Can your organization provide evidence that your house is in order?

Actions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have amounted to more than a billion dollars in disgorgement, fines and penalties every year for nearly two decades. On average, nearly a quarter of actions filed also included named individuals as defendants. What does it mean for your organization if one of your employees engages in illegal activity? Well, that depends. Can your organization provide evidence that your house is in order?

The executives who sleep well at night know that 1) they have policies in place, 2) they have and enforce a process to ensure policies and procedures are kept up to date, and 3) the organization has gone to great lengths to ensure that all employees and third-party agents of the company are aware of the policies and procedures.

Upon request, managers in their organizations can provide the latest policies, proof of maintenance, access to previous versions, a list of all changes including who made them and when, as well as evidence of employee notification and certification.

Employees in these organizations can also rely on their policy management systems to help them work more effectively and efficiently. Their policies and procedures are appropriately linked to related regulations, risks, controls, and principles, and they include ties to responsible parties, departments, relevant locations, and systems touched. If a new employee, system, or regulation is introduced, they can see who and what is impacted.

The most adept organizations have a broadly communicated philosophy regarding policy documentation and practices that provides a shared foundation for all divisions, departments, and regulatory management teams throughout the enterprise. They utilize a centrally accessible policy management platform that supports collaborative authoring and monitoring while also providing all employees with easy access to the latest approved versions.

How well have you been sleeping? Reach out to us and soon you can rest, too, knowing your house is in order: 412.263.3330.

What comes to mind when you hear “digital evidence”?

Who cares?

I mean, who actually has to care about digital evidence? Consider the audiences or different roles of people who need to produce or rely on digital evidence: management and business unit leaders; auditors; information management, technology, compliance, and security professionals; and the officers of your organization. We are producing unstructured data, much of it valuable, at a breakneck pace. Do you know who your producers of quality digital evidence are?

When I hear digital evidence, I think of the artifacts that may be considered digital evidence such as raw data, reports, signed documents, test results, specifications, and performance receipts. Documentation of activities that provide assurance, including procedures, work instructions, training sessions and materials, and attestations are also critical. Have you identified which practices and assurances are closest to your significant accounts, risks, and controls?

How do we wrap our arms around digital evidence?

There are systems and practices that provide the bookends for ensuring relevant and reliable results contributing to digital evidence such as systematic management and monitoring of workflow, milestones, deadlines, analyses, and remediations. Digital evidence also relies on the trail of bread crumbs that show who touched what and when including the audit trail of changes, versions, handoffs, and approvals. Without a central portal or system in place, it is plain to see, we cannot reliably manage digital evidence.

Are you taking advantage of all that policyIQ has to offer in these areas?

Alerts, dashboard notifications, and email generated systematically by RGP’s policyIQ helps employees know when work is required of them. The taxonomy of the digital content is configurable and can be subject to the information governance preferences of your organization with appropriate read, write, and approve rights established during initial configuration. policyIQ can provide an enforceable framework to manage contributions, the complete capture, monitoring, and reporting on critical documentation and evidence.

If your opportunity has more to do with the quality of your existing evidence or the need for corroborating evidence, RGP’s subject matter experts can help to assess your need and to fill any gaps identified. Right now—whether related to technology, process, quality, or completeness—make a note of some of those gaps or pain points that just crossed your mind. And then reach out to us: Information@policyIQ.com; 412-263-3330.

How to Transition from Manual to Automated Workflows

Tis the season for fresh starts!

Let us help you manage the development, hand-offs, review and approval of your GRC content more efficiently! Have you designated the parties responsible for updating your Process Narratives and Control documentation? Do you have a process defined for who captures testing details and who performs the final review of audits?

Have you mapped out hand-offs in your processes?

The workflow features in policyIQ support multiple levels of authoring, reviewing, and final approval by individuals or groups, such as one of two line staff or any of 3 auditors. These features allow you to institute your expectation for updates and hand-offs so that those actually responsible for performing various duties are prompted by the system to properly wrap up their work and to establish a defensible audit trail with appropriate documentation and evidence.

Is your team utilizing the Check-in/Check Out capability to collaborate with fellow contributors? Have you added external auditors and other stakeholders as Viewers on your documentation? Rest assured that Viewers will have Read-only access only after your content has completed your designated approval process.

Ensure greater communication, security, performance, and cost savings with automated workflows

We are standing by ready to talk through your options on how to transition from manual maintenance to automated workflows. It’s 2019! Time for a fresh start and more efficient and effective processes. Talk to you soon!

A Remedy for Decentralized Audit Approaches

Is your organization still struggling with manual audit processes? Do you have audit projects, past audits, and workpapers strewn about in various shared network folders (or worse, on various hard drives)? Do your auditors have to rely on email to collaborate and share documents? How about your naming convention—has your audit group standardized the way that documentation is labeled to help you to keep the information organized and easy to reference? Speaking of standardization, have audit processes been standardized across the organization or does each location or division manage their own audit program? And what would you say about your review and approval process? Is it clearly mapped, followed, and approvals communicated? Are audit findings routinely rolled up and reported?

RGP’s policyIQ addresses each of these challenges so that you can realize more effective and efficient management of your organization’s audit function. Leverage predefined Templates, Folders, Workflow, Reports, and Audit Trail for your compliance, audit, or policy management documentation. It is also simple to customize the structure to accommodate ongoing changes or characteristics that are unique to your organization, program, or team.

Configuration adjustments are at your fingertips. You do not have to reach out to a support desk or technical team to add templates for specialized workpapers, IPEs (Information Provided by Entity), or for your PBC (Provided by Client) process. Adjustments can be made directly by users authorized in your organization. If you haven’t yet incorporated those templates into the flow of your work and want some help getting them set up, we do have support and configuration specialists who are happy to walk you through the setup of your custom program.

We expect all of RGP’s policyIQ audit clients to be enjoying these benefits in your audit program:

  • Consistent enterprise-wide audit process
  • Centralized access to workpapers and IPEs
  • Simplified administration of PBCs and audit process
  • Ability to easily locate and leverage audit templates/projects and previous audits
  • Streamlined communication among management, auditors (internal and external), and approvers
  • Real-time monitoring capability and status reporting
  • Simplified management and audit committee reporting

We’re ready to help you reach your goals!

Whether you are an existing policyIQ user or a new one, we want to help you to improve and automate your audit program. Perhaps you are new to the administration of your site or you are not sure how to make adjustments to the configuration of your site’s templates or structure. Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you get started or to optimize your implementation. Support@policyIQ.com.

5 Steps to a More Efficient Internal Control Environment

Is your team overwhelmed with activities that feel unnecessary?

How confident are you that the energy spent on testing is focused on the necessary controls?

Leverage policyIQ to systematically focus on the critical controls for management and testing. More efficiently analyze which Financial Statement Assertions, relative to each of your 10K line items, are adequately controlled, which are left vulnerable and which of your relevant assertions is over-controlled! See, plainly, the gaps in your coverage and leverage the evidence to justify the reduction of waste, and plan to concentrate effort on work that matters.

This process really starts with your risk assessment. If you have not leveraged policyIQ to bring automation and reliability to your risk assessment process and want to walk through the policyIQ solution (including the just-released feature that makes cumulative risk calculations possible), reach out to schedule a free working meeting with us! After completing your risk assessment, identifying significant accounts and relevant assertions, and determining which of your processes and objectives are in scope (all steps that can be managed in policyIQ), you can begin the process of rationalizing your controls.

Next, leverage policyIQ to move through these five Control Rationalization steps:

Each step is made more efficient with policyIQ. We can support you to customize templates for the attributes that are critical and unique to your organization. The import, linking, calculations, workflow, and reporting features will allow you to more quickly examine the effectiveness and priority of your procedures. Having confidence in your Control Rationalization process and your internal control environment then allows you to come full circle to look at the bank of risks that you previously identified. You might conclude that some process risks that have consumed time and attention for years are actually not in scope. This Control Rationalization process will help you to be more effective and more efficient through each testing cycle.

Would you like to see sample templates and schedule a working meeting to get the ball rolling? Contact us and reap the benefits by your next testing cycle!

Have you automated your Narrative reviews?

Are you paying employees to inventory email responses or spend hours in update meetings to accomplish tasks that can be automated? With the application of policyIQ forms, your employees can take back time that was spent on tedious tasks and focus on work that matters.

If your team is still using Word, Excel, and email to manage 302 CertificationsControl Self Assessments and Narrative Reviews, they are engaging in the frustrating task of having to inventory the responses from their inbox and then babysit and pester people to complete their work. As responses do arrive, they evaluate who they’ve heard from, who hasn’t responded, and evaluate whether/which follow-up activities are warranted. They are likely also having to pull together routine assessments regarding the status of responses to share with management and others.

Before anyone invests another minute on the effort of pulling together the Narrative Reviews for next quarter, contact us to help your team realize these benefits right away:

  • Simplified roll-out of questions/certifications each quarter
  • Easy access to real-time information for monitoring of status
  • Automation of reminders going out to outstanding respondents
  • Automated compiling of results
  • Effortless reporting for management

There are lots of products out there that will set you back $50-$500k annually that promise efficiency gains in your compliance processes. For a fraction of that cost, we’ll deliver on that promise in a matter of weeks—not months or years. Work smarter. Spend smarter. Contact us today to schedule your configuration session. 

Who wants to avoid redundant effort and rework?

RGP consultant, Jason Chiang, recently wrote:

Jason Chiang
Expert in risk management and audit

“A narrative provides mid-level detail of the transactions and internal controls within a business process and includes who, how frequent, and in what location the transactions and controls are being performed…

…Narratives should be updated as changes are implemented in the organization. The updates should follow a workflow where there is a review process for significant changes.”

For many clients, automating the process of updating compliance documentation is a critical but often overlooked part of their practices. Each year, various aspects of controls may change, such as steps of the control procedure, the control description, or control ownership.  As these critical bits of information are updated, it is important, as Mr. Chiang stated, that the associated narrative pages are also updated to reflect the latest information.

Who wants to avoid redundant effort and rework?!

If you haven’t already implemented policyIQ or you have policyIQ and you haven’t taken advantage of this feature, this is a good time to tune in and make a note: policyIQ has a “linked field” option that allows you to update control language (or other documentation) in one place and present the updated language in related documents—here’s the key: without redundant effort or rework!

Displaying all related Controls in the Narrative is probably the most common request, but you can also display Risk language in Controls, Control language in Tests, and the contract review conclusions in a management summary page, among a seemingly infinite number of options! No more hunting down related documents to make small tweaks–it’s already done!

To learn more about how reduce redundant effort and rework, contact our team at Support@policyIQ.com.

Your Risk Assessment spreadsheets are costing you!

Are your employees still manually managing Risk Assessments using spreadsheets?
If you answered yes, they are likely struggling to work with others efficiently, they are frustrated by version control issues, and they are wasting time trying to figure out who has given input and who still needs to provide information.

The data in spreadsheets is difficult to aggregate. Performing analyses within a spreadsheet is limited, and across multiple spreadsheets it is nearly impossible. There are nearly always issues with data entry and, therefore, data integrity. So, your employees are likely also spending time having to validate and track down information and they’re likely performing rework to shore up assessments and findings. For all of these reasons, spreadsheets prolong the time and expense of audits.

RGP’s policyIQ team has developed features that help you to automate questionnaires, inventories, risk ratings, capability measures, track gaps and roll-up findings. Your management and audit teams can begin collaborating on their finance, operational, fraud and enterprise risk assessments right away.  Contributors from your locations can work together in one flexible and easy to use tool with confidence in the security and accuracy of their information and analyses. Templates for various risk assessments are easy to customize. Notes and assumptions from previous assessments can be easily referenced and considered in current risk calculations.

Your auditors can remotely review the content that you choose to make available to them and only after it has completed the review process that you enforce using policyIQ.

Reach out to us to request your free trial site and to learn more about how your team can end their reliance on spreadsheets. Work smarter.

Who has access to your critical documentation?

Think, for a moment, about your human resources policies, risk documentation, safety specs, audit issues, training materials, accounting procedures or your IT controls.

  • Do external audiences, as well as internal employees, need access?
  • And do these audiences require access to different subsets of your content?
  • Does the intended audience know exactly where and how to locate all relevant content?
  • Is the latest version of the content available to your audience?
  • What steps do you have to take to disseminate content changes to your audience?

These are among the information governance considerations that RGP systematically addresses using policyIQ.

One of the lesser known perks of policyIQ is the ease with which you can provide free, simple, secure and tailored read-only access to your audience.

In this related blog post, we described one feature of policyIQ that gives organizations an easy-to-setup and easy-to-use solution for presenting and disseminating content to your read-only users.

If you are trying to develop a plan for appropriately sharing different types of documentation with their respective audiences, get in touch with us! We enjoy brainstorming and problem-solving challenges like this!