Internal Control and COSO

Internal Control and the COSO framework: Application to the University Sector (January 2018 – November 2019)

Project Partners 

Nord University (Bodo, Norway), Taras Shevchenko Kiev National University (Kiev, Ukraine), Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University (Chernivtsi, Ukraine), Ternopil National Economic University (Ternopil, Ukraine)

Project Summary

The project aims at developing an online competence improvement course in Internal Control (IC) by applying the framework provided by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) for Ukrainian universities. The COSO framework is among the most used frameworks for internal control today worldwide and defines IC in the following way: Internal control is a process, effected by an entity’s board of directors, management, and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives relating to operations, reporting and compliance. By improving the competence of administrative university staff, this will make a contribution towards better and more modern university management in Ukraine.

The result will be an online course in IC by using the COSO framework, with a final seminar component where the participants from the participating universities will produce a document with recommendations for internal control in the participating universities (Kiev National University, Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University (ChNU), and Ternopil National Economic University (TNEU)), as their final test.

On the way to developing this, we plan to have three project meetings: a kick-off in Bodø as the first planning meeting, a second meeting in Bodø where the lectures will be finalized and recorded, and a third planning meeting in Kyiv. The course will be run once in the project period and it will include a short two-day seminar component in Kyiv. Evaluation will take place afterwards, and the final results will be presented at the NUPSEE-conference in Kyiv in September 2019.

Goals of the project

The aim of the project is to contribute to the modernization of the Ukrainian universities and make them more transparent in their activities. It is a way to assist the European integration of the universities and their financial possibilities for self-development, and to strengthen university autonomy. During the project realization, the main concept of internal control and COSO framework will be elaborated; and local versions for each university will be proposed. The Norwegian experience will be adapted to the partner universities’ conditions.

The project shall lead to an online competence improvement course with a physical component on the use of Internal Control (IC) and especially the COSO framework for IC for administrative personnel at Ukrainian universities. This will provide knowledge of a modern framework for internal control and its possible application and practices, with an emphasis on the public sector and universities. This will help university management with new ideas for improving their systems of internal controls, as well as providing links between Ukrainian universities and the private sectors using KNU’s contacts with its graduates working in the Big Four audit companies in Ukraine.

The development of this course will also be an impetus for developing further courses at the Ukrainian universities, and at Nord University as well. This can be a good foundation for other courses and degrees that supply this needed expertise to Ukrainian students. The course development will also lead to an improved partnership between KNU, ChNU, TNEU and Nord, and broaden the basis of this cooperation.

In Ukraine, the modernization of management in higher education has been named among its development priorities. The project implementation will contribute to the improvement of university management in the field of internal control by significantly raising the professionalism of staff involved in this field. The project will also contribute to the achievement of another goal stated in Ukrainian strategy, namely the improvement of financial capacity and transparency of the HEIs. Well-developed and well documented systems of internal control can also improve the abilities of Ukrainian universities to gain access to international projects and funding.

The purpose of this project is to improve the knowledge and expertise regarding IC and the COSO framework in Ukrainian universities. The overarching goal is to improve management in Ukrainian universities.

The new planned competence improvement course will have the following planned activities:

  1. To develop an online course including (model structure, filming lecturers for short videos with suitable experts, developing inter-modular tasks, multiple choice test, a guide to adapting the COSO framework to university settings).
  2. Running the course one time for representatives of representatives of core group of universities (KNU, ChNU and TNEU), and recruiting suitable administrative staff for the course.
  3. Run course evaluation after finalized course.
  4. Consider international and national certification.
  5. Securing sustainability, by working to incorporate IC course contents in MSc programs for NUUA universities, and running the course for other NUUA members.