Key Internal Control Activities

The following internal control activities can be found in the workplace. All employees fit into the organizational picture of internal control, whether or not their job responsibilities are directly related to these example activities.

Segregation of Duties

Duties are divided among different employees to reduce the risk of error or inappropriate actions. For example, responsibilities for receiving cash or checks, preparing the deposit, and reconciling the deposit should be separated.

Authorization and Approval

Transactions should be authorized and approved to help ensure the activity is consistent with departmental or institutional goals and objectives. For example, a department may have a policy that all purchase requisitions and invoice vouchers must be approved by the director. It is important that the person who approves transactions have the authority to do so and the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions.

Reconciliation and Review

Performance reviews of specific functions or activities may focus on compliance, financial, or operational issues. Reconciliation involves cross-checking transactions or records of activity to ensure that the information reported is accurate. For example, revenue and expense activity recorded on accounting reports should be reconciled or compared to supporting documents to ensure that the transactions are recorded in the correct account and for the right amount.

Physical Security

Equipment, inventories, cash, checks, and other assets should be physically secured and periodically counted and compared with amounts shown on control records. For example, the periodic confirmation of equipment by individual departments is a physical security control.