This research investigates the role and the perceived effectiveness of the Internal Audit Unit (IAU) in enhancing the performance of schools within the Bolgatanga Municipality. There is scarcity of literature on internal audit performance in developing countries such as Ghana. This study aims to complement the paucity of studies on the internal audit function in an emerging country context, by examining conditions under which strategies adopted by the IAU can improve educational performance, explore the factors hindering the effectiveness of the IAU in discharging its duties and how to promote the effectiveness of the IUA in the municipality. Using institutional theory as theoretical lens, the study employed a case study design using questionnaires in the data collection process. Based on a sample of 57 staff comprising of Directors of Education, audit staff, Budget Officers, Procurement Officers working at the Municipal Directorate, headmasters/mistress of four secondary cycle institutions in the municipality including heads of accounting unit; procurement units and domestic bursars. The study employed descriptive statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19.0. The findings indicate that, the Internal Audit function plays a pivotal role in the performance of second cycle and basic schools in the Bolgatanga Municipality but are constrained with the needed logistics to carry out their mandate. The results confirmed that, the internal audit unit is an integral part of school management in the judicious use of resources. The practical implications of this study is that it provides useful information and insight on how organisations can adopt pragmatic steps to revamp their internal audit units to effectively manage performance. This research can help decisions makers of Government to adopt new strategies which can improve the performance of decentralized entities. The study would further help to bring out the weaknesses in internal auditing mostly found in an environment where the accounting officer is formally held accountable for his/her expenditure, combined with weak capacities amongst Internal Audit.
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