Comptroller Fiscal Year Memo Letter Head

To:                  Department Heads, Internal Control Officers, and Chief Fiscal Officers

From:              Martin J. Benison, Comptroller

Date:               April 22, 2014

Re:                  Internal Control Questionnaire and Department Representations: Due May 12, 2014

Comptroller Memo # FY2014-23


Executive Summary

This memo announces the FY2014 Internal Control Questionnaire (ICQ).  The ICQ application is located on our intranet site, Comptroller Intranet, under PartnerNet.  See the attached Instructions for Completing the FY2014 Internal Control Questionnaire for details.  Departments should complete the ICQ on or before     May 12, 2014.  Auditors, and staff from the Comptroller’s Quality Assurance Bureau review ICQ responses and may contact departments to follow up on specific answers.  Department management is responsible for implementing and maintaining effective internal controls based on prescribed statutes, regulations and policies.  The ICQ’s Representations Section confirms this for the Commonwealth.


The user must first enter PartnerNet to access the ICQ for both data entry and review. Chief Fiscal Officers, (CFOs) Single Audit Liaisons and Internal Control Officers (ICOs) already have access to both PartnerNet and the ICQ.  Once these users log on to PartnerNet, they will be presented with a link to the ICQ application. Department Security Officers can request access for additional users by submitting a PartnerNet Security Request Form.

The ICO, the Single Audit Liaison, and the CFO should work closely with senior management to identify appropriate staff for providing responses to every section of the ICQ.  Please collect and review all responses, then enter them into the ICQ application no later than May 12, 2014.  Instructions on completing and submitting the ICQ are attached.

The ICQ is designed to provide an indication of the effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s internal controls. During the Single Audit, auditors from KPMG, as well as Comptroller staff will review the internal controls of several departments in more depth.  They will also visit departments to follow-up on prior year findings, review compliance with federal and state regulations, test selected transactions, and review cash and encumbrances. The auditors use department internal control plans and ICQ responses, along with other procedures, to render an opinion on the internal controls of the Commonwealth as a whole.

Departments Using Centralized Business Units
Some departments use centralized business units to perform functions for multiple departments such as human resources, payroll, accounting, and procurement.  These departments should answer the questions as if they used a contractor to perform these functions.  In the comments field of each relevant section, briefly describe the arrangement.

Representations
The last section of the questionnaire is the department’s certification of the accuracy of responses.

The Department Head, CFO, and ICO must read and approve each statement.  Then, enter the approvers’ names, official titles, and approval dates.  Finally, print this section, have each person sign and date it, and keep the signed copy on file as your department’s certification of the representations.

Internal controls are critical in creating an environment that is accountable to the public, while being responsive to the needs and direction of senior management.  The Internal Control Act, Chapter 647 of the Acts of 1989, mandates that each department document its internal controls in accordance with guidelines established by the Office of the Comptroller – see: Internal Control Guide.

The completed ICQ is due on or before May 12, 2014.  Staff should plan to provide a copy to any auditors who visit your agency as part of the Commonwealth’s Single Audit.  If you have any questions, contact the Comptroller’s Help Line at (617) 973-2468.  Thank you in advance for your time and cooperation.

Attachments:       Instructions for Completion 

  1. Single Audit Liaisons,
  2. MMARS Liaisons
  3. Payroll Directors
  4. General Counsels
  5. Internal Distribution


 

 Instructions for Completing the FY2014
Internal Control Questionnaire

The Office of the Comptroller (CTR) collects Internal Control Questionnaire (ICQ) data electronically.  Please submit the completed questionnaire no later than May 12, 2014.  Each section includes an area for optional comments at the end.  The Comments blocks accept up to 500 characters.  

ACCESS

  1. The questionnaire is accessed through PartnerNet.
  2. From the CTR portal, click on the Comptroller Intranet button. PartnerNet is the 3rd selection under “Applications.”  Select the link to access the PartnerNet login screen.
  3. Log in to PartnerNet using your Commonwealth UAID and your password (if you do not have or do not know your UAID or your password, contact your department security officer for assistance). 
  4. If this is your first time in PartnerNet, you will be presented with the requirement of creating your own password.  After successfully changing your password, the My Home link will be available.  If you are already a PartnerNet user, the login procedure will have presented you with the My Home application page. 
  5. Once at the My Home page, test the ICQ link under the Applications heading.  If nothing happens, review the error bar across the top of your screen, “Pop-up blocked.”  You can set your browser to “Always Allow Pop-ups from This Site” by clicking the error bar, and selecting the “Allow” option (you need do this only on the first visit).  Click the link to the ICQ application again.
  6. Step 5 will bring you to your department’s 2014 ICQ selection screen.  Maximize your browser window.
  7. Choose Fiscal Year: 2014 with the Select button.
  8. If the text displayed does not wrap properly and you are using an Internet Explorer browser, select the Tools button on the toolbar and select “Compatibility View.”
  9. Data from our files was entered for the first five items of the Department Information Section.  Please enter or correct information where necessary.  Then continue with the rest of the questionnaire.
  10. To view last year’s ICQ responses, click the Printing and Status link located on the Top Menu Bar. A link to the 2013 ICQ is found under the heading: Archived.

COMPLETING QUESTIONS AND SAVING YOUR WORK: Each department must answer all questions applicable to its operations. To save a partially completed ICQ, click on the Save and Proceed button located at the end of each section.  This will save your work and bring you directly to the following section.  After your work is saved, click on the red Exit button located at the top of each section.

The section menu on the left navigation panel allows you to navigate between sections. However, each section must be saved (Save and Proceed button) before exiting or the information will be lost. 

Save frequently.  If you have not “saved” or otherwise interacted with thesystem for three minutes, the system will log you out.  If you did not “save” data entered before being logged out, you will lose that information

Print:  After logging in, users may find it useful to print the questionnaire and distribute sections to the appropriate business area managers.  Each section can be printed separately using the Printing and Status link (located at the top-right of the masthead).  Printing and Status will now display the response options and check boxes.  Select the Print all Topics checkbox to print the entire document.

STATUS: The Printing and Status page will also display the ICQ status (Complete/Incomplete) and the last user’s ID.

SECTIONS OR QUESTIONS THAT DON'T APPLY TO YOU:  Not all sections or questions apply to all departments.  Please do not skip a section.  Enter “No” or “Not Applicable” to the first question of the section.  For example:  Does the department receive or manage any federal funds?  Selecting “No” will inactivate all related questions in this section.  Simply go to the next available question to continue the questionnaire.  If you discover that you inactivated questions by mistake, changing the original response from “No” to “Yes” will activate all related questions.

REPRESENTATIONS: The Representations Section operates differently than other ICQ Sections.  In this section, the Department Head, CFO, and Internal Control Officer confirm that the information entered into the questionnaire is accurate and approve the representations listed.  After they have reviewed the representations, enter their names, official titles, and the approval dates in the appropriate fields.  Print this section, have each approver sign it, and file it as your department’s certification of the representations.  Do not select Save and Submit until you have completed the entire questionnaire, including the representations by the Department Head, CFO and Internal Control Officer.

SUBMIT TO THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER:
When the ICQ is complete, select Save and Submit and click the Done button. 

 Your ICQ will not Submit if certain required responses are missing.  These will be displayed in the navigation panel on the left.  Complete the remaining questions and submit again.

After the ICQ is successfully submitted, the questionnaire will be stored in the Comptroller’s ICQ database.  Once submitted, your department will no longer be able to change the document.  If you have accidentally or prematurely submitted the questionnaire and need to make corrections, contact the Comptroller’s Help Line (617 973-2468) to unlock your questionnaire.  Save and Submit the completed ICQ no later than May 12, 2014.