Internal Control Practices and Financial Performance of County Governments in the Coastal Region of Kenya
Ahmed, Salma Omar
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Internal control practices have been established to influence financial performance of County Government, though County Government have been facing a myriad of challenges in terms of financial performance. The drive of this study was to establish internal control practices that influence county governments to streamline their operations and perform efficiently and effectively for the benefit of the general interest. Therefore the general objective of the study was to determine the internal control practices and financial performance of county governments in the coastal region of Kenya. Specifically, the study endeavored to establish the effect of audit function, risk management, financial reporting and cash management on financial performance of county governments in the coastal region. The study was based on the following theories: The Agency theory, Attribution theory and procedural justice theory. The researcher adopted a descriptive research design. The target population of the study were 30 employees drawn from 5 departments in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and planning in the county governments of the Coastal region. The study targeted 4 Counties in the coastal region of Kenya, that is Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita and the respondents were 40 finance managers obtained from Finance Planning Ministry of the listed County governments. A census of 40 respondents was carried out. Primary data was collected using questionnaires. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. The study found a positive and significant effect between risk assessment, monitoring, control environment, information and communication on financial performance. The study concluded that the risk identification and mitigation play the most significant role in influencing financial performance of the County governments. Hence, risk identification can essentially be said to be the key starting point of any risk management program as the Counties cannot manage what is unknown. Monitoring the financial performance of the County creates more certainty and confidence in making both short and long term decisions. This in turn leads to a healthier business and faster growth rate. The control environment provides the basis for carrying out internal control across the organization. Effective adoption of information and communication systems is of vital importance in making sure that the County governments improves their financial performance. The study recommends that the management of the Counties should put in place cost-effective measures for timely risk identification and effective risk mitigation so as to ensure that their financial performance is not impacted negatively. The County governments should have appropriate tools for monitoring their financial performance so as to effectively monitor their goals, the progress they make and all the key performance metrics throughout their financial operations. The County governments should demonstrate a commitment to integrity and ethical values. Specific standards of conduct should be understood throughout all levels of the County, and processes should be in place to evaluate performance and quickly address deviations from expectations. The County governments should communicate successfully with their investors to form stronger relationships with them. Information and communication should be between the County and financial stakeholders about the County’s economic events and their effects within and outside the financial statements.