An examination of the effect of internal controls on the management of finances in Zambian secondary schools: a case of Mpika boys secondary school.

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Mulenga, Fred
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The University of Zambia
Financial internal controls are critical in the attainment of organisational objectives. This study focused on the effect of internal controls on the management of finances at Mpika boys’ secondary school. The study was prompted by revelations of alarming levels of financial impropriety in secondary schools by the Auditor Generals Reports (AGR). The study was anchored on the general objective of assessment of the effect of internal controls on the management of Finances at Mpika boys’ secondary school. Fifty-Six (56) questionnaires were distributed to purposively and randomly selected respondents, out of which 51 were returned, translating into a response rate of 91%. Primary data was collected using a 5-point Likert scaled questionnaire with closed-ended questions while secondary data was collected through an archival method. Data were analysed using descriptive analysis methods with the help of SPSS. Based on the significance of mean scores of responses under each component of internal controls (3.53 for Control Environment, 3.77 for Control Activities 3.42 for information and 3.59 Monitoring Activities) internal controls were adjudged to have significant positive effect on financial management. In addition, the study provided evidence that financial internal control system at Mpika boys’ secondary school were functional and adequate although component of Risk Assessment required significant improvement as it was found to be neither effective nor inadequate. Most significantly, the study reaffirmed the existence of Agent-Principal relationship between the state and school authorities through evidence that characteristically upheld fundamental concepts of Agency Theory of Agency Relationship, conflict of interest and Agency costs as embedded in the Autonomy of the school authority over school funds, monitoring of financial activities of the school by external authorities and review of financial activities of the school through internal and external audits. The study, therefore, recommended that management at Mpika boys’ secondary school should address aspects of Risk Assessment and Monitoring Activities that were reported to be weak. The Researcher further recommended for a study that would focus on the causes of financial impropriety in Zambian secondary schools that continue to be revealed through Auditor General’s Report.
Financial internal controls. , Financial management--Government schools.