School Business Affairs September 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | SEPTEMBER 2019 25 FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING Internal Audits for Control, Compliance, Accountability An internal audit function helps district leaders develop a culture that promotes robust internal controls, compliance, and accountability. By David A. Harvey, CPA, CIA, CGFM, CDFM, CMA T he U. S. Department of Justice’s indictments of school administrators, parents, and others in connection with the college admissions scandal seemed to have everyone’s attention this past spring. The charges involved falsified athletic profiles and recommendations for admission from coaches and administrators who had received bribes—including funds from Hollywood celebrity parents. Of course, especially given the varied systems and compliance structures that affect the education sector, the potential exists for fraud—efforts to change grades to boost graduation rates or maintain student eligibility in athletic programs, as well as falsifying research data or inflating costs associated with grants sponsored by the federal government. When fraud comes to light, poor internal controls and lack of oversight are often identified as primary or contributing factors, bringing into question the efforts of education leaders and board members to ensure that the entities they oversee maintain a culture that WIRUL/STOCK.ADOBE.COM