To put it simply, internal controls are an exercise of common sense. You are practicing good internal controls when you:
- Balance your checkbook
- Save for a car or retirement
- Keep copies of your tax return
- Compare your monthly credit card statement to the credit card receipts
- Lock your car doors
Internal controls are an integral part of any organization’s policies and procedures. Internal controls consist of all the measures taken by the College:
1. To promote orderly, economical, efficient and effective operations and to produce quality products and services consistent with the organization's mission;
2. To safeguard resources against loss due to waste, abuse, mismanagement, errors and fraud;
3. To ensure adherence to (SUNY, New York State and Federal) laws, regulations, contracts and management directives; and
4. To develop and maintain reliable financial and management data, and to accurately present that data in timely reports.
Important concepts concerning internal controls are:
- Internal control is a process. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
- Internal control is put into effect by people. It’s not merely policy manuals and forms, but people functioning at every level of the institution.
- Internal control is geared to the achievement of objectives in several overlapping categories.
- Internal control only provides reasonable assurance to an institution’s leaders regarding achievement of operational, financial reporting and compliance objectives.