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Internal Audit And Financial Control, College of Banking and Financial Studies, Oman

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Task 1: Report To The Head Of Internal Audit:

Answer: To: Head of Internal Audit

From: Internal Audit Team

Subject: Risks faced by FINCH GROUP because of lack in the control measures being adopted by the company for controlling the activities of sales executives & Recommendation of suitable controls for streamlining their activities

a) Risks Faced By Finch Group As A Result Of Lack Of Control Over The Activities Of Sales Executives:

In case there is absence of appropriate control policies on the activities of sales executives wherein the company have no checks or controls in place for the same, it can results in huge losses. In case of the company assessed by us which is the Finch Group, there has been observations jotted from the activities conducted wherein it has been concluded that the expenses incurred on the sales executives very high and is rapidly increasing since the last three years. The reason for the same that is observed and which is also very apparent is the fact that there is lack of control over the executives of sales with respect to their activities as well as expenses incurred by them which the company completely bears. The risks faced by Finch Group are listed below:

• Controls over the contacts held by the sales executives: The Finch Group sales executives are responsible and are vested with the duty of maintaining relationship with the existing clients as well as they are also responsible for making new clients and new business opportunities. Since the executives are assigned to different geographical areas, there exists a risk since the executives are responsible for making decisions and there is no proper checks installed for controlling the same because it might happen that sometime due to some weakness in making judgements of the executives there might be loss in business of the company.

• Controls on the expenses incurred by the sales executives: The Finch Group sales executives spending more time in the field work are provided with the company's car, fuel and mobile phone expenses. Over and above that the accommodation, meals and the costs of entertainment of the customers are met by the company. However, there is no checks implemented for the same and there is no limits of expenses set on the executives. This leads to risk of having expenses incurred for personal expenses being paid by the company. The executives since have no limit of expenses can show false expenses or their personal expenses for imbursements from the company.

• Non-inspection of Daily routines of sales executive: The executives of the company visits office once in a month and therefore there exists a risk of making leaves unnecessarily without controls being imposed. Moreover, the executives have no daily routine check-ups by the managers. All this leading to risks of executives performances getting down.

b) Recommendation Of Suitable Controls That Should Be Implemented By Regional Managers And Finance Department For Streamlining Activities:

There should be controls that should be implemented for streamlining the activities of the executives of sales of the company. The recommendations regarding taking suitable control measures are many wherein adoption of the same will help in streamlining activities. There should be daily and routine check up of the actions undertaken by the sales executives during discharge of their activities so that any manipulation thing being done by them can be controlled. The managers should examine the validity of the expenses incurred by the sales executives on the car, fuel, mobile, accommodation, meal and entertainment. All the expenses incurred by the sales executives should be examined along with effective supporting so that the validity of the same can be checked.There should be certain limits of expenses that should be fixed by the manager's basis the area and the division being taken care off by the executives. Over and above that the sales executives should be required to get approval from the regional managers and on a huge expenses the regional manager should get approvals from the finance department before incurring the same. The managers should set day wise targets instead of setting monthly targets or weekly targets. This is because doing this the accountability of the field work of the sales executives can have proper justification.

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Task 2: Internal Audit Must Embrace Change Or Sink Like A Stone:

Answer: 1) Evaluation Of Challenges Faced By Internal Auditors Using Examples:

Internal audit is the examination of the financial statements prepared by the management internally at a regular interval. Though the reporting requirements of this audit is not as strict as statutory reporting still there is a need to have internal audit to be done effectively so that there is no errors and manipulation in the annual reports prepared by the company. There are many challenges that are faced during conduct of internal audit are challenges due to Dynamic Technology. The auditor conducting internal audit have to keep himself updated with the changes in technology of the company. For example, if the company updates its accounting software, the auditor needs to have knowledge of the same. The threat due to cybercrime. Protecting against cybercrime can be achieved whenthe auditor needs to have protection against cybercrime. For example, the auditor should check whether company have proper systems installed for maintaining cyber security. The auditor needs to have specialisation on the subjects which have amendments in huge numbers and at large frequency. There should be some Value Addition. The auditor needs to have some value addition to the organisation through their activities and functioning. For example, there should be highlighted all the alarming situations of the company to the chief officers as observed during internal audit conducted.The internal auditor serves two masters- the board and the senior management and therefore it is of utmost importance that the auditor is unbiased and free from any influence while preparation of its report i.e. he should be free from any biasness. For example, if the auditor is influenced by any of the master and manipulates its report, he is ultimately playing with the financials of the company.

2. Positive Impact Of Information Technology On The Performance Of Internal Audit:

Information Technology plays a very vital role in the accounting field. This is because this has helped in smoothening and speeding up the system of the accounting within a company. Although the technology keeps on updating and therefore at times it difficult to cope with the same but still there are many positive impacts of the same like Speed, Effectiveness, Improvement in Decision Making, Reducing Routine Tasks, Reducing Frauds, etc. The speed and the time that were earlier required for conducting internal audit have increased over period of time because of the adoption and updating of the information technology. The reports of internal audit prepared using the information technology are effective as because any calculation error or presentation error is being taken care of by the information technology itself. Using information technology helps the management in getting improved data thereby improving company's decision making.The routine tasks are auto performed and therefore the time thus saved is utilised in making creative business analysis. The information technology helps in creating an error free system and therefore fraud is also reduced.There is improved governance of the organization due to the adoption of the information technology while conducting internal audit.The causes of issues generated or existing in case of the company's financials can be determined along with the detailed knowledge of the root causes.

3. Interrelation In Between Effective Internal Control, Internal Audit, Audit Committee And Corporate Governance Contributes To The Effectiveness Of Internal Audit:

Internal Control: This means the checks set within the company by its management so that the errors can be identified and a check can be kept within the functioning of the company.

Internal Audit: This means examination of the books of accounts and other financial reports prepared by the management for the reference of the board to see where the company stands.

Audit Committee: This is an independent committee which is responsible for the effective and unbiased conduct of audit and timely conduct of the same.

Corporate Governance: This means company meeting up with the regulations and requirement of the body governing the company.

Therefore, we can see that all the above aspects are related with the company's control systems and ultimately with its results. The audit and the audit committee is therefore formed so that it functions smoothly and helps in attainment of the goals of audit by acting as a watchdog on the activities of the corporates and the auditors. The auditing helps in having a professional opinion on the financials which are being prepared by the company's management which is of independent nature and is free from any biasness.The fact that there exists a relation which is very strong among the above is because in case where internal control of the company is very effective, then the report of internal audit is very clear on which the audit committee gives a fair opinion and thereby the regulators are satisfied with the fact that the company is meeting up with the requirements of corporate governance.

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