Internal Audit: Does it Enhance Governance in the Australian Public University Sector?
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This study seeks to confirm if internal audit, a corporate control process, is functioning effectively in Australian public universities. The study draws on agency theory, published literature and best-practice guidelines to develop an internal audit evaluation framework. A survey instrument is thereafter developed from the framework and used as a basis to examine if internal audit is structured to enhance governance in the Australian public university sector. The results show that a majority of university internal audit functions are operating under flexible structural and functional arrangements to achieve internal audit’s theoretical role of enhancing governance. A minority of functions did not comply with best-practice guidelines for achieving internal auditing’s theoretical role. The flexible arrangements further do not guarantee internal audit functions currently complying with best-practice guidelines will continue to do so. Contributing factors to non-compliance and flexible operating arrangements include the non-availability of mandatory requirements for compliance by the profession or government legislation. The study provides avenues for further research to confirm the findings with other stakeholders.
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