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.

7 Features to Boost Efficiency in Your Daily Work

In case you were out enjoying your summer and missed announcements on the latest policyIQ release, we’re here to share the highlights! The theme of policyIQ’s version 7.9 is Convenience. We rolled out 7 features that help to boost efficiency in the flow of your daily work.

  1. Navigation continues to get easier and faster! Save time by leveraging “Favorite Folders” to lift your critical work to the top of the list.
  2. Is yours one of the organizations that uses policyIQ primarily for Account Reconciliations, 302 Certifications, or Policy Sign-offs? Perhaps you’d like to have Form Management as your top navigation option? Site Administrators, you can highlight your prioritized activities that your organization engages in most by reordering items in the left navigation pane.
  3. Paste content into policyIQ from a range of other document and file types and retain your formatting with this upgraded HTML/Rich Text Editor.
  4. Perform calculations on multiple figures originating in related content (Calculated Linked Fields). This allows you to perform activities like determining cumulative risk calculations and arriving at the sum of Standalone Selling Prices for each Performance Obligation linked to the contract.  The flexibility of policyIQ to provide more custom solutions for a wide range of business initiatives just got a boost with this feature!
  5. Approvers – we’re thinking of you.
    1. Some people rely on email to keep them apprised when their attention is needed and others loathe the ever-growing number of items in their inbox. Now, policyIQ lets you decide which approvers in the approval string will be automatically notified via email when items have been submitted for their review.
    2. Prior to this release, an individual could only occupy one step in the approval process. It was not historically possible to approve, pass the content to other approvers, and then bring it back around for final approval. If a process requires the same person to step in multiple times, policyIQ now supports that process.
  6. Rolling forward just got easier! If your organization likes to leverage the previous period’s tests rather than starting from blank templates, you can accomplish roll forward in fewer steps with the ability to Remove Attachments in Bulk.
  7. Take advantage of the flexibility of policyIQ! Changes in process, regulation, org structure, or responsibilities might lead to the need for adjustments to solutions and templates. Solution designers (policyIQ administrators) will be happy to learn that it is now possible to copy fields from one template to another, making it easier to leverage the work of previous solutions for new or improved solutions.

Would you like some help taking advantage of features that were rolled out after your original configuration (from this summer’s release or past releases)? Contact us and we’ll be happy to walk you through the steps!

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.

Policies Provide Foundation through Changing Regulatory Environment

Regulatory environments are constantly changing, influenced by economic, political and environmental factors beyond your company’s control.  It might seem like a daily battle to deal with the push and pull of complying with changing regulations.  So how do you stay focused, prepared and sane in the world of regulatory compliance?

One critical step is to ensure that you have well documented, well communicated and well understood corporate policies.  

Policies provide the foundation, governing the way in which your employees will work and how they will meet new regulatory requirements.  When the foundation is strong, with clear policies that are followed and enforced consistently, additional external expectations and requirements are much easier to incorporate.  

Here are just a few best practices to consider:

  1. Ensure that policies are written clearly.  Avoid company jargon or acronyms that may be unclear to new employees or external regulators.

  2. Make policies easily accessible to all employees.  If you are already using policyIQ, ensure that a policyIQ link is posted or communicated regularly.

  3. Clarify whether any exceptions might be approved to the policy, and communicate the process for approval for exceptions.  If it is not clear, employees may be more likely to decide it will be easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

  4. Document how policy violations will be addressed or how policies will be enforced.

  5. Revisit, review and revised policies regularly.  Do not allow policies to become outdated or appear to be outdated.  Even if no changes are made, regularly note that content has been reviewed, so that employees

  6. Map policies to your regulatory requirements or other compliance programs.  As regulations change, you can more easily identify any changes that must be made in your policies to address those changes.  

What other best practices would you highlight for a clear corporate policy platform?  Add yours in the comments and share ideas! Learn more about how to utilize policyIQ’s various read-only options by checking out a recent blog post by policyIQ Product Manager, Travis Whalen.

Efficiency Throughout the SOX Process

In a number of blog posts, we’ve highlighted the ways that policyIQ can be used throughout the entire SOX process – from risk assessments through issue remediation.  This past Thursday, July 28th, we took an hour to walk through the entire process in a CPE webinar to highlight ways to create efficiency at each step.

Did you miss it?

Before we hit the highlights below, we want to point you to the session recording and the slides, both of which are available for download.

The Big Picture

We highlighted a number of big picture advantages of using policyIQ not just for SOX, but for all of your compliance initiatives.  We talked about…

  • Simplicity of rolling out and managing a cloud-based
  • Advantages of being able to assign security and access
  • And the efficiency of a single source of information through the entire compliance and audit environment.

A single source means that when you make a change in one place, that change feeds all of the different perspectives on the data.

Controls

Efficiency at Every Step

We also dug into the efficiency that can be gained at every step of the process.  Just some of those ideas are presented below.  We also mentioned additional training available for some steps, and have linked those training sessions.

process

  1. Risk Assessments
    • Tie risk assessments at the 10K line item level to your risks and controls for ease of scoping.
  2. Control Updates & Review
    • Allow your control owners to make updates directly in policyIQ as things change, or require regular reviews of control documentation.
  3. Walkthroughs & Testing
    • Collaborate early (and often) with external auditors to ensure that your testing is capturing all of the detail expected.
  4. Issue Tracking & Remediation
    • Assign remediation plans to owners and use automated reminders to ensure responses are provided.
  5. Conclusions & Reporting
    • Utilize flexible reporting capabilities to trace issues back to the vulnerable risks and compensating controls to make a final determination about significant deficiencies or material weaknesses.

 

We also included the supporting functions that feed the process.

 

We’re ready to help you build more efficiency into your SOX program.  Contact us today and ask to speak with our client service team to walk you through implementing some new ideas!  Not yet a policyIQ client?  Contact us and ask us for a personalized demonstration!