They’re powerful. People who study ethics and compliance challenges understand that strong, effective, and continually adapting internal controls are the bedrock of a strong business. To see their effectiveness and necessity, work backward. What is the mission, vision, and purpose of your business?
As mentioned earlier, though it may be extensive, ask yourself about the risks your business faces and how each one can hinder your progress towards the goal. Now that you have a goal and obstacles, you need a solution: internal controls.
Internal controls are the systems, processes, policies, and education plan that you have established. When your employees understand and believe in them, you have an effective means of preventing and correcting the pitfalls that threaten your business.
The First Step Is Challenging
If internal controls are the foundation of your business, this step is the pillar of their proper implementation. Should you decide to skip it, everything that proceeds it is likely destined to fail. Before success can be realized, you have to develop a culture that views ethics and compliance as a building block of success rather than an impediment. The structure and chain of command must lay the groundwork for efficient and effective communication.
It starts with the leaders.
Leadership sets the tone. You cannot rely on anyone to give ethics and compliance the attention they deserve if you don’t. As the head, everything you say and do is amplified. Establishing the goals and objectives is fundamental for a company, but your attitude and presence facilitate your employees’ willingness to work towards them.
Examples In Action
There are mainly 5 different components to establishing a practical internal control framework: C.R.I.M.E. (acronym that helps auditors to remember the components).
Because the first one is (justifiably) developing the Control environment, we can look at how and why it is fundamental: policies and procedures put into place to guide the organization.
Risk assessment comes next: it allows an organization to manage risk and take appropriate action to mitigate any negative impact it may cause.
Information and communication ensure that internal and external people understand what is expected of them.
Controls without Monitoring activities do not exist: ongoing evaluating processes can help discover inefficiencies and deficiencies, and correct them as quickly as possible.
Never forget the Existing control activities, they have to be checked regularly to validate alignment with your mission and goals.
For example, imagine that you run a warehouse. Because products are entering and leaving constantly, you have developed a layered system for people to oversee the actions and activities and others—and there is a defined chain of command for education and communication (C.R.I). If a manager discovers that one individual is hiring and approving payments transactions (an example of poor controls), you have the resources to identify and correct it. (M.E)
To build or improve your compliance system, contact us to schedule a consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org. We can assist you by pointing out where you are at risk and how you can mitigate it effectively.