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Relationships and Responsibilities Introduction To be effective, internal control policies and procedures must be properly followed by personnel, regardless of responsibility level.
People, not policies, determine whether a system will function properly. People at different levels have different backgrounds, technical skills, needs, and priorities. Therefore, it is important that they be properly trained in their responsibilities and limits of authority.
Depending on the structure of a diocese, typically the people involved include personnel fulfilling the responsibilities of the bishop, moderator of the Curia, chancellor, chief financial officer, internal auditor, bishop's delegates or secretaries, and other employed personnel, as well as members of the diocesan finance council or the priests council and volunteers.
Just about everyone in a diocese has some responsibility for internal control. Everyone also has an expressed or implied responsibility to report a breakdown in internal control. Personnel must always believe they can report a problem to a responsible member of management, where the ultimate responsibility for the internal control system of a diocese lies.
The responsibilities of the various levels of authority in a diocese are discussed below, under the headings of "Management and Personnel," "Committees," and "External Auditors. He is responsible for ensuring integrity, ethics, competence, and other factors of a positive control environment.
The bishop fulfills his responsibilities by providing leadership to his senior management team, who shape the values, principles, and operating policies that are the basis for a strong internal control system.
He should meet periodically with his management team and review their areas of responsibility to see that the diocese is being properly controlled. The bishop and his representatives, therefore, establish a control environment that ensures effective communications and sets up monitoring procedures.
Finance Officers Finance officers and their staffs are important in the monitoring process. Their activities cut across the operating and other activities of a diocese.
They are involved in developing diocese-wide budgets and plans. They produce reports that analyze performance from operational, compliance, and financial perspectives.
The chief financial officer CFO and other finance officers are central to the way management exercises control. The CFO plays a key role in setting the tone of a diocese's ethical conduct. The CFO should be a key player when a diocese's objectives are established and strategies are decided for risk assessments and changes affecting the diocese.
The CFO provides valuable input and direc-tion and should be an equal partner with the other functional heads in a diocese. Any attempt by management to have the CFO more narrowly focused limited to areas of financial reporting, treasury, and internal audit could prevent a diocese from succeeding in its business objectives.
Internal Auditors The primary objective of internal auditing is to provide an evaluation and test of a diocese's controls. Internal auditors should take the following steps to appraise the internal control system: Review the reliability and integrity of financial and operating information.
Review compliance with diocesan policies, plans, and procedures and compliance with laws and regulations. Review the means for safeguarding assets. Review the means by which resources are used effectively and economically.
Ascertain that operations and programs have accomplished established objectives and goals. The functions of internal auditors may not always be fulfilled by paid staff employees but can be performed by others in an organization or by volunteers who are trained in such functions.
Other Diocesan Personnel Internal control is the responsibility of all the personnel in a diocese. Examples of personnel activities include generating invoices, ordering, reporting expenses, preparing time cards or time sheets, and preparing requisitions.
Personnel should generally be aware of the diocese's mission and corporate code of ethics. Volunteers To the extent volunteers are involved in an organization, they should be made aware of its control consciousness.
Personnel who volunteer need to understand the business implications of their activities. While the organization is grateful for their volunteerism, there may be occasions when accepting their help would be inappropriate because of church or personal conflicts of interest.
Committees Every organization is assisted by either paid or volunteer committees. Certain committees may be able to help the bishop and management carry out their responsibilities over internal controls.
Although committees are not necessary, their existence typically provides another deterrent to incidents of fraud. Some of the responsibilities of these committees are described below. Finance Council The finance council of a diocese should have a significant role in the internal control function of a diocese and in providing direction, guidance, and oversight to the bishop.Generally speaking, Latin America has shown economic growth, although the social structure imposed colonialism has been perpetuated.
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