What is treasury?

A treasury can be :

  • the part of a government which manages all money and revenue.
  • the funds of a government or institution or individual
  • the government department responsible for collecting and managing and spending public revenues .
  • depository (a room or building) where wealth and precious objects can be kept.
  • The center of financial operations within a company.

Scope of present study:

The present study deals with treasury management of business entities. Treasury management of an entity would normally consist of management of its cash flows, its banking, money market and capital market transactions; the effective control of the risks associated with those activities; and the pursuit of optimum performance consistent with those risks.

The effectiveness of treasury management is measured by the successful identification, monitoring and control of risk activities. The internal auditor should focus on the risk implications of the analysis and reporting of treasury activities.

Activities of treasury management

An effective treasury management would support in the achievement of business and service objectives. It would aim to eliminate processing bottlenecks, inefficiencies leading to delays in mobilizing internal funds. Some of the activities of treasury management operation are as follows:

  • Evaluating the adequacy of financial control environment.
  • Evaluating the adequacy of financial and accounting controls
  • Functions and processes in treasury include:
  • Cash Flow (daily balances and longer term forecasting) to give an assessment of future borrowing requirements and help in the timing and planning of borrowing and investment decisions.
  • Investing surplus funds in Approved Investments.
  • Short Term Borrowing
  • Funding of capital payments through borrowing, capital receipts, grants, or leasing.
  • Management of debt and capital financing charges through debt restructuring and associated techniques.
  • Interest rate exposure management.
  • Dealing procedures with brokers and banks
  • Foreign exchange risk management to reduce the impact of exchange rate variances on earnings.

The treasury management function should frame policies for:

  • Risk Management
  • Best Value and performance measurement
  • Decision-making and analysis
  • Approved instruments, methods and techniques
  • Organisation, clarity and segregation of responsibilities, and dealing arrangements
  • Reporting requirements and management information arangements
  • Budgeting, accounting and audit arrangements
  • Cash and cash flow management
  • Staff training and qualifications
  • Corporate Governance

Audit objectives

  • Ensure that the entity frames policies and procedures relating to all treasury activities and review them for adequacy and coverage.
  • Determine whether management has planned for liquidity needs for both normal operating conditions and emergency situations
  • Ensure adequate physical and access control procedures are in place in the department.
  • Verify existence of satisfactory controls exist in the processing of deals
  • Ascertain that the entity receives favourable rates for all its deals.
  • To check that there is accurate recording and accounting of positions ?
  • Ensure that their there is proper documentation procedures and filing systems in place.
  • Ensure that limits are set for different procedures and they are adhered to in a consistent manner.
  • Verify that any violations are promptly reported and properly dealt with.
  • Ensure that reconciliation is being made timely and accurately.

Areas in treasury audit

a) The treasury organization:

  • Review of the effectiveness of the current organization.
  • Adequacy of Treasury policy and procedures documentation,
  • Evaluation of procedures, and practices for effectiveness, appropriateness, and security.
  • review and assess that adequate segregation of duties in the Treasury function exists;
  • review and assess reporting of Treasury positions in terms of detail and frequency;
  • Reviewing the adequacy of safeguarding of the company’s cash assets;
  • review and assess reconciliation, recording, monitoring processes;
  • review and assess authorisation levels within the Treasury function; and
  • review and assess the systems utilized to undertake the Treasury function.

b) Bank services:

  • Review of bank services currently for appropriateness to stated needs, as defined by the treasury staff.

c) Bank service charges:

  • Review of the organization’s bank charges, as detailed on bank account analysis statements and other bank information for appropriateness for the services offered.
  • Compensation methods and levels are evaluated and compared with standard benchmarks (where possible).

d) Cash flow forecasting activities:

  • Review of the effectiveness of the organization’s cash flow forecasting activities is measured against plan, trended over time,
  • Evaluation of its impact on investing and/or borrowing activities.

e) Investment activities:

  • Review of investment strategies and activities,
  • Review of organization’s investment policy and guidelines for reasonability and effectiveness.
  • Comparison of yields on investments with appropriate standard benchmarks to measure performance.
  • Whether the organisation has established procedures for

– Reviewing and assessing the performance benchmarks

– Reviewing and assessing the credit structure

– Reviewing and assessing product management

– Reviewing and assessing liquidity management

f) Borrowing activities:

  • Review of various aspects of current credit lines,
  • Comparison of actual vs. planned credit line usage,
  • effectiveness of the organization’s borrowing policy, and levels of compensation.
  • Average loan price will be compared with appropriate standard rates to measure performance.
  • Whether the organisation has established procedures for

– Reviewing and assessing the borrowings strategy;

– Reviewing and assessing the borrowing limits;

– Reviewing and assessing interest rate risk management;

– Reviewing and assessing the company’s debt to equity ratio; and

– Reviewing and assessing the composition of borrowings.

g) Financial risk management activities:

  • Evaluation of the steps and strategies of the organization’s financial risk management activities
  • Comparison of risk management activities with appropriate standard benchmarks

h) Foreign exchange risk management activities

  • assessment of the foreign exchange policies in relation to the effectiveness in reducing the impact of exchange rate variances on the reported annual earnings and operating cash flow;

Detailed checklist

A. Functions

B. Activities

Checklist for various functions

1. Physical controls:

a. Observe that entry into the dealing room (in case there is one) is restricted to authorised personnel only

b. Examine in case of physical securities

  • Verify whether there are procedures for safekeeping of valuables and they are working effectively.
  • Movement of securities is recorded and updated

c. Securities are verified before signing the security movement form

2. Authorisation

a. For entities having dealing rooms and dealing for others:

i. Check that all sampled deals are authorised at the proper levels of authority against the deal slip (Chief Dealer or Treasury Manager)

ii. Ensure that alterations and cancellations on deal slips are authorised

iii. Ensure that acknowledged copy is taken from the client

iv. Observe that a copy deal slip is sent for second authorisation to the Back Office Manager.

b. For other entities:

i. Ensure that proper authorization levels are set for treasury operations.

ii. Observe and verify whether the above procedure is followed.

iii. Verify whether authority limits have been set.

3. Recording Control

  1. Control over documents
    i. Verify that all money market deals are timely and accurately recorded at the correct monetary value.
    ii. Inspect and ensure that filed copies are pre-numbered and continuous for ease of reference and continuity in document filing.
    iii. Verify that all the documents and statements have been received from concerned parties (brokers, bankers, lenders etc.) and properly filed in a logical sequence.
  2. Control over Accounting Procedures
    i. Verify that adequate systems are in place to track all matured investments.
    ii. Check for accurate recording and accounting of positions.
    iii. Verify that an independent person checks the recording of postings
    iv. Trace all deals to the General Ledger and re-compute interest calculations.
    v. Check that account reconciliation is done and time frame is set for clearing all outstanding items.
    vi. Inspect source documents for accuracy of information on source documents and ascertain that they are initialled as evidence of checking.

4. Segregation of Duties

  1. Check and ascertain that segregation of duties is in place. Under no circumstances staff involved in initiating deals staff be involved in checking or receiving the related documents.
  2. Check that there is segregation between functions of authorisation, execution and recording of transactions.
  3. Do an overall assessment and ensure that management supervision is practiced where segregation of duty is not possible
  4. In cases where management override has taken place , ensure that satisfactory reasons for doing so were recorded

5. Limits

  1. Check counter-party exposure limit for all brokers, lenders etc.
  2. Check deal limits- Maximum amount a person can transact without seeking higher-level approval.
  3. Check product limits- Maximum exposure the entity should have in a particular instrument or product
  4. Check sector limits – Maximum investment in a particular sector

6. Reconciliations

  1. Check that all printed reconciliations are filed in sequential order.
  2. Select a sample for verification
    i. Trace each individual item to the recon
    ii. Follow up each item and note when it is cleared off the reconciliation. Establish that proper procedure on clearing the outstanding item are set and followed
    iii. Establish that only outstanding items are carried on reconciliation.
    iv. Trace items from the recon to the General Ledger and get an assertion that they are included in the management accounts.
  3. Trace monthly figures to the Management Accounts and compare the figures for accuracy in compilation
  4. Check opening balances in General Ledger and establish continuity of balances at close periods.

7. Processing

  1. Examine deals from the front office and establish that they are confirmed by the Back Office Manager
  2. Trace the selected deals to the filing system and establish that a systematic filing is in place.
  3. Examine third party payment and establish that a letter of instruction to that effect is filed.
  4. Establish that outward confirmations are recorded in a Register.

8. Bank Cheques

  1. Verify whether unused bank cheques are kept under lock at all times.
  2. Ensure that bank cheques for outward payments are accompanied by full documentation. (Two Confirmation Letters)
  3. Observe that a limited number of personnel have access to Bank Cheque pad currently in use.
  4. Inquire the check signing limits and ensure they are adhered to.

Detailed checklist for activities

Description

Remarks

1.

General requirements

Whether the entity has a policy for all treasury activities .
Whether the policy is commensurate with the nature of operations and adequately covers all the activities?
Interview selected treasury personnel & accounting personnel
Review internal control report and prior audit reports
Verify whether follow up activities have been undertaken and issues in past reports have been satisfactorily resolved
Review management reports
Review reconciliation of cash and investments
Are their policies for interest rate risk management?
2

Specific Areas

Foreign Exchange risk management
Whether there are policies and procedures for foreign exchange risk management?
Review whether the policy is effective in controlling and monitoring risk
Are there predefined limits for different types of instruments ?
Are their policies establishing authority levels for approval of transactions?
Has the entity identified the counterparty to conduct foreign exchange transactions?
Who is authorised to approve hedging strategies, and the amount to be hedged
Is there adequate segregation of duties ?
Review the method adopted by entity to account for foreign exchange transactions
Are the counterparty banks informed of the names of employees authorised to execute foreign exchange transactions
Is there a system to track exposure in foreign exchange .Are timely reports from the system available to the decision makers?
Analyse the gains and losses from foreign exchange transactions
Investments
Review the investment strategy .Is the strategy followed in letter and spirit?
Are authority level set forinvestment in different instruments monetary limits
Obtain the list of investments
Analyse the investment portfolio statements
Are all investments in name of the entity .If not, review whether entity has valid reasons for not doing so.
Verify the entity has al the documents with regard to ownership of investments
Cash management
Obtain Bank statements
Review the Statement of investments
Review the liquidity position
Who is/are responsible for cash management?
Does the entity follow specific technique for borrowing /investing short term funds?
Who is authorised to devise a strategy for deployment of surplus funds?
Does the entity utilise third party investment managers? Are reasons for selection recorded in writing?
How does the entity control the investment managers’ activities?
Are the investment mangers appraised of the investment policies of the entity? How does the entity ensure compliance with them?
How is the performance of internal/external investment managers evaluated?
Whether there is adequate segregation of duties?
Review accounting treatment to various transactions
Whether monthly statement reconciled?
Is there an effective procedure of following up with the unreconciled items?

Authored by: Rajkumar S Adukia, FCA
Email: rajkumarfca@gmail.com

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0 responses to “Internal Audit of treasury”

  1. Kajal says:

    Hello All,

    I have an opening for Treasury Audit in senior management for leading bank in India.

    Job Location: Mumbai.

    Qualification : CA mandatory

    Experience : relevant 2yrs+

    If interested mail your resume to kajal@valuefind.in with subject line – “Treasury Audit- Current CTC”

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