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In the United States several states made reviews based on control self-assessment practices mandatory as did the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation. Initially external auditors ignored the benefits of control self-assessment even though it was effective at providing audit evidence around the "soft" areas such as staff morale that are critical to the effectiveness of internal control systems.

After a number of financial scandals, notably the collapse of Robert Maxwell 's publishing empire, the United Kingdom government commissioned Adrian Cadbury to chair an investigation into corporate governance. In section 4, Reporting and Controls, Cadbury made a number of recommendations that led to the increased adoption of control self-assessment in the UK. In particular section 4. In March the European Commission approved a white paper on reform that led to a major change in the way the Commission was managed. These changes included recommendations for each department to establish an effective internal control system.

To support the implementation of the internal controls the Directorate-General for Budget 's Central Financial Service developed a control self-assessment process. This first control self-assessment identified several areas for improvement in internal control across the Commission most notably the need to implement a more systematic approach to risk management.

The outcome of this first self-assessment was the implementation of the requirement for every Directorate General to perform a control and risk self-assessment annually. In order to comply with section of the Act the company had to perform a top down risk assessment which necessitated the production of an "internal control report" that affirmed "the responsibility of management for establishing and maintaining an adequate internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting.

This report has to include an evaluation of the effectiveness of the internal controls and procedures that are related to financial reporting.


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To meet this requirement organisations increasingly began to perform a control self-assessment using a recognised standard methodology. The organisation's external auditors, who are required to sign-off the internal control report, typically became more deeply involved in the control self-assessment process as it facilitated their later review of the internal control report.

In the United Kingdom in the Financial Services Authority recognised in its recommendations for the improvement of operational risk management that the assessment of risks through a control self-assessment may be an important means of identifying risks. It also noted that for the assessment to be fully effective it had to be fully integrated into the financial organisation's risk-management process.

The first step in control self-assessment is to document the organisation's control processes with the aim of identifying suitable ways of measuring or testing each control. The actual testing of the controls is performed by staff whose day-to-day role is within the area of the organisation that is being examined as they have the greatest knowledge of how the processes operate. Both approaches are the opposite of formal audits where the auditors , not the business unit staff, will perform the assessment. On completion of the assessment each control may be rated based on the responses received to determine the probability of its failure and the impact if a failure occurred.

These ratings can be mapped to produce a heatmap showing potential areas of vulnerability. Six basic methodologies for control self-assessment have been defined: [14]. The National Institute of Standards and Technology control self-assessment methodology is based on customised questionnaires.

It is an IT focused methodology suitable for assessing system based controls. It provides a cost-effective technique to determine the status of information security controls, identify any weaknesses and, where necessary, define an improvement plan. The methodology was designed for United States federal agencies but can also be valuable for private sector organisations. Its Control Objectives component provides a set of requirements considered necessary for effective control of each IT process with the organisation.

Assessment and evaluation of these components using the Management Guidelines component provides an assessment mechanism that generates a maturity model indicating if the organisation is meeting its control objectives. The methodology became part of the International Standards for Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and was adopted by a large number of major organisations.

A number of other methodologies to standardise the control self-assessment have been published.

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A number of software packages are available to support the control self-assessment process. These are typically modified versions of software developed originally for internal use by audit and accountancy firms such as Deloitte or by niche vendors specialising in business or financial management tools. Control self-assessment creates a clear line of accountability for controls, reduces the risk of fraud by examining data that may flag unusual patterns of transactions and results in an organisation with a lower risk profile.

A number of other soft benefits have been claimed for organisations performing control self-assessment. These include a better understanding of business operations by both management and operational staff ; stronger awareness of risk practices; a reinforced corporate governance regime and internal audit efficiency improvements. Some researchers have criticised control self-assessment as a flawed approach as the way risk is defined and measured is unsophisticated. In particular, control self-assessment may understate risk by not identifying extreme downside risk. An extreme downside risk is a highly improbable event that would have catastrophic consequences if it occurred.

Data protection impact assessments

These risks should have a high overall risk score generally calculated as a product of the probability of a risk occurring and the impact if it does occur on a scale of 1 to 5. Individuals performing the control self-assessment are consequently unable to significantly differentiate between risks leading to extreme low probability risks either being excluded from the analysis or grouped together with other more probable but still unlikely risks that have a less severe impact.

The continual focus on risk elimination that a control self-assessment can lead to has also been criticised. The process of continual evaluation of risks and making plans to mitigate and eliminate them may lead to an unbalanced corporate culture where risks are eliminated ignoring the risk-return ratio of different business choices. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Key concepts. Selected accounts. The Act requires the Auditor-General to act independently in the exercise of their functions, duties, and powers.

It also states that the Auditor-General is a corporation sole with perpetual succession and a seal of office, and can incur all the liabilities and obligations of a body corporate of full capacity. The Annual Plan fulfils this requirement. The Speaker, select committees, and individual members of Parliament can comment on the proposed plan, but they have no power to enforce changes. The Auditor-General's term is limited to seven years, with no allowance for reappointment.

Part 4: Assessment of the SAI’s environment, capability, and performance

The Deputy Auditor- General's term is limited to five years, with allowance for reappointment. These terms are considered long enough to allow the mandate of the Office to be carried out effectively. We are satisfied that this allows them to carry out their mandate without fear of retaliation. The financial audit mandate covers financial statements, accounts, and other information that the public entity is required to have audited. The Public Audit Act enables performance audits, and any services other than financial audit, 36 to consider all aspects of public entities, except for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

The Public Audit Act also enables the Auditor-General to inquire, either on request or on their own initiative, into any matter that concerns a public entity's use of its resources. The Act also states it is an offence to intentionally obstruct, hinder, or resist the Auditor- General exercising their powers. As a result, all audits are conducted free from interference. This includes the selection of audit issues, planning of the audit approach, and the approach to the conduct, reporting, and follow-up of all audits required by the Mexico Declaration ISSAI A warrant can be issued by a district court judge to gain access to the premises of any public entity if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that documents, information, or other evidence is held at those premises.

The Public Audit Act also enables the Auditor-General to report to a Minister, committee of the House of Representatives, a public entity, or any person, regarding the performance and exercise of the Auditor-General's functions duties and powers.

Control self-assessment - Wikipedia

However, the decision on what, when, and how to report, following comment, rests with the Auditor-General. Therefore the Act can be repealed by a simple majority vote of the legislature, which is a risk to the mandate of the Auditor-General. As a fundamental criteria of this dimension is for the audit mandate to be a part of the constitution, the score cannot be higher than two. We do, however, believe the Public Audit Act provisions are as strong as they can be in the current constitutional context.

In all other respects the Office benefits from a very strong framework that allows an extensive mandate, with full access to information and no limitations on its ability to report. A SAI should advance transparency and accountability through good governance and ethical conduct. The indicators measure the foundations the SAI has established for conducting its activities. The assessment was tested with external stakeholders. It was also used to perform a gap analysis to determine the strategic goals of the Office.

The strategy was focused on outcomes desirable within three years.


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  • Control self-assessment - Wikipedia;

There is also no mention of risks in achieving the strategic goals and how to mitigate them. Although there is an overall annual and business unit planning process, there is no clear flow between the documents. A prioritisation tool would enable the links between these processes, and the resulting documents, to be clearer. The Annual Plan states that appointed auditors are responsible for annual audits and associated compliance audits, and the Assistant Auditor-General for the Performance Audit Group is responsible for the performance audit programme.

The Auditor-General is responsible for all audits. However, they are expected to be completed within the statutory deadlines. Where there is no statutory deadline specified, five months after balance date is standard practice. These statutory deadlines drive the annual audit work. Due to the varying duration of planned performance audits, which can range from months, there is no timetable for the completion of these audits. The plan clearly sets out the audits to be started during the year.

However, it is not always clear how business plans link to the Annual Plan. The current Annual Plan does not meet these criteria, as there is no addressing of risks and there is a lack of clarity beyond a broad conceptual link to Strategic Plan goals. A variety of staff and stakeholders were engaged in the strategy and development of the Annual Plan and annual work programme processes.

This engagement, which involved a large selection of staff, featured successful cross-office workshops. Before Parliament is formally consulted on the Annual Plan and annual work programme, there are informal consultations with a broad range of stakeholders. These less formal consultations continue to develop each year and are evaluated to assess their value.