Internal Controls program is developed in accordance with The New York State Governmental Accountability, Audit, and Internal Controls Act of 1987 and SUNY's Internal Controls Guidelines.
The New York State Governmental Accountability, Audit and Internal Controls Act of 1987 (Internal Controls Act) requires all state agencies, including each SUNY campus, to maintain a system of internal controls and a formal Internal Controls program.
There are six requirements of the Internal Controls Act:
- Establish and maintain written Internal Controls guidelines;
- Establish and maintain an Internal Controls system and a program for continuous review of operations;
- Make a clear and concise statement of management's policies and standards available to all employees;
- Designate an Internal Controls Officer;
- Educate and train all employees on Internal Controls standards and evaluation techniques; and
- Evaluate the need for an internal audit function.
There are six specific objectives to SUNY Delhi's Internal Controls Program:
- Compliance with laws, regulations, contracts, policies, and guidelines;
- Accomplishment of the college's goals and mission;
- Recording and reporting of reliable and accurate information and data;
- Economical, efficient and effective use of resources to provide quality services;
- Safeguarding of resources against loss due to waste, abuse, mismanagement, errors and fraud;
- Providing effective training to all staff on the importance of meeting Delhi's objectives in regards to the Internal Controls program.
Responsibilities that all employees are expected to perform:
- Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities established in your job description;
- Meeting applicable performance standards;
- Attending education and training programs as appropriate to increase awareness and understanding;
- Taking all reasonable steps to safeguard assets against waste, loss, unauthorized use and misappropriation;
- Reporting breakdowns in Internal Controls systems to your supervisor; and
- Refraining from the use of your official position to secure unwarranted privileges.
The following are examples of the college's management policies and standards with which, when applicable, all employees are expected to comply:
- Policies issued by the SUNY Board of Trustees
- Pertinent collective bargaining agreements
- NYS Ethics Law
- The Public Officers Law
- Drug and alcohol use in the workplace
- Affirmative Action policies and procedures
- Duties and performance standards as established in job descriptions and performance
The above items can be viewed in SUNY Delhi's Faculty and Staff Handbook or are available through the Human Resources Office.
In addition to employee responsibilities, managers are expected to:
- Retain competent, qualified staff;
- Communicate and encourage ethical values of the organization;
- Maintain an office environment that supports good internal controls;
- Document policies and procedures to be followed in performing office functions;
- Identify the control objectives for the functions, and implement cost effective controls designed to meet those objectives;
- Regularly test the controls to determine if they are performing as intended; and
- Respond to changes in the operating environment.
Internal Controls Reviews
An Internal Controls review analyzes procedures and policies to ensure they are functioning as intended and that they assist the unit in attaining its goals and meeting its objectives. Reviews are structured to assess areas with an inherent amount of high risk due to the nature of the functional area or other high risk factors such as turnover, recent material changes in policies and procedures, or the level of complexity involved within the function. Reviews are conducted in accordance with SUNY Internal Controls Guidelines to ensure compliance with The New York State Governmental Accountability, Audit, and Internal Controls Act of 1987.
Training is an ongoing component of SUNY Delhi's Internal Controls Program. Training is available and provided to all employees in several formats including formal training sessions, written guidelines, and reference materials.
Every member of the college has a role in the system of internal control. Internal Controls is people-dependent. It is developed by people; it guides people; it provides people with a means of accountability; and people carry it out. In short, a successful Internal Controls Program requires effort from every member of the college. SUNY Delhi's goal is to provide adequate training to help all employees understand the importance of their role in the campus's system of internal controls, how it operates, and the benefits it provides.