Internal Control Program
In 1987, The New York State Governmental Accountability Act was enacted to formalize a system of productivity and accountability in all state agencies including SUNY campuses. The Act included provisions for strengthening campus internal controls and for measuring their effectiveness. Agencies received the following mandates:
- Establish and maintain guidelines for a formal internal control program.
- Establish internal control reviews for departmental managers to identify risks, weaknesses and corrective actions.
- Ensure that all employees understand the concept of internal control and their respective roles and responsibilities.
- Formally state the organization's policies and standards for all employees.
- Determine the manner of fulfilling the internal audit function.
- Designate an internal control officer to coordinate the program.
As required by law, SUNY Plattsburgh must annually certify that its Internal Control Program is in compliance with the Internal Control Act. In addition to the six standard requirements, the state may, from time to time, identify additional activities campuses are expected to complete as part of the on-going internal control program.
Since internal control depends on the participation of all employees at every position level, all employees should be aware of the College's goals and their participating roles in attaining those goals. They should routinely exercise judgment and act to protect the institution and its resources from loss, waste, or damage. All employees need to exhibit the personal and professional traits of the responsible and productive person in seeking areas for improvement and acting in the best interests and protection of the institution and the public.
The success of an internal control program depends upon good communication throughout the organizational structure. Often the best manner of evaluating operational and program effectiveness is at the unit (department) level. Program reviews and critical area testing may be employed. Identified weaknesses and recommendations for corrective action or general improvement should flow smoothly through the organizational structure with thorough review and response at each succeeding level. Acknowledgment and further communication (feedback) to the operating level will confirm the extent of the noted weakness and the best corrective course of action.
It is this two-way communication which best serves to address issues and concerns in a timely manner and to reach solutions, benefiting from both the first-hand skills at the departmental level and the collective knowledge and resources of the institution.
The principles of internal control, executed by whatever manner or approach, ensure the best possible service to the College's students and clientele in the most cost-effective manner. The cost-benefits to SUNY Plattsburgh will be real and measurable.
As members of a New York State public tax-supported institution, we all serve as stewards of the public trust. The citizens of the State expect that quality education, research, and public service will be provided through the best utilization of resources provided. It is our responsibility to fulfill that public trust.