Whatever your organisation’s size or the sector in which it operates, it should have a sound system of internal control to safeguard the assets of the organisation, help achieve its strategic objectives and mitigate risks. Internal controls are the checks and balances that organisations put in place to ensure that:
- Procedures are followed
- Individuals do not exceed their authority
- Fraud is prevented or, at the very least, detected
- Assets are protected
- Internal and external reports are based on reliable data
- The organisation complies with relevant regulatory and legal requirements
A strong system of internal control, supported by appropriate audit trails, also enables organisations to pick up discrepancies or mistakes caused, not necessarily by malfeasance, but by simple human error.
Internal Controls within larger organisations
If the organisation is large enough, this critical role could be fulfilled by an internal audit team or outsourced to a specialist provider. It is the responsibility of Internal Control, working closely with the Risk Management function, to identify any weaknesses in the control environment and address them.
Internal Controls within small to medium sized businesses
Having a system of Internal Controls is still important in smaller businesses. Whilst it may not be reasonable or practical to have a dedicated team or to outsource, it is still imperative that the business is able to detect and identify any weaknesses within the control environment. This could be in the form of an appropriate anti-fraud policy and having authorisation limits in place for spending.
What can Bridgehouse do to assist?
Bridgehouse can help you with your system of Internal Controls through our Fraud Prevention Services. These include:
- Reviewing the current system of controls in place
- Assistance with establishing a system of control and setting up an internal control team
- Help creating appropriate audit trails
- Drafting appropriate policies
- Drafting appropriate schemes of delegation/signing limits
Fraud prevention services+
Fraud can take a number of different guises. Threats include fraud as a result of organised crime, such as theft of goods or business identity, infringement of intellectual property, internal fraud by employees and fraud by rogue customers but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Cross-border crime – in which fraudsters are outside the UK – is also on the rise, making fraud more difficult to prevent and detect. The increase in online trading has also led to new forms of criminal activity, such as fresh ways to launder money and methods to defraud companies through email communication.→ find out more