Why do small NGOs need internal controls?
NGOs generally utilize public funds from government, charitable funding bodies or public donations to serve their beneficiaries. Regardless of their size of operations and funding, all NGOs are faced with risks in various areas of their operation just like commercial companies. Fostering a culture of governance and check and balance in the operations and delivery of services is an important way for NGOs to demonstrate that their resources have been put to good use for achieving their missions.
While small NGOs may not have their own internal audit units, they are still required to be accountable to various stakeholders by sustaining a sound internal control system to manage their risks properly. By implementing internal controls in key areas, small NGOs can minimize fraudulent activities from occurring, use resources transparently and effectively, comply with the necessary laws and regulations, and ultimately build a respectable and trustworthy reputation.
The Internal Control Toolkit for Small Non-Governmental Organizations serves to guide NGOs to improve their accountability and transparency by providing them with insights on common risks faced by small NGOs within four selected processes aligned with the flow of resources and funding. These processes include budget preparation and monitoring, income processing and management, payroll processing and adjustments, and procurement of goods and services.