Not-for-profits and internal controls often have an uneasy relationship. On the one hand, many not-for-profits, especially the smaller ones, lack the resources to implement robust internal controls. Yet internal controls are as critical in not-for-profits as in for-profit entities. In some respects, internal control failures can be more catastrophic for not-for-profits because the public, regulators, and others often hold them to a higher standard.
A $900M error, poor system design, and failed internal controls intersected in a recent court case decided in New York. Citibank, in its role as administrator for loans that a group of lenders, or syndicate, had made to Revlon, was responsible for coordinating between lenders and Revlon.
Payroll is one of the largest single expenses of an organization. Without proper accounting controls in place, money could be misappropriated and false expense claims processed. For this reason, employers must intimately understand their payroll costs, and know how to control and predict them.