The Internal Audit Unit is responsible for the audit of all financial transactions of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). It carries out a continuous examination of all accounting book and records maintain in the commission with a view to checking or detecting fraud, defalcation and correcting errors. It is concerned with the examination of the system and procedure in force so as to satisfy the accounting officer of the commission that the system of internal control is adequate and that it is continuously operating in accordance with government regulations by periodic testing of its effectiveness. It is to ensure that all financial transactions are in accordance with the approved regulations and that adequate system of security exists in the establishment.
The unit should be dependent and consequently should be directly responsible to the director-general, who is the chief executive. It should be properly organised, staffed and equipped to be able to effectively perform its functions. These should include periodic surprise cash survey in all sections of the commission, checking or revenue collectors, cash books, receipt books and bank tellers as well as stock verification at the stores and maintenance of plant registers and ledgers for the purpose of easy location and identification of the assets of the commission.
The unit is required to check all payment vouchers emanating from any section of the commission before payments are made. This arrangement known as pre-payment auditing of vouchers was previously confirmed to salaries and wages vouchers but has not been extended to cover other charges vouches as well as those for capital projects and below-the-line accounts. The provisions for the duties of the internal audit are contained in Chapter 22 of the Financial Regulation.
They include the discharge of its functions effectively and ensure complete coverage, the internal audit unit should draw up comprehensive Internal Audit Programmes to cover auditing of all books accounts and records of the commission at the headquarters and the stations. It should embrace the auditing of the cash book, the reconciliation of the cash book with cheque summary register, the paper money register, the receipt book register, personal emolument vouchers and records, the vote book, the payment voucher register, reconciliation of the vote book, with the main ledger, reconciliation of the main ledger balances with subsidiary ledger accounts, advances granted vis-à-vis advances ledger, imprests, inventory board, stationery stores ledger, plant and equipment, motor vehicle log books, journals and monthly transcripts. The details of the various steps in the checking of records enumerated earlier would be in the Audit Guide of the commission. The Internal Audit Programme, comprehensive as it may be, should be flexible in nature and in timing and should be meaningful in terms of its objectives.
The Internal Audit of the commission and the stations should submit quarterly and yearly report to the accounting officer, that is, the director-general. The head of accounts of the commission should be given copies of all reports and queries/observations during any audit exercise for explanation or rectifications as the case may be. The unit should therefore keep a Query Register for all queries raised and for proper follow-up.
Audit programme should extend to cover the records of the commission, its departments and units to ensure that:
(a) Safeguards put in place for the prevention and prompt detection of fraud and loss of cash, stores or plants are instruction as well as internal checks.
(b) The system of the control of the collection or revenue is adequate and that moneys received are promptly brought to account, to the correct head and subhead.
(c) The system for the control of expenditure is adequate and that all payments made are properly authorized and correct, are paid to the right person, made for the purpose for which they were authorized.
(d) The system for the control of the issue and consumption of stores is adequate; that issues are properly authorized and correct; that issues are made to the right personal and are used for the purpose for which they are authorized.
(e) There are adequate means for the verification of all cash, stores and plant held.
(f) The accounting records are accurate.
Auditing progress register: Use provision of FR 2205 to operate one.
Audit guide: One should be drawn up for the use of the audit staff, setting out concisely the nature and extend of the checks to be applied to each account or record.
It should contain the following: Nature of the account, relationship of the functions of the commission departments, units, eference to the basic law, accounting instructions or other instructions of Government.
Audit queries: Audit queries constitute a very vital part of the mechanism of financial control, accountability and serves as other malpractices. This document is employed to draw attention to some irregularities in documents and procedures of financial implications received from accounts and other departments for checking and passing with a view to effecting necessary corrections.
The document first provides observation(s) on the documents, e.g. payment vouchers, cashbook, etc. followed by the advice that steps should be taken to regularises them. Any practice which contravenes any of the provisions already discussed in other sections of this manual will attract an audit query.
It is important that an officer of sufficient seniority and experience should be assigned the responsibilities of all queries and inspection reports, etc. in accordance with Financial Regulations 109.
Steps in dealing with audit queries:
(a) Audit queries are normally issued with treasury form and addressed to the head of accounts in the headquarters of the head of the accounts section in the stations. Where he is not in position to provide necessary answers to the query, it should be referred to the relevant officer whether or not that officer is in the Accounts Department, who should promptly respond to enable the head of account forward answers to the query together with the queried payment voucher to the Internal Audit Unit for further action and clearance.
(b) Audit queries should be given prompt attention and proper register maintained in Accounts and Audits Departments to show movement and disposal of these queries. Enter particulars of queries in the Register.
(c) Audit queries should always be forwarded to appropriate officer who should be requested to furnish replies to the queries within a specified time. Issue a reminder as a follow-up action when necessary. Any unsatisfactory reply should also be pursued to conclusion within a reasonable period.
(d) Copies of queries, replies and supporting documents should be properly kept for future records.
(e) Heads of Accounts Unit should be fully concerned with the records and action taken on queries and maintain regular supervision.
(f) Audit queries should not be regarded as a personalized issued. Auditors are therefore required to be very objective in their audit queries while respondents are also enjoined to maintain similar attitude in this matter.
(g) Specimen of Audit Query form (TF 526) and Audit Query Register are on pages 126, 127 of this manual.
Progress reports: This is produce to certify to what degree one is satisfied with;
(1) The safeguards against fraud, etc.
(2) Control of issued and consumption of stores.
(3) Control of receipts and payments.
(4) Verification of cash and stores.
(5) Accuracy of the accounting records.
Omozuapo writes from National Commission for Museums and Monuments, headquarters, Abuja.