The internal check is an arrangement of the duties of the staff members of the accounting functions in such a way that the work performed by a person is automatically checked by another.
In the opinion of Spicer and Pegler, “A system of internal check is an arrangement of staff duties, whereby no one person is allowed to carry through and to record every aspect of a transaction, so that without collusion between two or more persons, fraud is activated and at the same time the possibilities of errors are reduced to the minimum.”
L.R. Dicksee defines internal check as “such an arrangement of book-keeping routine that errors and frauds are likely to be prevented or discovered by the very operation of the book-keeping itself.”
Internal check means practically a continuous internal audit carried on by the staff itself, using which the work of each individual is independently checked by other members of the staff.
Internal check has been defined by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) as; “the checks on -day to day transactions which operate continuously as part of the routine system, where the work of one person is proved independently or in complementary to the work of another, the object is the prevention or early detection of errors or frauds.”
An internal check is a continuous process and is part of the day-to-day routine. It relates to all the transactions that take place every day. An internal check is achieved by a complimentary allocation of duties and by independent verification of the work of one person by another.
Objectives of Internal Check
There are several objectives of the internal check. They are given below:
- To minimize the possibility of error, fraud, and irregularity.
- To prevent the misappropriation of cash and goods.
- To allocate duties and responsibilities to every clerk in the organization.
- To ensure an accurate recording of all business transactions.
- To enhance the efficiency of the clerk in the organization.
- To exercise moral influence over the staff member.
- To prepare a final account with ease and efficiency.
Principles of Internal Check
An internal check is based on some specific principles, without which, an internal check is of no use. These principles are given below:
- The process should be allocated among the staff of the business according to the duties, responsibility, and rights in such a, there is no room for interference.
- No single person should have independent control over the all-important aspects of the business.
- The duties among the staff of the business should be changed from time to time so that no staff should be engaged in a particular job for a long time.
- Every member of the staff should be encouraged to go on leave at least once in a year .this will help in detecting concealed fraud.
- An efficient system of internal check should provide for automatic checking of the work of an assistant by others.
- The division of work should not be much expensive.
- The self-balancing system should be invariably used.
- The financial and administrative power should be assigned very judiciously to different officers.
- A person having physical custody of assets must not be permitted to have access to the books of account.
Essential Characteristics of Internal Check System
Certain qualities are needed to make an internal check system more effective and efficient.
Such qualities are known as features of internal check system which are as follows:
Division of Work
No one should be allowed to have the right to perform the work from origin to end.
For example – a transaction of sale may have to be split into display of article by a staff, the preparation of invoice by another, the receipt of cash against the invoice by a third clerk, the delivery of article against the proof of receipted invoice by another clerk, checking of outward movement of article against delivery order by a clerk and so on.
In big business houses, such specialized tasks increase the speed of work and automatically introduce internal checks.
Provision of Check
An organization should set up such provisions so that work can be checked by another staff. An officer can check the work of one staff by transferring to the staff and again.
Use of Devices
In this modem world, various devices can be used to do various functions like the use of time record machines, wage determination machines, etc. An organization should use machines that help to make work of internal check easier.
An organization can use self-balancing ledger accounts which help to make the work of internal check easier. Its effectiveness depends on its management.
No individual clerk should be allowed to occupy a particular area of operation for long. Familiarity with and exclusiveness in a position offer a person greater flexibility to attempt manipulation with the system.
Every staff may not have such specialized knowledge to maintain accounts properly. So, an organization should give the training to increase their skills so that internal checks can be made more effective.
There is more chance of frauds where there is direct contact between consumers or the public. So, a manager can keep eyes in those works so that the internal check system can be made more effective.
There must be clear cut authority levels according to sanctions to various transactions. Commensurate to the authority vested, responsibility must be extracted. The existence of authority levels results in a review of the operations of subordinates.
Advantages of Internal Check
The main advantages of an internal check are listed below:
Moral Influence on Employees
The system of internal check puts a morale check on members of staff and enables them to learn honesty, hard work, and straightforwardness.
Determination of Employees Liability
The system of the internal check determines the responsibilities of employees. The member of the staff may be held responsible for any irregularity carried on by him.
Less Possibility of Frauds
There is less possibility of fraud under the system of the internal check because errors and frauds can be detected at an early stage.
Increase in Efficiency
The system of internal check ensures greater .efficiency and speed because the arrangement of internal check is based on a division of labor.
Auditing Made Easy
The system of internal check facilitates the work of auditors to a great extent by enabling him to relay on test checking.
Final Accounts Can Be Prepared
In an internal check system, the ‘Profit and Loss Account’ and Balance Sheet is prepared without any loss of time.
Correct and Complete Records of all the Transactions
The system of an internal check may also result in correct and complete records of all the transactions on each balancing of the books of accounts.
Detection of Dishonesty or Irregularity
Any dishonesty or irregularity in the concern by the members of staff can be detected before they assume any complication.
Test Checking Possible
If the auditor finds the system of internal cheek satisfactory. Then by taking into mind, it defects or weak points he can take the help of test checking.
Disadvantages of Internal Check
The defects or weak points of the system of an internal check are listed below:
The system of Internal Check is more expensive and time-consuming.
Slackness in the Work
This is also a serious defect of the system of internal check. The auditor may show slackness in the work. He may rely on the system of internal check blindfold, which may affect the quality of audit work adversely.
Not Suitable for Small Concern
The system of internal check is not suitable for small concern as it may be uneconomical in small concern.
Grouping among Employees
If the employees of the concern join hand they may keep the employer in dark and may cause, many irregularities defying any-detection thereof.
This groupism amongst the employees may not be healthy.