Using Appropriate Internal Controls in Everyday Life

July 6, 2011 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

While most of the country was attending parades, eating hot dogs and watching fireworks on July 4th, I spent my day doing one thing — painting. Now because this blog deals with grants, I’m going attempt to compare my painting job to a single audit.

Instead of a huge wall that I could paint with reckless abandon, I was painting our front door threshold. Because this is the main portal to the house, there’s no way to hide improper practices. Therefore, I had to establish some critical internal control procedures — and follow them — to ensure that paint was applied as it should be. I did some risk assessment — a wayward application here would mean white paint all over our green front door; a splatter there could get paint all over the frame of the storm door. Considering my summary of prior painting work, definite controls were in order. My control technique was to apply painter’s tape to the front door and storm door — and lots of it!

Because I followed these steps, I had the assurances that I needed. Once completed, my handiwork was reviewed by my own personal auditor (namely, my wife). Because I had taken the necessary internal controls to properly oversee the job, my wife was pleased with my painting performance and gave me an unqualified report with no findings (i.e., nothing needed to be touched up). (Luckily for me, I had no one helping me, so I was relieved of any subrecipient monitoring responsibilities.)

This may not be a typical entry for this blog, but integrating the concepts of a single audit into everyday life could better prepare a grantee for its own single audit. For another viewpoint, auditor Leita Hart-Fanta provides an intriguing analysis of the single audit process from the auditor’s perspective in the August issue of the Single Audit Information Service.

What principles of a single audit could you apply in your daily life? Let us know.

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