EFFECTIVENESS OF INTERNAL CONTROL SYSTEM IN NIGERIAN BANKS [A CASE STUDY OF SKYE BANK PLC]
The impact of having internal control department
in all organizations and banking institution in this era of stiff competition
and financial regulation cannot be over emphasized. The process of financial
account and data production should be based on a recognized, well-defined and
well-organized system of procedures. If the business transaction are to be
properly and correctly observed, documented, recorded and collated, then there
must be a system which is designed to cope with these activities.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the
internal control system in operation at Skye Bank PIc. With a view to examines
the effectiveness of internal control system in Nigerian banks.
The population of the study consists of all
banking institutions in Nigeria, the sample is Skye Bank PIc, Lagos from the
accounting and internal control departments because of significant relationship
with the research topic and simple random sampling was employed to give members
of staff equal opportunity of being selected.
Data were collected through questionnaire as its
instrument and interview to assist in the data from the questionnaire and also
the examination of existing records. The collected data were analyzed using
simple percentage, chi-square analysis, and they were presented using tables.
The research study tested variables which were
vital for an internal control.
OF THE STUDY
The banking industry is the
live-wire or the equivalent to the central nervous system of the human in all
capitalist economics. The institution provide the vital link between the
surplus unit and the deficit unit of the economy. Banks promote investment by
providing facilities for mobilizing savings and appropriate instruments without
which either economic growth or development can take place smoothly and
efficiently. In the process of performing these functions, banks come to hold
the single largest proportion of the economy's financial resources and
correspondingly account for a similar lion share of the credit that propels the
engine of growth and development. In the light of this, the subject of internal
control in the industry is of interest to all western type economies of the
The process of financial
account and data production should be based on a recognized, well-defined and
well-organized system of procedures. If the business transactions are to be
properly and correctly observed, documented, Recorded and collated, then there
must be a system which is designed to cope with these activities. For this
reason, management of the organization has in general, over a period of many
years, placed a great deal of emphasis on having strong system of internal
control, where possible. This system is intended to maintain adequate process
of accounting data production and safeguarding the organization against
possible financial loss due to fraud or error.
Internal control, in its
broadest sense, includes all controls, checks and procedures, formally
instituted by the management, to maintain the maximum administrative and operational
efficiency possible within the accounting and non-accounting function of the
business organization. However, in terms of financial accounting, the system is
mainly concerned with those controls which exist to aid the processing of
reliable accounting data and to safeguard companies' asset.
The International Auditing Standard and Guidelines
 defined Internal Control as 'the whole system of controls, financial
and otherwise, established by the management in order to carry on the business
of the company in an orderly and efficient manner; ensure reliance to
management policies, safeguard its assets and secure as far as possible the
accuracy and reliability of its records. The special Report on Internal Control
of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, London, defines internal
control as follows: "Internal Control includes not only internal check or
internal audit but all systems of controls, financial or otherwise established
by management to carry on the business of the company in an orderly manner,
safeguard its assets and secure as far as possible the accuracy and reliability
of its records.
An important feature of the impact of Internal
control is the director review of company financial operations and position at
regular and frequent internals by means of interior account and report,
operating summaries and other appropriate financial and statistical. In addition
to regular view, management may from time to time call for special reviews of
particular items e.g. wages, stock, salary access etc. Managerial review and
supervision are essential element in an efficient and effective internal
Banks like other business organization achieve
their objective through the use of human and economic resources. In most cases,
the economic resources are provided by various interest group that do not
participate in the day today normal running of the operation of the business.
The onus is therefore, on the management to make sure these resources are
effectively and efficiently managed to achieve the set goal and to build up
public confidence, the desired control achieved through the setting up of a
good and valid internal control system.
Internal audit which is an integral aspect of
internal control. As a part of management team of the control function, it is
clearly described in the statement of responsibilities of the internal auditor
as an independent appraisal of activity within an organization for the review
of accounting, financial and other operation are basis for service to
management. For instance, Cadbury Nigeria sacked its Managing Director, Mr.
Bunmi Oni and Mr. Ayo Akadiri, the company's Finance Director recently, which
is a fallout of the financial book padding scandal and corruption that recently
rocked the company, and that is the way it should be commended. The Board
recently commissioned the firm of price water Coopers to review and investigate
the company's financials. The outcome of the investigation “has confirmed a
deliberate overstatement of the company's financial position over a number of
years to the tune of between N13 and N15 billion”! This is Nigeria's version of
the Enron Corporation scandal in the United State.
In case of ENRON which brings to mind the collapse
of the seventh largest company in the United States of America and the largest
bankruptcy seen by the country till date. There are many issues that were
raised with the collapse of Enron as described in the CRS Report for the
Congress in 2002:
Auditing - There
may have been a possibility that the auditors were misled into preparing the
wrong financials for the company. Often companies pay more to auditors for
non-audit fees than for audit fees, which may bring the auditors to compromise
Accounting - There
are several questionable accounting techniques like subsidiary accounting,
derivatives and third party investors used by Enron. The loopholes in the
accounting system need to be rectified.
Pension - More than 60% of the assets
held in the 401(k) plan consisted of Enron stock, which when plummeted put
stockholders and employees in huge losses and setbacks. Such grave scenarios
need to be avoided in the future.
Corporate Governance - The board of
directors is meant to protect the interest of the shareholders. In Enron's case
the CFO was allowed to create private partnerships to deal with the company
which is against the best interest of the company.
Securities Analyst - The creditability
of analysts came under question following the collapse of Enron stock in
November 2001 as even the Wall Street analysts failed to predict the Enron
This study is therefore established to evaluate
internal control as a management tool in banking industry using Skye Bank PIc
as a case study.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A notable feature of the industry is low ethical
standard and transparency. These are manifesting in the rising cases of
unwholesome practices being recorded. A number of banks engage in some sharp
and unorthodox practices to achieve compliance with some regulatory
requirements "on paper" Many banks' returns provide inaccurate/misleading
financial report thereby preventing timely detection of emerging problems by
The managerial incompetence of the top management
of some banks as evident in weak internal control system of the banks.
Substantial losses incurred by many banks on their credit portfolio, frauds and
forgeries and outright negligence have brought to the fore, the importance of
sound internal control system. Appraisals of fraud-related losses by Bank
Examiners revealed that such losses could have been prevented had the affected
banks maintained effective internal control systems.
The trend in deficiencies in banks' earning assets
especially loans and advances, arising from either poor loan administration or
unethical lending (such as insiders' abuse). This is an indication of
managerial problems in this regard.
The importance of internal control system cannot
be overemphasized where a variety of requirements, processes that are both
manual and information communication technology-based (ICT) are used.
Organizations have recognized internal audit function as a tool for ensuring
effective workings of the internal control system. Okolo (2001) describes the
internal control function as an aspect of control mechanism, within a business,
manned by specially assigned staff. However, in Nigeria, the internal control
function in the banking sub-sector has not been fully tapped; consequently,
cases of errors and intent to defraud and other fraud cases exist in the
banking industry. The distress in the banking sub-sector in the nineties
reflected lack of effective control mechanism of the audit function in the
banking industry. The experiences of failed bank in Nigeria have therefore
called for the reinforcement and the strengthening of the controls system in
the Nigerian banks.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to evaluate the
effectiveness of internal control as management tool in banking industry in
Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study are:
i. To verify the existences of internal control and auditing system
ii. To ascertain whether the existing level controls and internal
audit procedure in banking industry are adequate to ensure staff efficiency,
services delivery, prevention of fraud and embezzlement forestalling occasion
iii. To identify the various type of fraud that can be penetrated in
banks and strategies of fraudsters.
iv. To determine the suitability or otherwise of the bank official in
charge of internal control system.
examine the possible effect of fraud on the earnings and profitability of banks