Internal Audit at AUI. Leading the Way in Moroccan Higher Education
The mission of the Office of Internal Audit (OIA) at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane is to enhance and protect organizational value by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice, and insight. It contributes to quality assurance at the university. This innovative approach to quality assurance in Moroccan higher education make the OIA office and AUI a leader and an example for the ideal Morocco. During the COVID-19 crisis, this office worked to prepare an AUI emergency plan and a Business Continuity Plan to ensure that the University has suitable action plans for various scenarios.
The Office of Internal Audit was established at AUI in the fall of 2016 and has since done preliminary reviews of every main department and unit within the university. The goal of each review is to help clarify any internal departmental issues and help improve them by bringing them to light and offering suggestions and recommendations. OIA prides itself in working to mitigate risk University wide.
OIA assisted AUI through its accreditation process and continues to work to make sure that AUI meets the NECHE accreditation standards. This helps AUI maintain its quality education and along with other top institutions worldwide.
Since then, OIA has worked to improve the services to make the AUI experience the best it can be. It conducted a review of the new student process to ensure that if students arrive outside the orientation period, they will be able to find their way and have everything they need in order to settle in at AUI. The Office of Internal Audit also started a new Value for Money initiative to provide transparency throughout AUI regarding the various services provided, such as Housing. OIA worked with Student Activities digitization and ITS to create a complete Service Catalog so that students can easily access every service offered.
Earlier this year, the OIA met with various associations in quality assurance and higher education in Morocco and established a cooperation agreement the Ministry of Higher Education departments who work with quality assurance of operations and internal controls as well as finance and administration. The Office has also developed a rapport with the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Maroc, AuditUM, an ERASMUS Capacity Building in Higher Education Project that helps universities set up internal audit and internal control functions within Moroccan universities to ensure compliance financial and accounting management rules and procedures.
The Office of Internal Audit met with the l’Agence Nationale d’Evaluation et d’Assurance (ANEAQ), which, unlike the OIA, is external to the universities for which it provides internal audit functions and reviews. AUI is leading the way as it already has its own internal audit office.