What are Internal Controls?

An internal control is any action taken by management to enhance the likelihood that established objectives and goals will be achieved. Internal controls are required to:

  • Protect Assets
  • Ensure Records are Accurate
  • Promote Operational Efficiency
  • Encourage Adherence to Policies, Laws, and Regulations

Generally, controls are of two types:

Preventative Controls: Procedures implemented to help prevent an unwanted outcome. Example: Requiring the use of computer passwords to restrict unauthorized access to programs and information.

Detective Controls: Procedures performed to find errors or irregularities after they have occurred. Example: Supervisors reviewing monthly purchasing card statements to verify that no inappropriate purchases were made.

Who is responsible for internal controls?

Everyone. Although it is ultimately WSU management's responsibility to ensure that controls are in place, everyone plays a part in WSU's internal control system. Every employee has some responsibility for making the internal control system function. Therefore, all WSU employees need to be aware of the concept and purpose of internal controls.

Helpful Audit CheckList

We have included an audit checklist on this website to provide departments with a guide as to what will be included in audit test work during the course of a departmental internal audit.

Audit Checklist (PDF)

Internal Control Training

For further information or training on internal controls, contact our office at ext. 7160.