THE EFFECT OF INTERNAL CONTROL ON ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE (A CASE STUDY OF ECOBANK NIGERIA PLC)

ABSTRACT

This project work takes a look at the effect of internal control on organizational performance using a case study of Ecobank Nigeria Plc. The main purpose of this study is to examine the effect of internal control on organizational performance i.e how as internal control aid organizational performance in Ecobank Nigeria Plc.

The research design used during the course of this study was the descriptive survey research design in which a population of 50 staff of Ecobank Nigeria Plc was look into. The researcher made use of stratified sampling technique andthe research instrument used during the course of this research was questionnaire. Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was being employed to analyze data in form of frequency tables in knowing the effect of internal control on organizational performance.

Findings reveals that the calculated t-statistics for the parameter estimates was (t = 3.653), P < 0.01 which is greater than tabulated t statistics (1.9960) at 0.01 level of significance. Therefore, the Null hypothesis is rejected and Alternative hypothesis is accepted, that is there is significant relationship between internal control system and organizational performance of Ecobank Nigeria Plc.

Furthermore findings also reveals that the calculated t-statistics for the parameter estimates was (t = 0.439), P < 0.01 is less than tabulated t statistics (1.9960) at 0.01 level of significance. Therefore, the Null hypothesis is accepted and Alternative hypothesis is rejected, that is, Weakness in the internal control system in Ecobank Nigerian Plc does not lead to frauds.

Based on the findings of the study, it is recommended that the management of Ecobank NigeriaPlc should design more effective internal control systems by ensuring that adequate asset listings is done by management, capital assets purchased are approved by appropriate level of management and asset numbering is done to show location and protection of the assets. Also Management should encourage staff to participate in decision making. Employees feel encouraged and motivated in accomplishing the goals of the company in which they have taken part in formulating.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Banking institutions occupy a central position in the nations’ financial system and are essential agents in the development process of the economy. By intermediating between the surplus and deficit spending units, banks increase the quantum of National savings and investments and hence national output. By granting credits, banks create money thus influencing the level of money supply which is an essential item in the growth of national income as it determines the level of economic activities in the country.

Banks are central to the payments system by facilitating economic transactions between various national and international economic units and by so doing encourage and promote trade, commerce and industry.

For banks to be able to function effectively and contribute meaningfully to the development of a country, the industry must be stable, safe and sound. And for these conditions to be obtained there must be a sound accounting system, which is occasioned by an internal control system.

In view of the economic growth in companies’ size and complexities, proper management of modern business undertakings are not possible unless they have an effective system of internal control.

A system of effective internal controls is a critical component of bank management and a foundation for the safe and sound operation of banking organizations. A system of strong internal controls can help to ensure that the goals and objectives of a banking organization will be met, that the bank will achieve long-term profitability targets and maintain reliable financial and managerial reporting. Such a system can also help to ensure that the bank will comply with laws and regulations as well as policies, plans, internal rules and procedures, and decrease the risk of unexpected losses or damage to the Bank’s reputation.

Internal control, the strength of every organization, has become of paramount importance today in Nigerian banks. The reason being that the control systems in any organization is a pillar for an efficient accounting system.

The need for the internal control systems in organizations, especially banks, cannot be undermined, due to the fact that the banking sector, which has a crucial role to play in the economic development of a nation, is now being characterized by macro economic instability, slow growth in real economic activities, corruption and the risk of fraud.

Fraud, which is the major reason for setting up an internal control system, has become a great pain in the neck of many Nigerian bank managers. It has also become an unfortunate staple in Nigeria’s international reputation. Fraud is really eating deep into the Nigerian banking system and that any bank with a weak internal control system, is dangerously exposed to bank fraud.

The CBN reported that cases of attempted fraud and forgery in banks, as at half-year 2007 have surpassed what was recorded for the whole year 2006. The CBN half-year report for 2007, revealed a total of 741 cases of attempted fraud and forgery, involving 5.4 billion, $35,406.1, 150 Euros were reported as at June, 2007. In 2006, 1,193 cases were reported involving4.6 billion, $1.8 million and 14,389.7 pound sterling. The CBN also reported that the backward development was attributable to weaknesses in the internal control systems of the banks. This has clearly painted the picture of how fraud has penetrated in the financial strength of Nigerian Banks.

In a nut-shell, the damage which this menace, called fraud has done to the banks is innumerable and needs urgent attention. Therefore, the attempt to put an end to this economic degradation, gave rise to the topic of this research study the effect of internal control on organizational performance in the banking sector with Ecobank Nigeria PLC as a case study. However, this study is aimed at verifying the conception that an effective and efficient internal control system is the best control measure for preventing and detecting fraud, especially in the banking sector.

Internalcontrol is the methods employed to help to ensure the achievement of an objective. Internal controls are policies, procedures, practices and organizational structures implemented to provide reasonable assurance that an organization’s business objectives will be achieved and undesired risk events will be prevented or detected and corrected, based on either compliance or management initiated concerns (Awe, 2005). The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), defined internal control as the whole system of controls, financial or otherwise, established by management in order to carry on the business of an enterprise in an orderly and efficient manner, to ensure adherence to management policies, safeguard the assets and secure as far as possible, the completeness and accuracy of the records. They are tools used by management everyday for the smooth running of their organization or businesses. Internal controls also refer to the measures instituted by an organization so as to ensure attainment of the entity’s objectives, goals and missions. They are a set of policies and procedures adopted by an entity in ensuring that an organization’s transactions are processed in the appropriate manner to avoid waste, theft and misuse of organization resources. Internal Controls are processes designed and effected by those charged with governance, management, and other personnel to provide reasonable assurance about the achievement of an entity’s objectives with regard to reliability of the financial reporting, effectiveness and efficiency of operations and compliance with applicable laws and regulations (Mwindi, 2008). Enforcement of internal controls should be designed to promote operational efficiency and effectiveness, provide reliable financial information, safeguard assets and records, encourage adherence to prescribed policies, and comply with regulatory agencies. A sound internal control will ensure that transactions are: valid, properly authorized, recorded, properly valued, properly classified, reconciled to subsidiary records and not carried through by a single employee (i.e. ensure separation of duties) ( Adeyemo Kingsley A,2012).

Organizations establish systems of internal control to help them achieve performance and organizational goals, prevent loss of resources, enable production of reliable reports and ensure compliance with laws and regulations. In the words of ETUK IFIOK CHARLES (1999) et al “Internal Control is the whole system of controls, financial and otherwise, established by the management in order to carry on the business of the enterprise in an orderly and efficient manner, ensure adherence to management policies, safeguard the assets and secure as far possible the completeness and accuracy of the records”. All managers in an organizational department operate according to stated plans, objectives and the methods they use. The policies, procedures, organizational design and physical barriers constitute the internal controls structure of an institution. Managers should realize that a strong internal control structure is fundamental to the success of an organization in term of its purpose, operations and resources.

Responsibility for providing an adequate and effective internal control structure rests with an organization’s management. Control is important because it single-handedly links with the effectiveness of other managerial functions such as planning. When it comes to planning, it determines whether activities are on going toward the achievement of goals and accomplishment of objectives. Control mechanisms keep the plans running smoothly and up to date. Control is also important in employee empowerment wherein performance of the employees could be properly managed. Performance is controlled in terms of appraisal, lessening haphazard decisions on allocation of positions/job titles. Nonetheless, control mechanisms are also important in keeping a balance within the workplace especially since controlling means to minimize unethical decisions of the employees and the organization as a whole.
The questions are: what can be said to be the cause or causes of the increasing rate of fraud in banks?  What is the impact of internal control in the prevention and detection of fraud in banks, what is the impact of internal control on theorganizational performance of the Ecobank Nigeria plc?

1.0.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ECO BANK NIGERIA PLC

Eco bank Nigeria is a member of Eco bank, the leading independent pan-African bank, with headquarters in Lome and East Africa. Eco bank, which was established in 1985, has grown to network of over 1000 branches, employing over 10,000 people, with offices in 32 countries.

The bank began operation in 1986, it operates as a universal bank, providing wholesale, retail, corporate, investment and transaction banking services to its customers in the Nigeria market. The bank divides its operations into three major divisions; retail banking, wholesale banking and treasury and financial institution.

The bank also offers capital market and investment banking services. During the fourth quarter of 2011, Eco bank Nigeria acquires 100 of the shareholding in oceanic bank, creating the expanded Eco bank plc. At December 2011, the expanded Eco bank Nigeria controlled total assets value at approximately US$8.1 billion (NGN 1.3trillion) making it one of the five largest bank in Nigeria. At that time the bank had 610 free-standing branches making it the second largest bank in the country by branch network. Internal control has been a way of evaluating the performance of the management in Eco bank Nigeria plc.

1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The series of business failures and corporate scandals have been identified by KPMG to be as a result of weak internal control system. The failure of Enron in 2001 caused a precipitous decline in investor confidence in the capital markets. The federal government through the regulatory authorities has responded to this, by passing guidelines using SAS2 under information which is to be disclosed in financial statements. The guidelines codified the responsibilities of corporate executives, corporate directors, lawyers, accountants and created a board oversight regime for auditors of public companies. In seeking to enhance accountability and restore investor’s confidence, the guidelines emphasizes the critical role of internal control over financial reporting. This gave rise to the need for corporate governance especially in public institutions.

InternationalAuditing Guidelines (IAG) deals with the auditor’s responsibility for detection of material misstatement resulting from error when carrying out an audit of financial statements.   The guidelines in conjunction with the related SEC rules and auditing standard No 2, established by the public company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), requires management of a public accounting and the company’s independent auditor to issue two new reports at the end of every fiscal year. These reports must be included in the company’s annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the past, a company’s internal controls were considered in the context of planning the audit, but were not required to be reported publicly except in response to the SEC’s form requirements when related to a change in auditor. The new audit and reporting requirements have drastically changed the situation and have brought the concept of internal control over financial reporting to the forefront for audit committees, management, auditors, and users of financial statements. The new requirements also highlight the concept of a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting, and mandate that both management and the independent auditor must publicly report any material weakness in internal controls over financial reporting that exists as a result of physical year, at the end of assessment dates. Under both PCAOB auditing standard  NO 2 and the SEC rules implementing the guidelines, the existence of a single material weakness requires management and the independent auditors to conclude that internal control over financial reporting is not effective.

Against this background this study investigatedthe purpose of ascertaining the effect of internal control system on organizational performance.

1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This study seeks to tackle among others questions such as:

1)      What is the relationship between internal control and organizational performance?

2)       What are the implication, consequence and benefit of internal control on organizational performance?

3)      What are those challenges which a weak internal control can pose on organizational performance?

4)      What are those things that must be done and put in shape by the company to ensure an effective internal control system?

5)      What are the limitations of internal control?

6)      What are the various component of internal control?

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this research study is to examine the effect of internal control system on organizational performance in the Nigerian banking industry using EcoBank of Nigeria PLC as a case study. Apart from the main objective, the research also sets out to achieve some specific objectives which are;

1)      To examine the various component of internal control system.

2)      To determine the effects of internal control on the organizational performance of the financial institution.

3)      To know the effect of the internal control in monitoring compliance.

4)      To critically examine how effective the internal control has been used to reduce the level of risks.

5)      To ascertain how useful is internal control to organizational performance.

6)      To recommend ways by which internal control can be used effectively so as to achieve the organizational goal.

 

 

 

1.4 HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY

 The following researchhypotheses were generated for the study:

HO: Weakness in the internal control system in Nigerian banks does not lead to frauds.

H1: Weakness in internal control system in Nigerian banks leads to frauds.

HO: There is no significant relationship between internal control system and organizational performance.

H1: There is significant relationship between internal control system and organizational performance.    

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study shall be of great benefits to the management of the organization in order to deal extensively with effect of internal control on organizational performance and this will eventually lead to high productivity in the organization and also prevent risks within the organization. This study will help organization to have better understanding on how to install a good internal control system for the effective running of their organization.

To managers of organizations and individuals, this study would assist them in the area of identifying the effect of internal control on organizational performance and its consequences. As for managers in all organization within the country the result of this research will help them to reduce the level of risk and fraud within their organization so as to increase the confident level of their shareholders. Managers ensure that as goods and services are produced, machines or other equipment are properly used so any malfunctions can be avoided. Improper usage of company assets can create downtime if goods have to be re-produced because of product defects.

Moreover, the study will be more relevant to management and social science students because they will be exposed to the effect of internal control on organizational performance and not only that it would also serve as an eye opener to the fact that as managers, there are lots of issue relating to internal control within the organization which if left unattended to will jeopardized organizational goal of the company.

The study will also attempt to contribute to the available literature or researches that will serve as a guide for organizational staff in order to prevent fraud and risks within the organization.

Policy makers would also benefit from this study in formulating policies relating to the effect of internal control on organizational performance.

The study of the effect of internal control on organizational performance is another area of study that is wide for researchers to tap into. So, this study would benefit researchers in looking beyond the scope of the present study and impacting to the knowledge already acquired.

The effect of internal control on organizational performance will also help practitioners such as Auditor, tax practitioners, etc in increasing their credibility.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY           

This research by the grace of God is expected to go in-depth. Meanwhile the scope of the study is to determine the effect of internal control on organizational performance (Using acase study of Eco Bank),The research focuses on Eco bank Nigeria plc.  This research work will cover the period between 2000 - 2012. The entire organization’s staff of this bank will be concern in this research, as their view will be collected through detailed questionnaire.

As Eco Bank Plc are located virtually throughout the geographical area in Nigeria, this research work cover two major part of geographical location in Nigeria southern part Osun State (Osogbo) and West Central part Kwara State (Offa).

Lastly, the research laid emphasis on banking sector as one of the main determinantof economic growth and development in the country.

 

1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

In the course of this study, the researcher would encounter a lot of hindrances among these, the most salient one include finance which the researcher is faced with. Insufficient funds required for expenses like transportation, acquisition of research instruments, sourcing for both primary and secondary data etc. Also information on the secondary source of data available to the researcher was either outdated or incomplete and the one available on the internet requires some form of subscription before access is allowed.

Time also posed a constraint on this research work such as time to study and time to attend lecture etc.

Attitude of respondent is also another limiting factor to this research work. Most respondent are often reluctant to part with information even after being assured confidentiality they still prefer to be secretive.

Despite the limitations of this study I still hope to do better work on this field.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is divided into five chapters.

Chapter one contains introduction to the research work which summarizes background to the study as well as the main feature of the effect of internal control on the organizational performance of the Ecobank plc. In this chapter, statement of the problem, objective of the study, significance of the study, research hypothesis, research questions,scope of the study, limitation of the study, and organization of the study are discussedextensively.

Chapter two of this research work is known as the review of related literature otherwise known as the literature review and the theoretical frame work, which reviews previous research work in the field of study and analysis of various principles relating to the research topic.

Chapterthree is concerned with the research methodology. This discusses research design, the population size to be studied, sample size determination, sampling techniques applied , method of data analysis and interpretation, the statistical tools used in the analyzing the formulated hypothesis .

 Chapter four of this research work is the data presentation, analysis and interpretation.

 Chapter five summarizes the whole research project stating the findings useful conclusion and the recommendation and this constitute the concluding part of the research work.

 

1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Internal Controls: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), defined internal control as the whole system of controls, financial or otherwise, established by management in order to carry on the business of an enterprise in an orderly and efficient manner, ensure adherence to management policies, safeguard the assets and secure as far as possible, the completeness and accuracy of the records.

Internal Audit:It is an independent appraisal activity established within an organization as a service to it. It is a control which functions by examining and evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of other controls; a management tool which analyses the effectiveness of all parts of an entity’s operations and management.’ (CIMA’s Management Accounting Official Terminology)

Monitoring:According to CIMA, it is a process that assesses the quality of the system’s performance over time.

According to Sunny, New Palta and Root. It can be defined as the final internal control standards, which assess the quality of performance.

Control Environment:According to the first internal control standard, it relates to the departments that set a positive and supportive attitude towards internal control and conscientious management.

Reasonable Assurance Concept: It refers to the fact that internal controls even when they are appropriately designed and operating effectively cannot provide absolute assurance of achieving control objectives.

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