INTERNAL CONTROL WEAKNESSES AND ITS DETERMINANTS IN NIGERIAN BANKS

(Accounting)
INTERNAL CONTROL WEAKNESSES AND ITS DETERMINANTS IN NIGERIAN BANKS
TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study                    
Statement of the Research Problem               
Research Questions                        
Research Objectives                     
Research Hypotheses                    
Scope of the Study                        
Significance of the Study                    
 Limitation of the Study                        
References                                
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0     Introduction                            
2.1   The Concept of Internal Control                 
2.2   Internal Control Objectives                     
2.3      Types of Internal Control Systems             
2.4      Components of Internal Control                 
2.5     Parties Responsible for and Affected by Internal Controls
2.6     Limitations of Internal Controls                 
2.7     An Overview of the Nigerian Banking Industry         
2.8    Challenges of the Internal Control Unit in the Nigerian
Banking Industry                      
References                        
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1        Introduction                        
3.2      Research Design                     
3.3         Population and Sample                     
3.4       Sampling Technique                    
3.5       Sources of Data                        
3.6    The Research Instrument                    
3.7      Data Analysis Method                    
3.8    Model Specification                         
CHAPTER FOUR:     PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
4.0     Introduction                        
4.1     Presentation and Analysis of Result            
4.2    Hypotheses Testing                        
CHAPTER FIVE:    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1       Introduction                            
5.2       Summary of Findings                 
5.3       Conclusion                            
5.4         Recommendations                    
Bibliography                         
Appendix                         
CHAPTER ONE
                                            INTRODUCTION
1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
There is currently considerable interest in the topic of internal control systems and its contribution to exact management of any business economic resources (Kantzos and Chondraki, 2006; Rittenberg, 2006). This developing role of the internal controls is also reflected in its current definition as posited by Cahill (2006:11) which states that “internal control is the system of internal administrative and financial checks and balances designed by management, and supported by corrective actions, to ensure that the goals and responsibilities of the organization are achieved”.  The growth in international financial markets, the emergence of the universal banking policy amongst others has given banks the opportunity to design new products and to provide a wide range of services which has come with increases in associated risks (Palfi and Muresan, 2009). Consequently, there is growing management recognition of the importance of implementing a good internal control system as the activities of internal controls are now seen as critical elements in the assurance process.
With particular emphasis on banks, strong internal control systems have long been seen as particularly relevant to banks because of their vulnerability to fraud and the links between information systems and money (Cahill, 2006). A system of effective internal controls is a critical component of bank management and a foundation for the safe and sound operation of banking organisations. A system of strong internal controls can help to ensure that the goals and objectives of a banking organisation will be met, that the bank will achieve long-term profitability targets, and maintain reliable financial and managerial reporting. Such a system can also help to ensure that the bank will comply with laws and regulations as well as policies, plans, internal rules and procedures, and decrease the risk of unexpected losses or damage to the bank’s reputation. According to the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision (1998), this heightened interest in internal controls is, in part, a result of significant losses incurred by several banking organizations. An analysis of the problems related to these losses indicates that they could probably have been avoided had the banks maintained effective internal control systems. Such systems would have prevented or enabled earlier detection of the problems that led to the losses, thereby limiting damage to the banking organisation. The committee report highlighted further that the internal control systems must be designed to provide reasonable assurance of realizing the underlying objectives, as there should be necessary assurance that all bank’s revenues accrue to its benefit, all expenditure is duly authorized and properly disbursed, all assets are adequately safeguarded, all liabilities are recorded, all statutory requirements relating to the provision of accounts are complied with and all prudential reporting conditions are strictly adhered to in such a manner for providing management information.
In the Nigerian banking industry, there is the perception by stakeholders that the quality of internal control appears to be inadequate. The persistence of financial fraud and fragility in the system resulting to several bail out attempts by the apex financial institution strengthens the suspicion of a deep-rooted internal control challenge. Though studies in this regards have been largely anecdotal, the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision (1998), report provides a comprehensive framework that provides insight into what could determine the internal control weakness such as; Lack of adequate management oversight and accountability, and failure to develop a strong control culture within the bank, insufficient guidance and oversight by boards of directors and senior management, Inadequate recognition and assessment of the risk of certain banking activities, the absence or failure of key control structures and activities. The focus of the study therefore is to examine and provide empirical findings of the factors influencing the quality of internal controls in the Nigerian banking industry.
1.2     STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM.
    This heightened interest in internal controls is, in part, a result of significant losses incurred by several banking organisations. An analysis of the problems related to these losses indicates that they could probably have been avoided had the banks maintained effective internal control systems. Such systems would have prevented or enabled earlier detection of the problems that led to the losses, thereby limiting damage to the banking organisation. The trend analysis of fraud in the banking sector as indicated in the NDIC (2009) report reveals that in 2003, the total number of attempted fraud was 850, in 2004 it increased to 1175, in 2005 it further increased to 1229. The total number of attempted frauds declined to 1193 in 2006 and increased again to 1553 in 2007. The experience in 2008 -2010 showed above 30% increment in the number of fraudulent attempts. The total expected losses to the banking sector from 2003- 2005 were 857.46million, 2610.00million, 5602.05million respectively. In 2006, it stood at 2768.67million while in 2007, it stood at 2970.85million. The amounts seem to have increased progressively from 2007-2010 with an average increment rate of above 25% (NDIC, 2009). Research into the factors that could be responsible for internal control weakness is a largely undeveloped research area in the Nigerian environment and specifically for the Nigerian banking industry and this defines the contribution and relevance of this study.
1.3    RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In the light of the issues in framework provided in the Basel 1999 report,  the following research questions have been identified and will form the direction for the study;
Is there a significant relationship between bank internal control environment and internal control weakness?
Is there a significant relationship between the quality of Bank’s Risk assessment activities and the internal control weakness?
Is there a significant relationship between Banks internal monitoring activities and the internal control weakness?
Is there a significant relationship between Banks internal control activities and the internal control weakness?
1.4   RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The following are the objectives of the study;
To examine if there exist a significant relationship between bank internal control environment and internal control weakness.
To identify if there exist a significant relationship between the quality of Bank’s Risk assessment activities and the internal control weakness
To determine if there exist a significant relationship between Banks internal monitoring activities and the internal control weakness.
To examine if  there exist a significant relationship between Banks internal control activities and the internal control weakness
    RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses have been specified to guide the direction of the study;
H0:     There is no significant relationship between bank internal             control environment and internal control weakness.
    H1:     There is a significant relationship between bank internal             control environment and internal control weakness.
H0:     There is no significant relationship between the quality of             Bank’s Risk    assessment activities and the internal control             weakness.
H1:     There is a significant relationship between the quality of             Bank’s Risk assessment activities and the internal control             weakness.
H0:     There is no significant relationship between Banks internal             monitoring activities and the internal control weakness.
H1:     There is a significant relationship between Banks internal             monitoring activities and the internal control weakness.
 H0:     There is a significant relationship between Banks internal             control activities and   the internal control weakness.
H1:     There is a significant relationship between Banks internal             control activities and   the internal control weakness.
    SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study may be defined with respect to the subject matter, the sample, study area and the time period. Consequently, this study is focused on the determinants of the persistence of internal control weakness in Nigerian banks. A respondent’s size of 120 from thirteen publicly quoted commercial banks was selected as the study sampling size from a population of twenty four commercial banks operating in Nigeria. The selection covers both the first generation Banks, second generation Banks and Banks that emerged from mergers during the recent bank consolidation in Nigeria the geographical spread of the study  is restricted to only staffs of banks with branches in Benin city
1.7    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
A study of this nature holds numerous benefits across an eclectic range of stakeholders in the Nigerian banking industry. Firstly the study will be useful to management in evaluating the like determinants of internal control quality in the banking sector. The research objectives clearly delineate critical factors that may be perceived as basis for the tendencies for weakness of internal control system and findings about these factors will be useful. Secondly, the study will be a significant contribution to the literature especially as it provides evidence from a developing economy like Nigeria. Thirdly, the study will be of immense benefits to policy institutions like the CBN and the NDIC as well as other key regulatory bodies. The study and the subsequent findings could provide the necessary theoretical framework needed for effective policy formulation, simulation and implementation. Fourthly, other researchers interested in similar issues as those highlighted in the study, may also find this study very useful. Other stakeholders such as shareholders will find the study insightful and providing a broad view of internal control quality and related challenges in the banking industry.
   LIMITATION OF THE STUDY.
The study identifies the following limitations; firstly, there is the challenge of inappropriate measurement of variables especially when qualitative issues such as those addressed in this study are examined. Thus in dealing with such issues the potential for subjectivity is often inevitable. In addition, the smallness of the sample size is also considered a limitation. Furthermore, there is the challenge of low response rate especially with regards to questionnaires. There is the potential for intended respondents to display apathy towards filling of the research questionnaires. This is an often cited challenge associated with primary research. Also, the eventual analysis of the research findings is always subject to the assumption that the respondents have provided a true opinion to the questions and often times this cannot be ascertained by the researcher
REFERENCES
Basle Committee on Banking Supervision report (1998):  Internal Control Systems in Banking Organisations. Retrieved from www. ssrn.com
Bowrin, A. (2004) ‘Internal control in Trinidad and Tobago religious organizations’, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Vol. 17, No pp.121-152.
Cahill, E. (2006) ‘Audit committee and internal audit effectiveness in a multinational bank subsidiary: A case study’, Journal of Banking Regulation, Vol 7, No ½, pp.160-179.

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