AUDITING AS A VERITABLE TOOL FOR EFFICIENT ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC FUNDS (A CASE STUDY OF ISOKO SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL)
ABSTRACT This study is to analyze those factors which will reveal the purpose of auditing being available too far proper accountability of public funds over the years, there has been continuing need to strengthen the role of auditing as a veritable tool for efficient accountability of local government councils. This is to prevent various problems militating against councils were created. Among the various means adopted to combat these problems. Auditing stand out as one veritable tool in ensuring that there is efficient accountability in local government council. The divergent views scholars were laid so as to achieve the stated objective of the study the study made use of both primary and secondary data questionnaires were distributed of the council secretariat coupled with discussions and observations for the collection of data. For research questions were put forward and were analyzed using the simple percentage statistical tool. Outcome of these analyzed showed that the audit function of the councils has always had far reaching positive impact on the efficient accountability of public funds of the council. Certain weaknesses were also revealed which were management reluctance at implementing auditor’s proposal to enhance the council role of auditing as veritable to for efficient accountability of public funds and extravagance. As a result of these finding, the study submits that management should objectivity and promptly respond to such proposal and prome wasteful spending. It was also recommended that management should make efforts to improve the perceived weak internal control system of the council.
TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the study 1.2 Statement of problem 1.3 Objective of the study 1.4 Research Question 1.5 Significance of the study 1.6 Scope of the Study 1.7 Plan of the Study 1.8 Limitation of the Study 1.9 Definition of Terms
CHAPTER TWO - LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 introduction 2.2 Development of Government Auditing in Nigeria 2.3 Statutory Auditing for Auditing in Nigeria 2.4 Public Accountability 2.5 Auditing 2.6 Internal Audit 2.7 External Audit 2.8 System Auditing 2.9 Audit Standard 2.10 Factors Affecting Efficient Fund Management 2.11 Financial Management 2.12 Aids to Proper Accounting of Fund
CHAPTER THREE - RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction 3.2 Research design 3.3 Population of the Study 3.4 Sample Size 3.5 Sampling Techniques 3.6 Research Instrument 3.7 Validity of the Instrument 3.8 Reliability of the Instrument
3.9 Method of Data Collection 3.10 Method of Data Analysis
CHAPTER FOUR - DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.1 Introduction 4.2 Presentation and Analysis of Data 4.3 Discussion of Findings
CHAPTER FIVE - SUMMARY CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 5.1 Summary 5.2 Conclusion 5.3 Recommendation 5.4 Suggestion for Further Study
Background of the Study Accountability in its simplest form means the duty to answer for the responsibility that has conferred on someone. It indicates the existences of at least two parties, one who allocate responsibility (i.e higher authority) and the other its (i.e. lower authority). With the understanding to reports upon the manner or system in which it has been discharged or taken off. More formally, accountability is an external control device by which public office holders and institutions are made to give documentary explanation for their action and decision. Accountability is regarded as synonym for stewardship. The document factor in accountability is control, there must be an existence of control measures before accountability can be present and it is safe to say that where there is no control there will be no accountability. Public accountability is of various forms: political accountability, legal accountability, management accountability, financial accountability, fiscal accountability etc. While auditing on the other hand is a process carried out by suitable qualified auditor. The account of business entities including limited liability companies, professional firm are examine in such detail as it enable the auditors to form an opinion as to their true and fairness. The opinion is their curtail in an audit report addressed to those parties who appointed the auditors.
Agbawe (2005), defined an audit as an examination and inquiry into statement of accounts the underlying record document, assets and liabilities by an independent person with a view to express an opinion as to the accuracy and the correctness of the financial statements. The role of an auditing in promoting accountability i.e. collection and disbursement of public fund requires special consideration and disciplined in a developing country like Nigeria be public fund is ought to be touched with most scrupulous consciousness of honor.
Statement of the Problem
In every research work is undertaken with the motive to solve a specific problem or to increase knowledge in a chosen area of study. The problem is usually in the form of a knowledge gap which the researcher wishes to fill by generating the needed information.
To this end, this research work aims to examine the following problems as they affect the efficient application of auditing in the management of public fund. The major problems this research aims to look into are:
1. The prevention or prevalence of fraudulent practices in virtually all ministries and department in resulting in the loss of public funds. 2. Focus also with the place on why well-qualified certified chartered accountant are not staying in public sectors. 3. General apathy on the part that ministries and departments in reporting to audit queries. 4. To examine the impact of ministries and local government incurring huge expenditure in excess of their budgetary allocation without asking for supplementary appropriation. 5. Financial irregularities emanating from ignorance of non-competence with financial and stores regulations on the part of officer concerned. Objectives of the Study Yomere and Agbonifo (1999), the objectives of the research investigation refers to what the study seek to achieved, they are the purposes of the study in terms of knowledge gap it intend to fills. Objectives of the study will include amongst other things:
1. To ascertain how the prevalence fraudulent practices virtually amongst all the departments has resulted to the loss of public funds. 2. To determine to what extent the general apathy on the part of Ministries and departments in responding to audit queries has helped the efficient management of public funds. 3. To examine the roles of well qualified accountants in a proper management of funds in local governments. 4. To ascertain the extend to which financial irregularities amounting from ignorance of regulation on the part of officers concerned has imparted on proper accountability of public funds. Research Questions Based on the foregoing research objectives which aims at providing answers to the following research questions:
1. Why there is a need for an audit in the council? 2. Is there any indirect beneficial interest? 3. And also does the audit department have access to every account in the council? 4. Does the council have an internal audit department?
Significance of the Study This research work remains very relevant and important because it is designed to elicit various ways of handing public monies. The responsibilities of officers controlling public funds also the base for which funds are collected. The researcher will also identify machineries used to enhance proper accountabilities and which organ of government is more independence an auditors will promote accountability, wisdom and management of fund in the public sector.
While to the public sector as a whole, it hoped that this research investigation will offered them the opportunity to adequate understand the workability technical characteristics as well as the consequences of the instrument of auditing and make necessary modification to its stewardship rule. Again, the study will also prove important for those who are interested in having an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. Most importantly, it could take off points in advancing the frontier in subjects matter.
Scope of the Study In other to get true and well-focused analysis, the scope of the research work is limited to government funded agencies with a strict focus on Isoko South Local Government Council. In addition, this study is not undertaken to revealed fraud or weakness in council rather it is carried out to see whether auditing could be an aid to effective and efficient utilization of the fund available to the council for its operation.
Plan of Study This research work for the sake of convenience is divided into five chapters. Chapter one entails the general introduction in the project topic “auditing as a veritable to for efficient accountability of public funds”.
Chapter two talk about the review of relevant literature. Chapter three is on research methodology, chapter four deal with data presentation and chapter five have to do with the summary, findings, conclusion and recommendation. Limitation of Study The researcher in course of this work encounters the following factors which serious stoud as obstacle to this research work.
1. Time: The researcher is trying to meet up with the time of completion of the project had to work harder, pressure, most time I even had to miss lecture so as to up with appointment relating to data gathering.
2. The government policies which restricts civil servant from given out certain information also militated against this research work.
3. The attitude of many of the respondents towards the researcher was also factor to contend with.
4. Financial constraints – lack of enough funds was also another obstacle encountered by the researcher.
But in all this obstacles, the information at my disposal will be able to achieve the stated objectives
Definition of Terms
In other to avoid problems and misinterpretation of words some technical and unfamiliar terms that the non-specialist my stumble a cross in the course of reading this work are defined below:
1. Auditing: Auditing can be taken as an examination of accounting records and other operational material to a view to ascertaining whether they are correctly and competently reflect the transaction or purpose to which they are related.
2. Control: This is the monitoring of activities to ensure their conformity to laid down plans and procedures.
3. Stewardship: Used interchangeable as accountability that is the act of rendering account of what has been entrusted to one’s care.
4. This is an unnecessary delay either natural or induce in government establishment and other public enterprises.
5. Circumvention: This means to get better of a contract or prevent a contract from being carried out. Finding way to get round a contract so as to evade calling for tenders.
6. Deletion: Strike of or take out of contract imprinted or written forms. The act of striking of public funds.
7. Scrupulous: This is the act of being careful and paying attention to every detail being concerns in the act of getting information in the organisation.
8. Elicit: Is the act of getting information or a reaction from somebody.
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