The effectiveness of accounting controls of listed companies on the Ghana Stock Exchange

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August, 2015
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The study examines the effectiveness of accounting controls of listed companies on the Ghana stock exchange. Recent international financial reporting scandals have caused regulators to place premium on accounting control systems as the choice that could improve the quality of reporting. The study measures control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, monitoring and evaluation. Ernst &Young and KPMG models are broken down into 28 checklist of control principles. The checklist relating to all the categories stated above examines the disclosure of accounting controls in the annual reports of listed companies. A sample of 33 companies across different industries is selected. Overall accounting control system shows an average of effectiveness in this study, which implies an overall low level of effectiveness. Out of the five categories assessed under accounting control system, monitoring and risk assessment show a higher level of effectiveness. Control environment, control activities, information and communication show a lower level of effectiveness. Our results suggest that significant amount of control weaknesses exist which adversely impacts the overall effectiveness of accounting controls of listed companies. The study makes contribution to the academic research activities relating to accounting controls in Ghana. Pervasive in the measurement process is a margin of error due to the use of subjective judgement for some principles used in assessing accounting control effectiveness. Annual review of IT policies and procedures to align with strategic plans for efficiency should be ensured. Listed companies should increase the evaluation of issues on process flows, policies, risks and controls for action. Develop and implement company-wide risk management plan. Organograms should be reviewed for proper delegation of authorities. Succession plan should be developed and implemented with the training needs in mind.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Accounting and Finance, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business Administration (Accounting Option), 2015
Accounting control system (ACS), financial reporting, effectiveness, Ghana Stock Exchange