Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Auditing of Educational Institutions

INTRODUCTION;2 DEFINITIONS3 Auditing3 Financial statements:4 Educational institutions4 FINANCIAL AUDITING:5 Objectives of auditing:5 Primary objects6 Subsidiary objects:6 General Principles Governing an Audit of Financial Statements6 Qualities of an auditor:7 Types of audit:7 Statutory audits:7 Private audits7 Internal audits:7 Required procedures:8 Auditors report:9 AUDITING OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS9 INTRODUCTION:9 Background of auditing educational institutions:9 Reasons and purposes of auditing school accounts:10 Expectations of the schools’ accounts auditor:12 Types of auditing13 Internal auditing14 External auditing:15 Records and books of accounts for external auditing. 17 Audit report21 CONCLUSION22 Reference23 INTRODUCTION Since schools are public agencies, their raising and spending of money must be reviewed on a yearly and needs basis. This paper reviews auditing in educational institutions and specifically Kenyan Educational institutions. The paper starts by giving detailed definitions of key words which are essential in the discussion of auditing. However, a background to financial auditing is first discussed to give an insight on the same. Areas of general auditing covered include: need of auditing, objectives and general principles of auditing, qualities of an auditor, required procedures and the auditor’s report. Having discussed auditing in general, the paper goes further to discuss auditing in educational institutions and starts by giving a background to the same, reasons and purposes of auditing school accounts, expectations of the school accounts auditor, types of school auditing, records and books of accounts used for auditing and finally the audit report. DEFINITIONS Auditing The Auditing Practices Board (APB), (2002), defines audit of financial statements as an exercise whose objective is to enable auditors to express an opinion whether the financial statements give a true and fair (or equivalent) of the entity’s affairs at the periods and of its profit or loss or income and expenditure for the period then ended and have been properly prepared in accordance with the applicable reporting framework. for example relevant legislation and applicable accounting standards ) or where statutory or other specific requirements prescribe the term present fairly. Okumbe (1998), states that auditing deals with the investigation of the financial records of an educational organization in order to ascertain the objectivity and accuracy of the financial statements. Okumbe further suggest that auditing is an activity which appraises the accuracy and completeness of the accounting system applied by the educational organization. According to Milli champ. A (2006), auditing is an activity carried on by the auditors when he verifies accounting data determines the accuracy and the reliability of accounting statements and reports and then reports upon his efforts. Millichamp asserts that, it is an activity carried out by an independent person with the aim of reporting on the truth and fairness of financial statement. Wango (2007) defines auditing as the assessment of accounting records and procedures of a business or government unit by a trained accountant for the purpose of verifying the accuracy and ompleteness of records. Wango illustrates that auditors generally want to determine whether the correct procedures are followed and whether embezzlement or other illegal activity occurred. Nyongesa (2007) defines auditing as a systematic method of determining whether or not school funds and property have been used in a proper way. According to him, audits are proposals of school finances and property practices and records. Auditing therefor e is a detailed study of the control of books and accounts such as subsidiary records. The study determines legality, accuracy, accounting and application of how school funds for example, have been utilized. This paper will however adopt a definition given in a UNESCO report of 2007, thus, auditing refers to a process whereby all accounts of the school are examined and evaluated in detail by a competent auditor in order to determine and report on the financial standing of the school for the period under review. Financial statements: According to business dictionary. om:financial management refers to the planning, directing ,monitoring organizing and controlling of monetary resources of an organization Educational institutions Thesaurus defines educational institutions as organizations dedicated to education Financial Auditing: According to Millichamp (2006), the problem which has always existed when managers’ report to owners is: can the owners believe the financial report. This is because the report may contain errors, not disclose fraud, be inadvertently misle ading, be deliberately misleading, fail to disclose relevant information or fail to conform to regulations. Millichamp suggests that the solution to this problem of credibility in reports and accounts lies in appointing an independent person called an auditor to investigate the report and report on his findings. In general, published accounts are required to confirm to the accounting standards. Part of the auditors’ duties is to assess whether or not the financial statements he is auditing do comply in general and in detail with the accounting standards. Auditing is carried out by accountants in public practice. Accountancy is a profession and professions have certain characteristics including an ethical code and rules of conduct. Objectives of auditing: The auditor should be an independent person who is appointed to investigate the organization, its records and the financial statements prepared from them and thus form an opinion on the accuracy and correctness of financial statements. The primary objective of an audit is to enable the auditor to say that these accounts show a true and fair view or of course to say that they don’t. The main objects of an audit according to Millichamp (2006) can thus be categorized as below: Primary objects To produce a report by the auditor of his opinion of the truth and fairness of financial statements, so that any person reading and using the m can have belief in them. The auditor gives his opinion on those financial statements taken as a whole and thereby to produce reasonable assurance that the financial statements give a true and fair view (where relevant) and have been prepared in accordance with the relevant accounting or other requirements. Subsidiary objects: * To detect errors and fraud. * To prevent errors and fraud by deterrent and moral effect of the audit. To provide a spin-off effects General Principles Governing an Audit of Financial Statements The financial statements audited under international standards iv are the balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements VI and the notes thereto. The first International Standard on Auditing, ISA 1 (Subject matter Number 200) vii, discusses the principles governing an audit of financial statements: a) ISA 200 (1) st ates that an auditor could comply with the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants issued by IFAC. ) ISA 200 further states that the auditor should conduct an audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing. c) The term â€Å"scope of an audit† refers to the audit procedures deemed necessary in the circumstances to achieve the objective of the audit. d) An audit in accordance with ISAs is designed to provide reasonable assurance. e) There are certain inherent limitations in an audit that affect the auditor’s ability to detect material misstatements. f) The audit of the financial statements does not relieve management of its responsibilities. Qualities of an auditor: Auditors being professionals are expected to uphold certain qualities. Some of these qualities according to Millichamp (2006) include: independence, competence, and integrity. Types of audit: Statutory audits: These are audits carried out because the law requires them Private audits These are conducted by independent auditors because the owners desire it and not because the law requires it. Internal audits: These are conducted by an employee of an organization or an outside contractor into any aspects of its affairs. It is an independent appraisal function established by the management of an organization for the review of the internal control system as a service to the organization. Required procedures: Before commencing any professional work, an accountant /auditor should agree in writing the precise scope and nature of work to be undertaken. This is done through the medium of an engagement letter. The letter serves the following purposes: * Defining clearly the extent of the auditor’s responsibilities. Minimizing misunderstanding between the auditor and the client. * Confirming in writing verbal arrangement. * Confirming acceptance by the audit of his engagement. * Informing and educating the client. On agreement the auditor observes the following procedures: * Background research * Preparation of the audit plan * Accounting system review substantive testing * Analytical review techniques * Analytical review of financial statements * Preparation and signing of report. Auditors report: At the end of his report when the auditor has examined the organization, its records and its financial statements, the auditor produces a report addressed to the owners in which he expresses his opinion of the truth and fairness and sometimes other aspects of the financial statements. The auditor in his report says that in his opinion, the financial statements show a true and fair view. The reader or user will know from his knowledge of audit whether or not to rely on the auditors’ opinion. If the auditor is known to be independent, honest and competent then his opinion will be relied AUDITING OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS INTRODUCTION: Having looked at financial auditing, this section of the paper will now focus on auditing of educational institutions. A detailed background of auditing in educational institutions will be discussed, reasons and purpose, expectations of the school accounts auditor, types of auditing which can/are practiced, records and books of accounts used for audit purposes in schools and finally the schools’ audit report. Background of auditing educational institutions: According to Rajeev (2005), education has turned into a big business now. Apart from the government controlled schools, colleges, institutes and universities , the entry of private sector into these areas have provided not only new opportunities to the chartered accountants who are in service ,but have created an altogether new challenge to the chartered accountant who are in practice. Education institutions are very much different from other business organizations and the process of audit of institutions is also very different, from that of other business enterprises. Wango(2007),suggests that financial management is the process of planning and utilization of school funds in an efficient and effective manner and in accordance with regulations and procedures. Wango says that financial management is an indispensable part of school management. Prudent financial management is usually precondition of a good school since the way schools funds are managed largely determined the overall school performance. The school management and the head teacher are responsible for planning, controlling monitoring school finances. The head teacher is the accounting officer in the school. The head teacher and the accountants (school bursar) must be very vigil on school accounts. Given that Primary and Secondary schools are receiving a lot of money from the government, there is certainly going to be greater pressure to be open and transparent. School funds will be more closely monitored and stakeholders including parents will demand even more efficient use of school finances. Reasons and purposes of auditing school accounts: Okumbe (1998), points out that the purpose of auditing is not to uncover mismanagement or embezzlement of the funds. According to him the major objectives however include: i) To determine whether the financial statement made by an educational organization are accurate in both calculations of figures and in applications of the recommended accounting guidelines. i) To determine whether educational organization uses procedures which comply with legal provisions, policies, and procedures stipulated by the ministry of education or the relevant body. i) To identify any operational problems in the accounting procedures used by the educational organization so as to provide remedial recommendations for improvement. iii) To enable the auditor to form a opinion on the accounting of the financial statement prepared by the school for a given period. Nyongesa (2007) notes that the major purpose of auditing is to protect school property and funds as well as the administrators involved in handling s chool property and funds. He further goes ahead to state that, head teachers are solely responsible for the proper use of school property and money. They therefore need to be protected against any improper use of school money and property by themselves or any other personnel in the school. Formerly, the emphasis on school auditing was placed on the discovery of fraud and detection of errors (Knezevich, 1967). Those two functions are least emphasized in modern times because any auditing is viewed as a means of knowing how property are used in schools. According to Nyongesa, the main purpose of auditing in a school is to: * Protect any school official in charge of school property and funds. Show proper and improper use of property and funds. * Verify that all financial accounts have been accurately recorded. * Provide suggestions in improving the school financial system. * Review all the school operations within a fiscal period. According to a UNESCO report (2002), auditing school accounts is the final stage in the process of managing school funds. At the end of each financial or budget period, the school head has a statutory respo nsibility to prepare and present to school financial bodies an audited financial report. This should give a true and fare view of the financial position of the school. The report states that, in many countries, financial accountability is one of the major responsibilities of the school board of governors/directors and the school head. Government statutes usually include sections outlining the financial principles and practices which boards and heads must follow to achieve accountability for the funds they collect and receive to run their schools. The Ministry of Education also issues financial regulations from time to time whereby audited accounts of a given financial period must be submitted to facilitate financial decisions, for example a case of Kenya where there are grants and donations for the running of free education. Finally, auditing helps the head teachers to improve the schools accounting systems thus enhancing their skills in financial management and evaluates his or her performance. Expectations of the schools’ accounts auditor: Qualified auditors are the only ones authorized to examine and verify the books of accounts of any formal organization. They are skilled in the techniques of auditing and they are governed by international professional ethics. Because auditing of school accounts must be done with reasonable care and skill, the auditor must be professionally trained and qualified with an independent mental attitude about the school. He/she must have reputable and known personal qualities which would support his/her opinion about the schools’ financial statement. School boards of governors are corporate bodies and by state they are responsible for engaging auditors through the terms of a formal contract which is binding to both parties. The contract with the auditor must state clearly the tasks expected, the terms of payment and the date when the report must be completed and submitted to the board. The auditor should not have any vested interest in the school and the contract should be between him and the board but not with the school head. A school head teacher has a statutory responsibility to prepare and submit financial statements which give a true and fair view of the financial standing of the school. Types of auditing There are two types of audits operational in the Kenyan school system: internal audit and external audit. Both audits are used in institutions of higher learning, mostly the universities. The external audits are the only audit used in primary, secondary schools and the teacher training colleges. However, a report by UNESCO (2002), states that every educational organization must carry out the two types of auditing for accountability and credibility of their financial statements because they are public agencies. The inspectorate is charged with the responsibility of conducting the auditing process in schools and the teacher training colleges. An approved firm of accountants is charged with that auditing responsibility especially with the university accounts. As far as the inspectorate is concerned, books of accounts should be in the Provincial Director of Education (PDEs’) office by or before 31st January of the ensuing year for auditing. After being audited, these books should be submitted to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education (Nyongesa, 2007:133). The types of auditing are thus discussed below: Internal auditing According to Okumbe (1998), there should be an officer whose duty is to perform the tasks of internal auditing. This is because internal auditing enables an organization to appraise the effectiveness of its financial management techniques and control. However, Okumbe asserts that educational managers are expected to be conversant with auditing techniques within the organization so that he/she may help in detecting financial management flaws before it is too late to alleviate them. Nevertheless, some schools are small entities where internal auditing may not be necessary, especially where the accounts staff is competent. In any case, the school head is directly involved to authorizing and approving expenses and signing cheques and the finance committee of the board may inspect and carry out internal control of the funds. UNESCO report (2008), defines internal auditing as a management activity and a service intended to ensure regular and frequent checking on a schools’ financial transactions and records. According to the report, an internal auditor is normally an employee of the school e. g. a deputy head whose main role is to supervise the accounts staff to ensure efficiency in the day to day management of the school finances. Robert (1995), points out that the requirement of multiple signatories for the approval of purchase order constitutes an internal audit of purchasing. The accounting or book keeping department may also perform an audit on the general ledger prior to closing the financial statements at the end of each month. It has been noted that internal auditing is to ensure regular and frequent checking of the financial transactions of the school. A schedule for internal auditing should include and outline the objectives, procedures to be followed the frequency and the methods of communicating or reporting the information to management. An internal audit report should point out areas of weakness and strength in the accounts records and books and draw the attention of management to any irregularities in the transactions. Information from internal auditing must be reliable complete and available on call to enable the head and the board to make quick decisions where necessary. External auditing: Robert et al (1995), defines an external audit as an objective systematic review of resources and operation followed by a written or oral report of findings. According to Robert et al, there are three basic types of external audits namely: the financial compliance audits which address the fairness of presentation of basic financial management in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP);secondly there is the Program compliance audit which is a review of a local agency (LEA) adherence to the educational and financial requirements of specific finding source and lastly the third type is a performance audit which addresses the economy and efficiency of LEAs. This examines the LEAs internal controls for weaknesses which would expose possible mismanagement or fraud. Okumbe (1998), states that external auditing is performed by agencies from outside the educational organization. The main aim being to ascertain that the organization has complied with the stipulated financial control mechanisms. According to a UNESCO report external auditing is an independent report on the financial performance of the school, in accordance with the terms of the contract agreed with the school. The focus of external auditing is on establishing the truth and fairness of the accounts. It gives added credibility to unaudited financial statements and records of the schools financial transactions and confirms their compliance to the statutes. In most secondary schools in Kenya, an external audit is carried out by the quality and standards officers who are specialized in accounting principles. According to Nyongesa (2007), there are four other audits which the school administrator; particularly the head teacher should understand and use. These are: a)Special audits-these are carried out in case of suspicion ,error, or fraud for example; when the head teacher suspects the school bursar of committing a fraud regarding school fees ,they inform the board of governors which then hires an external auditor to carry out special audit to establish the truth. b) Pre-audits –these occur before budgetary transactions commence and are used to guard against fraudulent use of school funds by head teachers . they protect schools official from the embarrassment of unwise spending of school money and wrongful use of school property. ) Continuous audits-occur throughout the year to improve educational program. These should be carried out to ensure that the funds are spent wisely and for the purpose for which they were budgeted for. d) Post audits –carried out immediately the fiscal year to allow for enough time for the budgeting next fiscal year. They help the head teacher to know how much they spent in the previous year and how much less or more they need for each school item (activity) during the coming fiscal year. Finally, the functions of internal auditing and external auditing may seem to overlap but it should be noted that the former is a management measure to ensure the daily efficiency in managing school funds, while the latter evaluates the adherence to the accepted principles, practices and statutory provisions of management in financial transactions. However, when an internal auditing is properly done, it will cut down on the cost of the external auditing (UNESCO report, 2002) Records and books of accounts for external auditing. After signing the contract, the school head must submit to the auditor all accounts; records and books to facilitate his/her work. All the relevant evidence must also be included to enable the auditor to draw conclusions on the state of school accounts. The head teacher should be ready to give oral evidence and to allow any inspection of assets which the auditor may consider necessary because auditors are in highly privileged position and have statutory rights to demand such information and explanations as they consider necessary for the purpose of auditing. Rajeev, 2005) A UNESCO report says that the auditor’s report is reached by a process of examining and evaluating all documents or evidence pertaining to the financial transactions of the school. In a school, books of accounts are usually written and kept by the bursar. A primary record in the school s financial statements is the general ledger. This consists of figures and records from various journals which give the daily records of financial transactions in the; a school cash book where the daily cash income and expenditure is recorded. A petty cash voucher may also be used along with the cash book. Almost all assets, liabilities, income and expenses clear through the cash account and the auditors will spend time carefully examining the cash book to establish the validity and reliability of other financial statements. Rajeev (2005), states that the following areas are also crucial in conducting the audit of any educational institution: 1) The constitution:- * Study the trust deed or any other similar document to ascertain the constitution of the educational institution. Make a note of provisions contained in the regulations which may affect accounts. 2) Minute’s books:- Peruse the minutes of the meeting of the governing body making a note of the resolutions affecting accounts. Ensure that the decisions taken have been duly complied with e. g. sanctioning of expenditures, operation of bank accounts, and rejection of any financial proposal. 3) Fees from students: – * Check the names entered in the students fee register for each month on term, with the respective clas s register, showing names of students on rolls and testing amount of fees charged. * See that the system of internal check ensures that demands against the students are properly raised. Verify fees received by comparing counterfoils of receipts given with entries in the cash book. * Ascertain whether fees paid in advance have been duly considered under the sanction of appropriate authority. * Verify admission fees with admission slips signed by the principal of the institution and confirming that the amount has been credited to a capital fund or separate account if decided so by the governing body * Ascertain whether hostel dues were recovered before students’ accounts were closed and their deposit of caution money refunded. Report any old arrears on account of fees, dormitory rent, etc to the governing body or management committee. 4) Other income:- * Verify any government or local body grant with the memo of grant. * Ascertain the reasons if any expenses have been disallowe d for purpose of -grant. * Vouch the income from endowments and legacies as well as interest and dividends from investment. * Verify the securities in respect of investments held. * Verify rental income from landed property with rent receipt and agreement expenditure. ) Expenditure :- * Ascertain the operation of internal control system over various heads of expenditure * Vouch various expenditure items, noting abnormal or heavy items, if any obtain suitable explanations for significant items of expenditure. 6) Taxation:- * Verify whether the institution enjoys tax exemptions under income tax act * Examine whether the conditions subject to which exemption has been granted have been followed. 7) General:- Verify the fixed assets and ensure the adequate depreciation is provided. * Verify the capital fund and other liabilities. * Note that the investments representing endowment funds for prizes are kept separate and any income in excess of prizes has been accumulated and invested along with the corpus * Confirm that caution money and other deposits paid by the students on admission have been shown as liability in the balance sheet and not transferred to revenue, unless they are not refundable. Ensure that separate statement of accounts have been prepared as regards scholarships ,game fund ,hostel fund ,library fund and P. E,etc. * Verify whether the form and manner of presentation of financial information conforms to relevant accounting standards if any and other applicable legal requirements. * Obtain appropriate representation and certificates from the competent person appointed by governing by or management committee in respect of various aspects covered during the course of audit. Audit report According to Allan (2006), at the end of his audit when he has examined the schools records and its financial statements, the auditor produces a report addressed to the board of governors and other stake holders of the school in which he expresses his opinion of the truth and fairness and sometimes other aspects of the financial statements. An audit report should be clear, constructive and concise. The auditor will point in writing to the authorities; * Any weaknesses /strength in the accounting system of the school. Deficiencies in the financial control system * Inadequacies in the financial policies and practices * Non-compliance with accounting standards and legislation The auditors’ opinion can be unqualified, qualified or adverse depending on the state of the books of accounts and any other evidence the auditor may have examined and evaluated. An unqualified opinion is positive and satisfactory and a qualified reservation about the state of the schools accounts. Conclusi on School funds are the property of the government and citizens. They are meant to be used for the purpose of providing better education for children. There is need for public funds to be protected from any kind of misuse such as fraud embezzlement or theft. In order to ensure that school funds are secure, the head teacher should advise the school committee members or the board of governors to carry out periodic audits. It is unwise to keep postponing audits in a school. Prolonged audits are likely to be very expensive. To protect the funds and ensure effective operation of the school, the head teachers should also protect school funds by providing efficient guidelines to teachers and other school officers dealing with school funds According to Robert (2002), when auditing process determines that money was managed legally, and appropriately, then the school should have the tools to use funds effectively, efficiently and productively. In essence, it is very important for a school head to ensure that there are enough funds for running the school. An appropriate budget identifying all school activities to be prepared and approved must be adopted and properly utilized. For proper accounting and recording, all purchases must be receipted and payments mad kept. References: Barasa, J. M. Nyongesa, (2007), Educational Organization and Management. The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Enterprise Road, Industrial Area, Nairobi- Kenya Everret, Robert E. Lows, Raymond and Johnson, Donald R; (1995) Financial Management Accounting for School Administration. Reston, VA: Association of School Business Officials International. Gupta, R (2005), How to conduct audit of educational institutions. Issue of chartered accountant Practice Journal. 1st Issue. Hayes S. Rick et al(2002),Principles of auditing . An international perspective . Millichamp A. H. (2006) Auditing . 8th Edition. Thomson Learning, Holborn House, pg 50-51 Bedford Rowi London WCIR4LR. Okumbe, J. A (1998) Educational management. Theory and Practice. Nairobi University Press. Nairobi University, Kenya. Omondi, J. (nd) Management of Finance and Property in Secondary Schools. Handbook Manual for Bursars. Public School Budgeting, Accounting and Auditing, Answers. com. Retrieved on 15/10/2011,1. 22p. m. UNESCO Report (2002), Auditing of School Account Books. Resource Materials for School Heads in Africa. Module Five Unit Six. Wango G. (2007) School Administration and Management. Quality Assurance and Standards in Schools. JKF. Nairobi, Kenya.

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