Welcome to 2013!
Do you have plans to do anything differently this year in your professional life? Maybe something you have been meaning to address for some time, but never quite got round to doing? How about using technology to really help transform audit and risk-related processes in your organization?
You have probably already started down this road and made some initial progress, but you likely have a long way to go before you can confidently say that your teams are using technology to maximum benefit.
Now could be a very good time to take a moment, step back and think about where you want to go and how to get there. In the spirit of doing things differently and better in 2013, here are three things you can resolve to do that should take you on your way in a more productive fashion:
1. Develop a Vision for technology usage
This may seem like an academic exercise, but if you don’t have a reasonably clear picture of what technology usage could look like in a one to three year timeframe, the chances are that you will not make a lot of substantial progress.
Of course, a technology vision should not be created in isolation, it needs to be developed in terms of technology being a key enabler to transforming audit, risk and compliance processes overall. This could be a great opportunity to think through how your organization could benefit from an integrated approach to managing risk and performing audit and compliance activities while really leveraging the power of technology. Think about what matters to the CFO, CAE, CRO, CCO, CEO and the audit committee.
- What would grab their attention?
- What if the status of audit, risk and compliance activities were key components of an overall corporate dashboard system?
- What if some dashboards were driven by the results of ongoing monitoring of risks, controls and business transactions?
- What if the CAE and audit and compliance managers can review detailed procedures and results through a range of mobile devices from anywhere in the world?
- Is technology formally identified as a critical enabler of audit and risk management strategies?
2. Start to Develop a Practical Strategy for technology usage
How can the vision be best turned into an implementable strategy? This does not have to be a massive exercise. It can start with an identification of the areas that will provide the benefits that are most immediate and the easiest to achieve. It should be a logical part of a longer term strategy and plan.
Even if the actual documentation is fairly simplistic, the existence of a plan is important to share goals, communicate and align on direction, particularly when multiple teams are involved.
3. Assign Roles and Responsibilities
Too often plans for the use of technology fail to make sufficient progress because of a lack of clear ownership. The organizations that we have seen make remarkable progress all have a clear “owner” for technology initiatives in audit, risk and compliance. They may own the responsibility for developing the vision as well as driving the execution of the strategy. Some things to think about for your organization:
- Who should own and champion the technology vision?
- Who should turn it into a strategy for approval and implementation?
The owner must be appropriately empowered to lead and work in cross–functional teams. It takes a combination of skills to be successful in the role, including championing and communicating the vision, developing the strategy, as well as being an implementation project manager. Perhaps one person can achieve all of this, or maybe it is better to assign different responsibilities to different individuals. Depending on the size of your organization and priority for technology usage, these roles may be part-time or full-time commitments.
If you have already addressed these three areas in your organization, then, congratulations! You should already be on your way to transforming traditional audit, risk and compliance processes. For those of you who are still under-utilizing technology, then hopefully these suggested resolutions will prompt you into action. Besides, they seem far more interesting than resolving to diet and exercise more!