Internal Audit

Education and E-learning Platforms Audit Checklist

Education and E-learning Platforms Audit Checklist

Education is one of the most important success-determining factors for any nation because it directly deals with the youth of the nation or, more specifically, the talent of the nation’s youth. The education sector depends on the advancements and innovations of the nation. So, there also emerges the need for audit checks in this area. To carry out an audit of this particular area is of pertinent importance because every individual has the right to basic education as is rightly enshrined by our constitutional principles and values. If this basic education is made so hard to achieve looking at the financial barriers, then it will become nearly impossible to make it accessible to the students. So, to ensure that the institutions provide quality education to their students without compromising the crucial years of the students, the audit of this sector becomes highly important.

Advantages of Audits

Educational Institutions Audits are the types of audits covered under the category of Special Audits. It is the audit of the books of educational institutions like Schools, Colleges or Universities. In the case of schools, the Auditor can study the trust deed for the trust, whereas, in the case of Universities, the Auditor may check the acts or legislations regulating the University.

Auditing comes with several advantages, like the disclosure of the true and fair view. Also, there is a reliability of accounts. With the proper Auditing, all the errors and frauds can be detected. The consciousness of the employees also increases when they know they might be checked anytime for their conduct and if they are handling their duties properly or not. All the business irregularities and inconsistencies come to light if the Auditor has conducted the audit properly.

Documents to be Verified by the Auditor for Educational Institutions

In order to verify the documents of the Educational Institutions, the Auditor needs to verify the below-mentioned documents-

  1. The fee register is maintained for the fees collected by the students.
  2. The minutes of the Managing Committee.
  3. Caution deposits, Cash books, fines etc.
  4. Rental Income of the Institution
  5. Contribution towards a specific fund

The Auditor must ensure that the admission fees are credited to the capital fund account. The fines are collected properly. A separate register is to be maintained for the caution deposit received from students and refunded to the students. Also, the long or outstanding fees like hostel charges, etc., are to be reviewed properly, and proper reports are to be sent to the management. The Management Committee approves all the capital expenditure. The Auditor must examine the previous financial statements. The reporting on arrears should be made.

Expenses of Educational Institutions to be Audited

The expenses of the educational institutions mainly include the electricity expenses, water charges, money spent on the stationery and the electricity expenses. In case there are hostels, the food items and clothing should be verified. The employee state insurance and the provident fund should be checked. The salary of the employees is to be verified from the letter of appointment, etc . It is also important to check if the deductions from the salaries of the employee are rightly made for specific purposes like absence, etc.

Audit of the Assets and Liabilities

All the assets received by the educational institutes from either the State Government or the University Grants Commission should be verified. If the donation received is in the form of an investment, the Auditor has to check the correspondence with the donor.

For the purchase of investments, the requirement of law should be fulfilled. The Auditor should read about the procedure of grants. The scholarship paid to the students should also be tracked and verified by a thorough examination of the terms and conditions of the scholarship, receipts, the cash book, etc. The education which is imparted to the youth must be updated from time to time.

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What are E-learning Platforms?

The e-learning platforms refer to the courses, videos or everything that is available on the internet for the learning of the students or professionals. In addition to the offline books, these platforms make it easier for students to learn within their budget. Courses like law have very expensive books that not every student can afford to buy.

Areas for Audit Checks on E-learning Platforms

There are many areas where audit checks are required to ensure that the e-learning platforms provide the most relevant and updated information. These areas are given below (but are not limited to): –

Grammar

Here, the test is related to the grammar rules, the fonts of texts, etc. Education has no purpose if the students are making silly mistakes even after studying for years. There are different heads under grammar to be taken care of, which are defined below-

  • Titles- The course title should be clearly identifiable and in bold character, of visible size.
  • Punctuations- The punctuation should be properly used so as not to change the whole meaning of the sentence.
  • Text Positioning- It is important that the text is not just spilling over the place because sometimes the course contains multiple images.
  • Spelling mistakes- There are words that are spelled the same. These are called homonyms. The spelling mistake is such a thing that if someone is a good reader, they might lose interest in the reading only. So, the client value will degrade very fast.

Graphics/Visuals

In order to enhance the learning experience of the learners, it is made sure that there are proper uses of the images/graphics. These images should not be blurred but clicked in a very suitable environment.

  • Brand Style- The brand’s colour should align with the colours used in the course. Positivity is there if the right colours are used for the learning. For example, we match the vibe with our environment and the people around us so that we can remain productive at all times. In the same way, how a particular colour highlights a particular content goes a long way in defining the outcome of the learning material or course.
  • Colour Discrepancy- There are different emotions linked with different colours. We have traffic lights of certain colours. And we remember it well. So there is a lot of research on the positive or negative effects of all the colours. We will not go into so many technicalities of it here, but you get the idea.
  • Logo/Copyright Consistency- It is pertinent to mention here that the logo or copyright details are continuously mentioned throughout the course. The branding and the details of the owner or creator of the course are very important.
  • Graph/Charts- The graphs or charts should be high-resolution to enable the learners to understand. For example, for someone who is looking on a YouTube channel to use a particular function in a mobile app, if the options are not displayed clearly, it would be very difficult for the learner to understand where or where not to click. The education system becomes very easy when using charts or tables. Highly intelligent people use these charts to memorize information quite quickly as compared to others.

Music and Audio

The quality check is conducted for the voice quality of the speaker.

  • Pronunciation of the Audio- It is to be borne in mind that for which particular set of audience the course is made for. And how nicely the audience responds to the language or how easily the language is understood in which the audio of the course is recorded. Now, the speaker in the audio should be able to pronounce each word very clearly so that the clarity of the course shall remain intact. We can make our education system very interesting by using different music and the emotions associated with it from time to time.
  • Background Music- Putting the appropriate background music is important to develop curiosity in the learner for pursuing the course. The choice of music should be appropriate; otherwise, for example, if the music is too enjoyable, the learner would end up focusing on the song rather than focusing on the course. A distraction-based course cannot be said to be a good course.
  • Loud background Music- The objective of keeping background music is to enable the learner to not feel blank during any point of the course; however, if the background music is too loud, it will interfere with the learning of the course. Some people are so irresistible to loud noise that they end up not pursuing the course only.
  • Overlapping Voice- Two voices should not overlap; otherwise, it becomes very hard for anyone to understand what is being taught in the course.
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Interactivity

To test the Interaction of various functions within the course.

  • Shows items as advised on clicks- There might be instructions about a particular click in the course and what will pop up, but after following the instructions, a different page than what is mentioned might be opening. This can lead the user into trouble. So the instructions should be very clearly explained.
  • Yes/No Interaction functions- We all have witnessed during our school classes that the moment the teachers asked us a particular question, we suddenly returned from our land to the present moment. This is a very good way to ensure and remind the learner about the purpose of pursuing the course. A good course should keep asking quick, simple questions between the course so that the user can be engaged and the course is paused until the question is unanswered. We can make sure by asking constant questions that the education we are imparting equally benefits the students.

Questions Quality

The quality of the quizzes the course offers is crucial as a building block of the knowledge of the learners pursuing the course.

  • Submitting the right answers- Answering the questions correctly should allow the user to move forward with a green signal and also give the user any additional information that might be missed by the user despite answering the question correctly.
  • Submitting wrong answers- Answering the questions incorrectly should allow the user to know where he/she went wrong, and till the time the user does not pass the test, he /she should not be allowed to move forward. If the learners are submitting wrong information, it means they are not taking their learning or education seriously.
  • Hitting the back button- Generally, this is not considered a good practice because the user needs to get real feedback and marks to know where he stands at present in the specific subject. If the user is able to travel back and forth, then the whole purpose of the course is frustrated. But depending upon the course or the owner, this option may or may not be made available to the user.

Qualifications of an Auditor

An auditor is normally expected to have a degree in finance. He must also possess a Certificate of Practice (COP) from the Chartered Accounts Institute of India. Some popular colleges for the course of Auditing in India include the University of Rajasthan, Chandigarh University, GITAM Institute of Management in Vishakhapatnam, etc. The Auditor’s education is vital because he is required to conduct educational surveys.

Types of Qualifications for an Auditor

There are different types of Auditor like-

  • Internal Audit Qualification- In this type of Auditing, the minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in courses like Computer Information Systems, Public Administration, etc.
  • CIA Qualification–  It is a programme for the Certified Internal Auditors. The credibility of the Auditor increases after taking this examination.
  • CAG Qualification- This is the qualification to become India’s Comptroller and Auditor General. The requirement for this is a simple bachelor’s degree.
  • Cost Auditor Qualification- To become a cost auditor, it is mandatory to be a cost and management accountant along with a Certificate from ICMAB.
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Disadvantages of an Audit

If the institutions are running completely smoothly, and there is absolutely no need for Auditing, then disadvantages of Auditing are also there like-

  • Costly- Audit is a costly thing to do. The auditors charge a high fee for Auditing.
  • Managerial Inefficiencies- Since the Auditor is an outside person, he cannot interfere with the managerial duties of the organisation’s staff members. Even if the Auditor conducts the audit very carefully, there might be some loopholes that will still remain. Or the Auditor may not be able to bring the real picture to light. So, if there are any managerial inefficiencies, they might remain hidden. It is not so unpopular that education has been imparted by undeserving people, so their capabilities must be checked from time to time.
  • Unavailability of Correct Information- If the responsible people of the institutions are not willing to give accurate information, then it becomes very hard for the Auditor to know the truth and analyze things properly. In such a scenario, the audit cannot be trusted because it does not disclose the real picture.
  • Not suitable for small businesses- Auditing can be done for big businesses. If the business itself is so small, then the purpose of hiring an auditor at high rates is frustrating because it is of no use. For small institutions, a simple analysis of financial reports can be done rather than hiring an auditor.

Legal Provisions for Auditing

The legal provisions for the Auditing are given under the Companies Act 2013 from Sections 139 to 148.

As per Section 139(6) of the Companies Act 2013, the Board of Directors shall appoint the first Auditor within 30 days of its establishment. The company is required to file an ADT-1 form, also called the form for Appointment of First Auditor, along with the fee.

Section 139 further provides that the written consent of the Auditor for his appointment should also be obtained.

The Auditor must also submit a Certificate that He or the Company will be entitled and not disqualified under the Act. The term of the office shall be as prescribed by the law. The list of pending professional proceedings should be true and accurate.

Section  143 sets out the powers and duties of the Auditor. For example, the auditors shall have the right to inspect the books and records of the company and he can request such details as are necessary for the proper analysis of the records.

Conclusion

As we have seen above, the education sector is one of the most important sectors to determine the innovative functionality of any nation. The audit of this area becomes more important to ensure that proper education is imparted in the country to the youths of the nation. Some factors have to be taken care of in general while conducting the audit of this particular area, like the syllabus should be updated. If we look at the law field, there are regularly new updates and amendments in this area. Old books should be replaced every year by new books. The knowledge of the students should not only be syllabus-centric, but the Auditor should also ensure that. Overall development of the student’s personality should be there so that we can stand on par with other countries in terms of knowledge and innovation.

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