This study examines the impact of auditor-reported internal control deficiencies (ICDs) on operational performance within nonprofit organizations. Contemporary studies in the for-profit environment document evidence that poor internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR) cause suboptimal operational performance. While these analyses are restricted to ICFR, the nonprofit environment allows external stakeholders to observe the effectiveness of both ICFR and internal controls over compliance. We find robust evidence of negative associations between both ICD types and two key measures of nonprofit operational performance: surplus and the charitable expense ratio. Our findings are relevant to multiple nonprofit stakeholders, demonstrating that the control environment has a pervasive impact on a nonprofit's ability to effectively execute its charitable mission.

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