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NDSU faculty to research nonprofit financial misconduct and internal controls

Herb Snyder, professor of accounting; Margaret Andersen, associate professor of accounting; and Jill Zuber, assistant professor of accounting, have had their research proposal “Financial Misconduct and Internal Controls: A Survey of U.S. Nonprofits” funded by the Institute of Management Accountants.

The institute is the resource for developing, certifying and connecting the world’s best accountant and financial professionals working in business. In 2010, U.S. nonprofits employed more than 10 percent of the workforce and paid more than $668 million in wages and administered contributions in excess of $298 billion, according to a 2012 analysis by The Independent Sector. Despite this, nonprofits remain an understudied population in the context of internal controls and fraud.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the management structure of nonprofits may contribute to weaker internal controls and, in turn, a greater risk of fraud and financial misconduct.

The aim of the proposed research is to better understand the nature of internal controls in nonprofits and how those controls affect the incidence of fraud. More specifically, the research will examine differences between nonprofits that have experienced fraud with those that have not. It also will examine the changes to internal controls made by nonprofits after they have experienced fraud.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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