The Office of Internal Audit's mission is to
- Assist the University in determining, with reasonable assurance, the effectiveness of its internal controls, and that the University’s policies are being carried out at all levels of management and operations.
- Support the management of the University in meeting its governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) responsibilities.
- Help improve organizational and operational effectiveness and efficiency where possible.
The Office of Internal Audit is a core activity that provides management with timely information, advice and guidance that is objective, accurate, balanced and useful, and promotes an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and transparent practices.
POLICY NUMBER: I:05 DATE: January 1988
REVISION/REVIEW DATES: May 1997, Oct 2011
SUBJECT: Internal Audit Office
APPROVED: William A. Meehan, President
It is the policy of Jacksonville State University to establish and support an Internal Auditing Office. The office will assist the university in determining with reasonable assurance that its policies are being carried out at all levels of management and operations. The internal auditing function provides a valuable service to the university.
The Office of Internal Audit has been established to ensure that it will be independent in organization and in function from all university operations. The Director of Internal Audit will report to the president of the university and will meet with the Board of Trustees as needed to brief them on the internal audit function of the university. Internal audit staff will have complete, free, and unrestricted access to all university departments, activities, records, properties, and personnel.
The Director of Internal Audit shall have the authority to consult with University legal counsel and notify the president, Board of Trustees, and proper state authorities concerning matters of fraud or embezzlement.
Internal Audit examines and evaluates the adequacy and effectiveness of the systems of management by furnishing them with objective analyses, appraisals, recommendations, counsel, and information concerning the activities reviewed. The department is concerned with any phase of administrative or business activity where it can be of service to management. To accomplish this goal, departments or activities are reviewed using the following objectives:
1. Review and appraise the general operating controls, university policies and procedures, state and federal laws, business practices, asset management systems, accounting processes, and reporting systems to determine their soundness, the appropriate safeguarding of assets, and the reliability and adequacy in reporting.
2. Identify the university’s risks, and consequently plan and implement a program to alleviate any adverse affects of such risks where possible.
3. Strive to minimize university risks in financial, strategic, compliance, operations, and reporting matters.
4. Promote the importance of ethical practices through individual and collective efforts.
5. Assist the president in certain routine procedures and selected assignments.
6. Assist in the preparation of designated reports as delegated.
7. Coordinate and collaborate with all external auditors in the conduct of the annual audit of the university, specialty audits, and all over audits of grants, programs, and departments of the university.
Activities and functions of the University will be reviewed by Internal Audit on an intermittent basis. The selection and frequency of individual audits, reviews and appraisals will be influenced by the nature and inherent risks of the activity, personnel, changes in personnel, volume of work, revised procedures, prior audit findings, and any other pertinent facts and circumstances.
Internal audit reports vary on a case-by-case basis depending upon the purpose, objectives, nature, scope, and findings of each respective project undertaken. Final reports may range from email correspondence or hard-copy memoranda, to small or full-scale reports filed in the Office of Internal Audit or disseminated to other personnel as deemed necessary by the Office of Internal Audit.
RESPONSE TO EXTERNAL AUDITS
Internal Audit will coordinate the audits by organizations external to the university with the organization or activity being audited. Copies of responses to external audits should be provided to the Director of Internal Audit.
SYSTEMS PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
The Director of Internal Audit will participate in the planning, development, implementation, and modifications of major computer-based systems to ensure that:
1. Adequate controls are incorporated in the system.
2. Thorough system testing is performed at appropriate stages.
3. System documentation is complete and accurate.
4. The system is secure and provides for an audit trail.
MANAGEMENT AND QUALITY ASSURANCE
All Internal Audit personnel will comply with the Code of Ethics adopted by the Institute of Internal Auditors. The Director of Internal Audit will be required to participate in continuing education programs and keep abreast of the quality assurance standards of both the Institute of Internal Auditors and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The Office of Internal Audit is responsible for this policy.
The policy will be reviewed every three years.
Manual of Policies and Procedures
Code of Ethics adopted by the Institute of Internal Auditors
Internal auditors are expected to apply and uphold the following principles:
The integrity of internal auditors establishes trust, and thus provides the basis for reliance on their judgment.
Internal auditors exhibit the highest level of professional objectivity in gathering, evaluating, and communicating information about the activity or process being examined. Internal auditors make a balanced assessment of all the relevant circumstances and are not unduly influenced by their own interests or by others in forming judgments.
Internal auditors respect the value and ownership of information they receive and do not disclose information without appropriate authority unless there is a legal or professional obligation to do so.
Internal auditors apply the knowledge, skills, and experience needed in the performance of internal audit services.
Rules of Conduct
1.1. Shall perform their work with honesty, diligence, and responsibility.
1.2. Shall observe the law and make disclosures expected by the law and their profession.
1.3. Shall not knowingly be a party to any illegal activity, or engage in acts that are discreditable to the profession of internal auditing or to the organization.
1.4. Shall respect and contribute to the legitimate and ethical objectives of the organization.
2.1. Shall not participate in any activity or relationship that may impair or be presumed to impair their unbiased assessment. This participation includes those activities or relationships that may be in conflict with the interests of the organization.
2.2. Shall not accept anything that may impair or be presumed to impair their professional judgment.
2.3. Shall disclose all material facts known to them that, if not disclosed, may distort the reporting of activities under review.
3.1. Shall be prudent in the use and protection of information acquired in the course of their duties.
3.2. Shall not use information for any personal gain or in any manner that would be contrary to the law, or detrimental to the legitimate and ethical objectives of the organization.
4.1. Shall engage only in those services for which they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience.
4.2. Shall perform internal audit services in accordance with the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards).
4.3. Shall continually improve their proficiency and the effectiveness and quality of their services.
Tony R. Bennett, Director
CPA, MBA, MA
Mr. Bennett has been a practicing CPA for 31 years. His professional experience covers a wide array of services ranging including accounting; tax and consulting services for hundreds of individuals and companies, and financial audits of numerous businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits, and quasi-governmental entities. Much of the audit service was committed to A-128, A-133, Yellow Book audits, and audits in conformance with the audit guides promulgated by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. Many of these audits were presented by Mr. Bennett to the respective Boards of Directors.
Mr. Bennett obtained the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in 1987. This knowledge was applied in numerous consulting and planning engagements involving corporate, partnership, and individual income tax planning and services; individual and business financial planning; budgeting and financial projections; forecasts, risks assessment, analysis and planning including insurance reviews and needs analysis and planning; succession planning, and estate tax services and planning.
On numerous occasions Mr. Bennett has been engaged as a taxpayer advocate and has campaigned on behalf of taxpayers’ rights where his written appeal, on one occasion, was presented on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Certified Financial Planner activities led him to obtain National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) licenses, series 6, 63 and 26, during this phase of his career. For 23 of the 30 years in practice, Mr. Bennett was a partner or principle in the accounting firms he was associated with, providing him with a vast amount of knowledge in managing every aspect of professional firms and operating businesses. This includes, but is not limited to, managing personnel and client relationships, public relations, promotional activities, budgeting, managing cash requirements, banking relationships, collecting accounts receivables, etc. Upon selling his accounting practice, Mr. Bennett was employed by AG Edwards & Sons where he obtained NASD licenses, series 7 and 66 in connection with his position as a financial consultant.
Janice Thomas, Auditor
Mrs. Thomas has been a practicing CPA for 24 years. Her professional experience covers a wide array of services including accounting, personal and corporate tax and consulting services, and financial audits of municipalities, not-for-profits and quasi-governmental entities. Much of the audit service was committed to A-128, A-133, Yellow Book audits, and audits in conformance with the audit guides promulgated by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts.
Ms. Thomas received her Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in accounting and graduating cum laude, from Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia in June 1985.
Sherry Taylor, Department Assistant
Prior to her employment at Jacksonville State in 1998, Mrs. Taylor was in the banking industry for 25 years. Initially hired as secretary assigned to managing insurance and other duties, Mrs. Taylor quickly moved up the ranks from loan department to teller to head cashier, and, ultimately, to a customer service specialist.
Mrs. Taylor began her JSU career working with Jack Hopper, the Assistant to the President, to help with the Presidential Search Committee reviewing candidates for the President’s position at the University. Mrs. Taylor continued to work with the President’s Office prior to and after the hiring of President Meehan in 1999. Mrs. Taylor assumed the position of Secretary to the Director of Internal Audit in 2000, but continues to assist in the President’s Office as well.