What Is Internal Control?

Internal Control Is Part of Your Job

Internal control is relevant to everyone in the workplace. It represents our moral responsibility to understand and comply with University policies and procedures, as well as to hold ourselves and one other accountable.

The primary purpose of internal controls is to help safeguard an organization and further its objectives. Internal controls function to minimize risks and protect assets, ensure accuracy of records, promote operational efficiency, and encourage adherence to policies, rules, regulations, and laws.

What is the definition of internal control?

Internal control—a process affected by a college or university's governing board, administration, faculty, and staff—is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories:

  • effectiveness and efficiency of operations;
  • reliability of financial reporting; and
  • compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

This definition reflects certain fundamental concepts:

  • Internal control is a process. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Internal control is affected by people. It involves not only policy manuals and forms, but also people functioning at every level of the institution.
  • Internal control is geared to the achievement of objectives in several overlapping categories.
  • Internal control can be expected to provide only reasonable assurance to an institution's leaders regarding achievement of operational, financial reporting, and compliance objectives.

What are some examples of internal controls?

Internal controls can take many forms. On a daily basis, we encounter many controls both inside and outside of the office.

Everyday Personal Internal Controls

  • Locking your home and vehicle.
  • Reviewing bills and credit card statements for accuracy before paying them.
  • Securing blank checks, cash, and credit/debit cards.
  • Safeguarding account passwords and PIN numbers and keeping them separate from your computers and bank cards.