1.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Internal control is the set of accounting and administrative control and practices that helps managers in operating their organization more effectively and efficiently. It ensures that both the accounting and administrative activities are in order with the laid down procedures, standards, and statutory requirements. It also detects deviation if any and calls for immediate corrective measure. In any profit oriented organization, the objective of management is to maximize profit, and internal control is a technique that can be of assistance in attaining such maximizations.
Banking is a venture undertaken primarily for profit and whose operation should at least include taking money on account and releasing of such money wholly or partly on demand or authority of the depositor.
An important object of banking particularly in the developing countries is the promotion of economic development. In pursuance of this economic development as well as banks’ profitability, banks tends to improve on their services by devising methods of sound and effective system of internal control.
This study therefore, intends to evaluate how the internal control policies have affected the profit performance of commercial banks with particular reference to Orient Bank of Nigeria Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc.
There have been incessant cases and stories been told about high frequency of fraud, embezzlement, overcharging, manipulation, missing files and ledger cards and other banking malpractices in banks today, with the management and shareholders not knowing how to handle the adverse situation.
The Orient Bank of Nigeria (OBN) Plc and United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc were not left out in these increase in crime – wave problems and banking malpractices, despite the existence of inter-control and devices adopted to detect fraud. This situation has culminated in the lack of confidence by the staff, shareholders and customer over the growth and profitability of the banks.
Moreso, with the proliferation of banks and also the increase in rural banking, with commercial bank’s branches, the volume of accounting records has drastically increased, thereby necessitating the appraisal of the adequacy and reliability of records, and overall efficiency of operations.
Furthermore, with the public interest in the “truth and fairness” of financial statements – profit and loss account and balance sheet, whose stratum of reliable is on the internal control system, the research is therefore aimed at investigating the extent of adherence to the internal control system and its impact on the profit performance of the banks.
The objective of this research include among others the following:
1. To identify and appraise the internal control designed, installed and operated by the management of OBN and UBA with a view to assessing its impact on profit performance.
2. To examine the extent of adherence or compliance to the policies, standards and procedures by the members of the staff in order to recommend operating improvement.
3. To identify possible deficiencies and weaknesses of the existing internal control to find means of ameliorating them.
4. To review the profit performance of the banks OBN and UBA and relate it to their internal control.
5. To critically analyze the effectiveness, adequacy and applicability of the various internal control.
6. To offer useful recommendation to proper design, installation and operation of an adequate and good internal control system.
1.4 SIGNIFICANT OF STUDY
The research is intended to define the level of internal control and its impact on profitability of OBN and UBA Plc. It will be of great importance to the banking staff especially the managers and officers whose interest are geared towards the enhancement of the chances of bank profitability; in serving as a guide in the performance of their duties. It will assess the effect of fraud, manipulations, errors, improper authorization,
A comprehensive knowledge of system of internal control will form a foundation on which the auditor’s report on “true and fair view” final account is based and as such, the study will be of immense values to the practicing Accountants, Auditors, Lawyers, shareholder and other interested parties for acceptance and reliance of financial statement.
Furthermore, it will include more research in the improvement of banking services in Nigeria for the interest of the shareholders, customers and government.
Finally, the study will provide the basis for recommendation to the management of the best approach to designing, installing and operating an improved system of internal control aimed at promoting operational efficiency and eliminating or at least minimizing waste.
1.5 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESIS
1. The management of OBN and UBA Plc designed and installed 50% good system of internal control which their policies, standards and procedures are adhered to by the members of the staff.
2. The system of internal control adopted by UBA Plc enhances its profit performance than the system adopted by OBN Plc.
3. The present internal control systems adopted by the banks are effective and adequately operated.
4. The existing internal control systems of the banks enhance their profit performance.
A. Responses to questions of the general questionnaire will be tested to obtain the part played by the management in the design and installation of internal control and ensuring that the policies standards and procedures are adhered to.
B. Oral interview will be conducted on the bank officials at their convenience for elaborate discussion on the extent of staff adherence to the installed system.
There will be proper investigation of documents and records to find out the reliability of the oral responses.
HYPOTHESIS II:This hypothesis will be tested based on the comparative analysisof the ages and financial statement of the Bank.
It will also be analyzed from the responses to the relevant areas covered by the questionnaire. Such areas include electronic data processing, purchasing, cash receipts and disbursement, petty cash, payroll and fix assets.
HYPOTHESIS III:This hypothesis will be tested with the following;
a) Oral interview will be conducted on the employees to find out the extent of their adherence to the procedural manual of the banks.
b) Further information will be elicited from responses to question 4,5 and 7 of the general questionnaires.
c) Employees will be observed during working hours (8am – 1.30pm) to ascertain the processes involved in their operations mainly withdrawals and deposits of money in the banks and also to detect errors and flaws.
d) A thorough study on authorization will be made to know whether employees conform to effective and adequate operation.
HYPOTHESIS IV:In analyzing this hypothesis, the following test will be carried out.
a) Data collected from the general questionnaire will be tested and also oral interview conducted. A five year financial statement will be analyzed and eachyear’s profit compared with the proceeding years to ascertain the direction of profit performance. This will then be matched with the degree of adherence to internal control features within these periods.
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
This study covered the internal control systems adopted by various commercial banks in Nigeria. The population sample was taken from only two banks OBN and UBA and their branches in Enugu State. Other parts of the country were not covered, though empirically generalized view was made of them.
The study was restricted to two major areas of internal centre. They are:
i) Administrative control
ii) Accounting and financial control (internal checks, internal audition and other financial system of control). This was done based on a
comprehensive understanding of the principles of good internal control. However, the study encountered a lot of constraints as regards time, money and sourcing of information. Effort geared towards obtaining adequate information proved abortive due to the uncooperative attitude of some interviewed staff. Besides, no bank likes the public to know the deficiencies in its internal control as the confidence reposed on it by the public might be lost. But, irrespective of these limitations, an in-depth study was still carried out.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The researcher at this point believes that some key words and terms that will be encountered while reading this research work will be defined.
1. Internal Control System: This is the whole system of controls, financial andotherwise established by the management in order to carry on the business of the
2. Internal Accounting/Financial Control: Measures that relate to protection ofassets and to the reliability of accounting information and financial statements.
3. Internal Administrative Control: A sub category of internal controls whichreply principally to operational efficiency and compliance with company policy and which do not bear directly on the dependability of financial statement.
4. Cheques: A cheque is a bill of exchange drawn on a banker, payable on demand”
(Bill of exchange ordinance 1917 73).
5. Embezzlement: Theft by a person of assets entrusted to him or her
6. Internal Auditing: An activity carried on in some organization by a professionalstaff to investigate and evaluate the system of internal control on a year round basis. Also to evaluate the efficiency of individual department within the organization.
7. Documentation: This includes all the charts, firms, tapes, reports and otherbusiness papers that guide and describe the working of a company’s system of accounting and internal control,
8. Fraud: Dishonest acts intended to deceive, often involving the theft of assets andfalsification of accounting records and financial statements.
9. Organization chart: A diagram showing organizational lines of authority andresponsibility with emphasis on separation of function.
10. Irregularities: Acts by individuals in an organization aimed at perpetrating fraudor embezzlement.
11. Fidelity bond: A form of insurance contract is which a bonding company agreesto reimburse an employer for losses caused by theft by bonded employees.
12. Independent Auditor: Professional level accountants that examine the books andrecords of companies and express opinions the accounting records in the interest of third parties.
13. Effectiveness: Attainment of a predetermined goal.
14. Efficiency: Relationship between inputs and outputs
15. Collusion: Where two or more persons conspire to commit an illegal act such asfraud and embezzlement.
16 Illegal Acts: Actions that are not in conformity with prescribed company practicesthat are capable of leading to fraud.
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