CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter discusses conclusion drawn from the study findings and recommendations made. The recommendations basically presented on the management of public entities, internal audit unit and internal auditors who are working in the public sector.
The study found that, the effectiveness of internal audit function in the public sector is influenced by the code of ethics for internal auditors. Code of ethics for internal auditors contains principles that are relevant to the profession and practice of internal audit and rules of conduct that describe behavior norms expected of internal auditors (IIA, 2010). These rules help in interpreting the principles in practical application and the purpose is to govern with ethical conduct of internal auditors. Thus, internal auditors in the public sector need to uphold integrity which create trust which provides a basis for the reliability of their assessment otherwise, no one will value their activities.
The study findings show that, internal auditors need to respect laws, disclose information as required by law and the profession, perform their duty honestly, carefully and responsibly. Also, they need to avoid to participate in illegal work or activities that discredit the internal audit profession. This will help to strengthen internal audit function in the public sector and also enhance public organizations to achieve their legal and ethical objectives. The study findings were similar with the results of study of Krishna et al., (2010) who found that, internal audit has been designed to improve the organization’s operations. Likewise, the study by Badara (2012) found that, internal auditors need to review organization processes continuously in order to improve internal controls of the organization and strengthen the effectiveness of internal audit function while complying with the code of ethics for internal auditors.
Additionally, the study findings show that, internal auditors in the public sector need to possess high level of professional objectivity. Objectivity of internal auditors is an essential factor for internal audit effectiveness (Suwaidan and Qasim, 2010). This is because, objectivity enhances effectiveness of internal audit function since it requires internal auditors to conduct a balanced assessment of all relevant circumstances and upon them do not affect their own interests and others formed opinions.
Internal auditors are supposed to avoid to participate in any activity or relationship that could be considered to damage their fair assessment. Such scenario includes activities or relationships that may be in conflict with the interests of the organization (Azzone, 2009). Therefore, internal auditors are supposed to remain objective at all time.
Moreover, the study found that, internal auditors are required to respect the value and ownership of information they receive and not to disclose any information without appropriate authority unless there is a legal or professional obligation so to proceed. It has been pointed out that, public entities are holding massive information and data for public interest.
Therefore, internal auditors need to be very careful in the use and protection of data and information made available to them when they are performing audits (IIA, 2009). They are not required to use any information for personal gain or in any manner that would be contrary to law or detrimental to the legitimate and ethical objectives of public organizations.
Effective internal audit function in the public sector needs competent internal auditors. Internal auditors need to apply their knowledge, skills and experience needed in executing audit activities. They are supposed to carry out internal audits in compliance with the requirements of the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF). IPPF is a mandatory guidance and recommended guidance by the IIA to internal audit professionals worldwide (IIA, 2017).
Last but not least, internal auditors need to improve their expertise and quality of services in order to strengthen the effectiveness of internal audit function. They need to be aware and uphold firmly the code of ethics for internal auditors.
During interview with one internal auditor at the Ministry of agriculture on the challenge facing internal auditors on compliance with the code of ethics for internal auditors, he said that, “majority of internal auditors in the public sector are not aware with the benefits of upholding firmly the code of ethics for internal auditors as compared with the private sector”.
Another respondent when interviewed on the kind of supports that internal auditors need from the management in order to help them to comply with the code of ethics for internal auditors and eventually improve the effectiveness of internal audit function, she said that, “the Ministry is supposed to have adequate copies of the Code of ethics for internal auditors in order to help internal auditors to read at all-time in and outside the office”.
With due regard to the ever increasing desire to have effective internal audit function in the public sector in Tanzania, there is need for internal auditors to uphold firmly code of ethics for internal auditors. It is very essential for the managements of public institutions in Tanzania to encourage their internal auditors to abide with the requirements of the code of ethics for internal auditors. By complying with the requirements code of ethics, internal auditors will execute their tasks efficiently for the benefits of their departments, organizations and the public at large.
Also, internal auditors should be allowed to attend professional trainings related to code of ethics for internal auditors so as to be up-to-date with the new changes which are occurring every day in the internal audit professional’s environment worldwide.
Likewise, internal audit departments in the public sector need to have code of ethics for internal auditors because very few internal audit departments within the public sector in Tanzania are having the code of ethics. By having the code of ethics, it will become very easy to see whether internal auditors are complying with the requirements of the code of ethics or not. This should be done through regular check-ups and follow-ups on their performance. By doing so, the effectiveness of internal audit function in the public sector in Tanzania will be improved.
Last but not least, internal auditors who are working in the public sector in Tanzania need to understand the benefits of upholding firmly the code of ethics for internal auditors. The code of ethics narrates the principles and behaviors that internal auditors need to have.
Nowadays, internal auditing is a professional job, which needs professional people. The public and other stakeholders rely on internal audit activities in order to make various decisions, hence, internal auditors need to value and appreciate the requirements of the code of ethics for internal auditors. Internal audits need to be performed with people who are possessing high level of integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and competence which ultimately improve the effectiveness of the internal audit function in the public sector.
6.3 Limitations of the study
During the study, a researcher faced a number of challenges including limited fund. The fund provided for the study was not enough to meet all expenses like paying researchers’ assistants, transport costs, stationeries and meal allowance. In most cases the appointments for interviews and collecting the questionnaires from the respondents were not met properly as agreed. This made the researcher to incur extra cost in terms of travelling back and forth in order to get responses from the respondents.
Also, despite the researcher’s persistence to interview respondents, the time allocated was too limited to get more insights about how code of ethics for internal auditors influence internal audit effectiveness. There was a fix time for concluding the research something which was beyond the ability of the researcher. The time for the study was not enough to carry out exhaustive study because some of the information was not easily and quickly available.
Likewise, some respondents especially those who were supposed to fill questionnaires, could not fill the questionnaire on time, and others misplaced them to the extent that the researcher was required to redistribute other copies.
Additionally, many respondents had a notion of getting some money from the researcher especially when they knew that he was conducting a research as a requirement for degree award.
The limitations of the study were addressed as follows: The researcher used even weekends and holidays to collect, analyze and interpret the collected data on time. Also, the researcher used his own money to meet some research costs like transportation costs and meal allowances to research assistants so as cover a wide study area.
Likewise, the researcher took a time to inform respondents that, there was no money and that the study was just only for fulfillment of degree course, hence, the respondents understood and participated effectively in the study.
6.5 Areas for further research
The study suggested that, further research to be done on the influence of code of ethics for internal auditors on the effectiveness of internal audit function in the private sector and local governments in order to depict reliable information that illustrates real situation in both public and private sector organizations.
Also, further research should be done on the mechanisms and ways used by public institutions to measure the extent to which internal auditors are complying with the global code of ethics for internal auditors. This is because, in many public institutions, internal auditors are not full independent from their organizations and this scenario brings a big challenge when measuring the level or extent of upholding firmly the elements of the code of ethics for internal auditors.