Newsletter No. 521

10 # 5 2 1 | 1 9 . 0 8 . 2 0 1 8 Confucius was an accountant? Says who? Says Mencius. The Chinese word for ‘accountant’ first appears in Mengzi which records that ‘Confucius was once keeper of stores, and he then said, “My calculations must be all right. That is all I have to care about.”’ Internal audit has often evoked the image of a tax officer poring over every invoice and document in an office. How true is it? This traditional approach is rather adversarial and has few positive impacts on the resources, morale and performance of the organization under audit. In recent years, the profession has generally embraced the equation IA = f (RM, CG, IC) as the definition of internal audit. Please explain. It states that internal audit (IA) is a function of three things, namely, risk management (RM), corporate governance (CG) and internal control (IC). It’s not just adding things up and scrutinizing the small prints. Isn’t it the aim of internal audit to quantify value into money terms? This value-for-money approach emphasizes only the financial aspect of performance but is hard to apply to a public institution like CUHK. Our missions and heritage, for example, cannot easily be measured or quantified in terms of monetary value. How would you liken internal audit? Internal audit should be independent but interwoven into an organization’s structure and culture so as to check how well it is doing or responding to the changes in its environment. It functions like the lymph node in the human body which detects and prevents potential harms to its general well-being. What role does internal audit play in higher education? Since the publication of UGC’s report on local funded universities in 2015 (the Newby Report), transparency and risk management in tertiary institutions have become more prominent. The internal audit outfit becomes necessary and instrumental in identifying risks pertaining to the operation of a university and managing and controlling them. How does risk management work at CUHK? As seen in the diagram, internal audit helps the Colleges, Faculties and Departments identify their frontline risks and report to management. It also helps to convey any institutional risks perceived by management from top down. As such, it is the conduit of communication between the head and the arms, ensuring agility and adaptability of an organic whole. What changes does that cause to the work of IAO? Instead of looking at money-for-value-ness and accountability, IAO’s work has become more risk-based. Our aim is to promote and uphold a risk-conscious culture on campus. We find ourselves doing more and more outreaching work at committees and other units to help them see the risks and think of how to mitigate them. How will IAO develop? We’re a very small office but our tasks are important to the University as a whole. Our limited resources require us to be always prudent and cautious in delivering our services. Mementos from your father and children can be seen in your office. You must be close. Yes. Each generation has a thing or two to learn from the preceding one as well as the next, as I have personally and so gratefully found out. T.C. 口 談 實 錄 / V iva V oce 中大1994年成立內部審核處,是最早成立有關部門的本地院校之一。現任處長黃文 興加入中大前是會計師,與孔子同科。近年內部審核不論在概念還是作業上都出現 巨大轉變,黃處長正耐心及有步驟地把風險管理的新觀念帶到校園。 The Internal Audit Office (IAO) was established in 1994 at CUHK, the first of its kind among local universities. The Director of Internal Audit, Mr. Alfred Wong, had had many years of experience in accounting (a profession he has the honour of sharing with Confucius) before joining CUHK five years ago. In commensuration with the shifting conception and focus of internal audit practice, Mr. Wong has been patiently and programmatically bringing the concept of risk management to the University community. 孔子是會計?誰說的? 孟子說的。《孟子》是最早出現「會計」一詞的古書,〈孟子 • 萬章〉載:「孔子嘗為委吏矣,曰: 會計,當而已矣。」 內部審核常予人一個稅吏星夜在貨倉審查票據的感覺,事實是否如此? 這個傳統形象的確比較負面,事實上也對受審核的機構的資源、士氣及表現產生了或多或少的 影響。近年內部審核業界普遍接受對內部審核的定義是 IA = f (RM, CG, IC) 。 請解釋一下。 在這條方程式中,IA代表內部審核,RM、CG、IC則分別代表風險管理、企業管治和 內部控制。三者的比重容或有異,但都代表內部審核的有機必然成分,而不是加減乘 除、錙銖必較那麼簡單。 內部審核的目的不是把價值量化成錢看嗎? 衡工量值只不過是以財務角度審視企業的表現,以評核其在金錢價值上 的優次,這對如中大般的公共機構可能不太適用。譬如說,我們大學的 使命、傳統等都不是容易可以量化為金錢價值的。 你會怎樣來形容內部審核? 內部審核在一個機構中應該保持獨立,但卻是其架構及文化不可分割 的一部分,它的作用是確保機構運作暢順,而且對外部環境的改變做 好準備。它就像人體的淋巴結,可以偵測及預防對人體有害的東西。 內部審核在高等教育扮演甚麼角式? 自2015年教資會公布Newby報告書後,院校透明度及風險管理便顯 得更重要。內部審核的任務,便是認清大學運作上可能出現的風險, 並提出有效管控機制及措施,更要在透明的管理過程中,作出合規的披 露。 中大是如何管理風險的? 如右圖所示,我們協助書院、學院、學系等查找它們前沿運作遇到的風險,有 需要會匯報管理層,管理層也會下達關係大學整體的風險評估。大腦與四肢 之間經絡暢順,確保大學運作機動及高效率。 這一切對內部審核處的工作有甚麼影響? 我們工作的重點不再是衡工量值和問責,而是以風險為本。我們希望能締造 並鞏固一個對風險醒覺的校園文化,我們會不時造訪各個委員會及部門,協 助它們認識風險和學習管理風險,審核變成了「手段」,或確切一點是「服 務」,而不是「目的」。 內部審核處今後會朝哪個方向發展? 內部審核處部門小,幾乎全是將軍,沒有士卒,但責任所在,我們必須善用有 限資源服務大學。 你辦公室擺設着與父親及子女有關的紀念品。你與家人關係 應該非常要好吧? 是的。不只上一代,我很慶幸能從下一代身上也學到很多 東西。 黃文興 先生 Mr. Alfred Wong 內部審核處處長 Director of Internal Audit