Introduction to Internal Control
Developed in Accordance with SUNY Internal Control Guidelines
The following information is taken from the Internal Control brochure issued to all faculty and staff at SUNY Plattsburgh.
In 1987, The New York State Governmental Accountability Act formalized a system of productivity and accountability in all state agencies including SUNY. The Act included provisions for strengthening campus internal controls and for measuring their effectiveness.
This brochure is an abbreviated version of SUNY's Internal Control Guidelines and references specific aspects of SUNY Plattsburgh's Internal Control Program.
- Why Internal Control?
- Internal Control Systems
- How is the Internal Control Program Implemented?
- Who is Responsible for Internal Controls?
- What Can You Do?
- Internal Control Hotline
- More information
Why Internal Controls?
Internal controls provide reasonable assurance that an organization uses its resources (including its human resources) to address established objectives and goals and take steps to decrease the risks to the organization. While it is the law that the College has an Internal Control Program, it also makes good sense for the College to operate as efficiently as possible.
If we do not have internal controls in place, we could lose resources and opportunities. Such losses could prevent us from fully meeting our goals and objectives and negatively impact our mission.
Internal controls are daily operating practices and procedures that minimize the possibility of inappropriate use of resources; loss, waste or damage of resources; overspending; or other actions inconsistent with policy or in violation of law. Simply stated, the College's Internal Control Program is designed to review, critique, and strengthen existing systems and procedures.
Internal Control Systems
The Internal Control Program at SUNY Plattsburgh is comprised of several major internal control systems. Elements of the college's internal control systems that affect the daily operation and management of SUNY Plattsburgh include, but are not limited to:
- External (federal, state, and local) laws, regulations, policies, and procedures
- Regulations/requirements of accreditations associations (Middle States, etc.)
- Policies of the SUNY Board of Trustees
- Executive Council policy statements
- Approved Faculty Senate policies and bylaws
- Agreements with UUP, CSEA and other labor unions
- Statements of policy and procedure in the College handbook and/or catalog
- Student registration, billing, and payment procedures
- Personnel procedures
- Employee performance programs/evaluations
- Time and attendance reporting
- Property (equipment) control
- Financial and operational procedures
- Electronic data and network security
- Public safety, environmental safety, code compliance practices
- Service contracts, revocable permits
- Building door lock systems and key control
- Student and employee identification cards
- Department and program specific policies and procedures
How Is the Internal Control Program Implemented?
While every member of the campus has some responsibility in following policies and procedures and in protecting campus assets, the College is required under the Internal Control Act of 1987 to have an Internal Control Officer and an Internal Control Committee (ICC), which oversees the Internal Control Program. The ICC assists departments and offices across campus in completing a periodic internal control review of procedures to detect conscious and/or unintended abuses, lapses or operational deficiencies.
Some examples of procedures and policies that may be reviewed include:
- Planning activities
- Program evaluations
- Budget cycle
- Personnel transactions
- Information systems
- Cash activities
- Contract management
- Capital programs
Upon completion of an internal control review, the ICC meets with unit managers to discuss the review and what, if any, changes in internal controls or procedures should be considered. The ICC also provides training to employees through workshops, films, and other materials.
Who is Responsible for Internal Controls?
- Every employee has the responsibility to help ensure that internal controls are effective by following policies and procedures and reporting problems or suggesting improvements.
- The greatest amount of responsibility rests with vice presidents, deans, department chairs, and managers to assure appropriate controls are in place for all operations.
- The president has the ultimate responsibility and must sign an annual certification that SUNY Plattsburgh is in compliance with the Internal Control Act.
What Can You Do?
- Follow the policies and procedures in place for your job.
- Always secure your office or workspace when you leave.
- Use College resources only in support of College goals, objectives, and programs.
- Keep documents containing confidential or sensitive data in secure files.
- Shred documents containing confidential or sensitive data when no longer needed.
- Communicate problems with current procedures or suggestions for improvement to your supervisor.
- Report any suspicious persons or activities to your supervisor and/or University Police.
- Do not share or post computer passwords.
- Always secure your computer when you leave for the day.
- Look for opportunities to reduce waste and improve efficiencies.
Internal Control Hotline
Phone: (866) 633-6112
SUNY Plattsburgh is committed to ensuring our funds and resources are used in an effective and efficient matter. The Internal Control Hotline is intended for faculty, staff, students, and others to report suspected fraud, intentional or unintentional misuse involving State funds, equipment, or supplies or other irregular activities including suspected thefts or losses.
Complaints about other matters, such as personnel issues or academic misconduct, should be brought to the attention of the appropriate office on campus.
If you suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or irregular activities at SUNY Plattsburgh, please leave a message on the Hotline.
If you have any questions regarding the College's Internal Control Program, please contact:
Vice President for Administration and Finance
Phone: (518) 564-2130
Internal Control Coordinator
Phone: (518) 564-3613
You may also contact any member of the Internal Control Committee.