Internal control, in accounting and auditing terms, is defined as a process affected by an organisation's structure, work and authority flows, people and management information systems, designed to help the organisation accomplish specific goals or objectives.
It is a means by which an organisation's resources are directed, monitored, and measured. It plays an important role in preventing and detecting fraud and protecting the organisation's resources, both physical (e.g., machinery and property) and intangible (e.g., reputation or intellectual property such as trademarks).
At the organisational level, internal control objectives relate to the reliability of financial reporting, timely feedback on the achievement of operational or strategic goals, and compliance with laws and regulations. At the specific transaction level, internal control refers to the actions taken to achieve a specific objective (e.g., how to ensure the organisation's payments to third parties are for valid services rendered.) Internal control procedures reduce process variation, leading to more predictable outcomes.
Internal control is a key element of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, which required improvements in internal control in United States public corporations. Internal controls within business entities are also referred to as operational controls.
Under the COSO Internal Control-Integrated Framework, a widely-used framework in the United States, internal control is broadly defined as a process, affected by an entity's board of directors, management, and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories: a) Effectiveness and efficiency of operations; b) Reliability of financial reporting; and c) Compliance with laws and regulations.
Irrespective of the need for regulatory compliance it is imperative that businesses today have a strong internal control framework. Companies who can demonstrate strong internal controls have a distinct advantage over lesser controlled competitors. It is accepted that an Organisations' data is one of its most valuable assets - therefore the Database(s) which contains this significant asset needs to be well controlled and managed. Ategrity Solutions can tailor a managed Database auditing service that suits your requirements and budget.
Please contact us for more information on how we can create a managed Database Auditing Service which will greatly benefit your Organisation!