More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

Develop your internal control skills for competitive advantage

September 8, 2011

When I’m interviewing accountants for positions inside companies, I’m always amazed at how few of them have a solid understanding of internal control. If you want to progress into supervisory and managerial level accounting positions, be sure to develop these skills.

How can you do that?

1.    Keep yourself current through continuing education.

2.    Think about appropriate controls as you go about your accounting work.

3.    Understand control weaknesses in your area and how they’re mitigated.

4.    Find opportunities to suggest and implement cost effective improvements.

5.    Watch your boss as he/she navigates the interpersonal aspects of making these changes, especially with non-accountants. Ask for mentoring. Learn.

6.    Volunteer for projects to review, develop, and document controls.

An accounting professional who understands internal control, and can persuade non-accounting colleagues to adopt appropriate controls, is worth his/her weight in gold.

Donna Svei, CPA, CFE is an executive search consultant and resume writer. named her one of their “11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Job Search.” Donna blogs at You will find her on GooglePlus at and on LinkedIn at . Donna can be reached at (208) 721-0131 or


Comments (3)
If every person practices his own self "Internal control",he can understand the internal control required in the corporate surroundings. The present day education now from the primary level onwards is to make a person selfish and to become rich in the short term. Under the circumstances no educated person unless imbibed by family values, has no self control and naturally cannot understand the necessity of internal control in a business organization.

Unless a person whether he is an accountant or of any other profession is trained from the beginning in self discipline and self control, you cannot prevent corporate frauds.
If you examine all the scandals since the beginning of the century, the main cause of loss to corporates and the small investors is the avariciousness from the top to bottom to earn much money by falsifying accounts. When all the people in an organization want to make money for themselves, it is no surprise that Ms Donna Svei did not find a person,that too among accountants,who are supposed to deal in others moneys, have no knowledge about internal control.
If you curb the tendency to make money by hook or crook but by lawful ethical means only by proper educational courses, to live a life within the lawful normal earnings, the tendency to have self control will automatically be generated and will inspire to ensure control in every activity within the organization.
If the man at the helm of the affairs of the unit be it business or family is upright and self controlled then all the members will fall in line and people also will learn internal control without any special course for it.Internal control should be a matter of habit and not merely of knowledge. The real cases that we have seen so far demonstrate that if the top man is profligate, he does not want an effective internal control but internal auditors and internal control system for the public consumption.
Posted by kswamy | Friday, September 09 2011 at 9:38AM ET

Thank you for adding these terrific resources!

Posted by donnasvei | Thursday, September 08 2011 at 1:51PM ET
These are good suggestions. The truth is that few accounting programs cover internal control in their coursework. This is disturbing as issues around internal control are what prompted passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, an mportant (and controversial) piece of legislation that affects all public companies.

Young accounting professionals who want to learn more can take advantage of the free resources available online. Good places to start are the website for the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission ( and the website for Vibato, LLC, a provider of software and services that help organizations achieve their internal control and compliance objectives (
Posted by | Thursday, September 08 2011 at 12:30PM ET
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