Governmental entities may find themselves dominated by someone who can override internal controls. It may be an elected official or a department head. It may also be a person with a strong personality, or one who has “too many important things to do” to comply with internal control procedures. Left unchecked, “management override” can negate the effectiveness of other internal control measures.
A strong control environment within a public entity sets the tone of the entity’s workplace. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of management override is to create a culture where integrity is held in high esteem and practiced every day. The message must be clear: internal control policies and procedures apply to every official, department head and employee. The message should be sent from the top -- an entity's governing body.
In a strong control environment, timely and appropriate actions should be taken when problems are discovered, and employees should feel comfortable reporting irregularities without fear of retaliation.
Date this Avoiding Pitfall was most recently published: 4/24/2020