GFOA Publishes An Elected Official’s Guide: Internal Control

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What is internal control? There are many different types of governments, but all of them share certain basic objectives: effectiveness, efficiency, safeguarding of assets, reliable reporting, and compliance. Internal control provides reasonable assurance that a government is, in fact, meeting all of those objectives. The Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) An Elected Official’s Guide: Internal Control is specifically designed to offer non-specialists – be they members of the governing board, staff members without accounting or auditing expertise, or ordinary citizens – the information they need to understand what internal control is, how it operates, and who is responsible.

Management and the governing body have complementary roles to play in regard to internal control. An Elected Official’s Guide: Internal Control (paperbound - 36 pages; electronic - 32 pages; written by Stephen J. Gauthier) should help both to do so by helping them understand each of the five essential elements of a comprehensive framework of internal control, as well as each of the basic principles needed to ensure that all five components are fully operational and effective:

  • Control Environment
  • Risk Assessment
  • Control Activities
  • Information and Communication
  • Monitoring

The text of this publication, written in an easily understandable question-and-answer formatreflects the most recent authoritative guidance on internal control set forth in the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations’ (COSO) revised and expanded version of its classic Internal Control – Integrated Framework (COSO Report), released in 2013.                                                                                                                 

The booklet is part of GFOA’s popular Elected Official’s Series. Each guide in the series provides a thorough introduction to a single topic. An affordable price structure and quantity discounts make these booklets ideal for distribution to newly elected officials, government employees, citizens and taxpayer groups, the media, and others interested in local government finance. To learn more about the books in the Elected Official’s Series, visit