5 Ways to Keep Your Internal Controls Healthy During COVID-19
Transitioning to the “new normal” of remote operations can present many challenges to the effective operation of your organization’s internal controls. In our latest blog brought to you by our partners and colleagues within Addison Group, discover some helpful tips to identify obstacles early, adjust processes, and ensure effective communications with key stakeholders to successfully navigate the reporting and compliance challenges presented by this new environment.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR INTERNAL CONTROLS HEALTHY DURING COVID-19
By Georgia Hutton | Bridgepoint Consulting
As companies adjust to the “new normal” of remote operations during the COVID 19 pandemic maintaining focus on the effective operation of internal controls is critical. The shift to remote operations will likely require adjustments to internal control processes and timely identification of those adjustments will be key to maintaining an effective internal control environment.
WHEN EVALUATING REMOTE OPERATION OF YOUR CONTROL PROCESSES HERE ARE FIVE THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- EVALUATE CURRENT CLOSE CALENDAR AND CONSIDER THE IMPACT ON THE TIMELINESS OF CONTROL OPERATIONConsider risk ranking close and control activities to prioritize essential activities and pushing back or eliminating items that are not key Be sure to contact third-party partners as early as possible to determine when (and in some cases whether) data will be available and adjust calendar accordingly. Assess whether your company will utilize SEC report filing extension and how that impacts the close calendar and execution of controls.
- IDENTIFY CONTROLS WITH MANUAL APPROVALSIdentify controls that document review/approval through hard copy sign-offs. Adjust the approval process for those controls to capture digital signature approvals or approval via email. Using a review template to document digital reviews/approvals can help ensure the capture of necessary review steps and consistent application. Remember that to properly evidence data that is being approved, referenced documentation should be attached to the approval email.
By Marcia Ayala
Marcia joined DLC in 2006 and now serves as Managing Director for the Chicago market, where she is responsible for new business development, talent acquisition, talent retention, and the overall operations of DLC’s Chicago office. She’d previously served as Client Account Director, where her responsibilities included consulting as well as sourcing, managing, and leading client engagements. She has over 20 years of finance and accounting experience working with both Fortune 500 and privately held businesses concentrated in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, consumer and industrial products, education, insurance, and financial services. Marcia is a CPA and a Project Management Professional (PMP). Her consulting focus has centered on acquisition integration, due diligence support, purchase accounting, carve-outs, and divestitures, shared services, FP&A, business unit reporting, and project management. Prior to joining DLC, Marcia was the Chief Accounting Officer for a GTCR portfolio company where she led the finance and accounting integration related to the purchase of 11 businesses. Marcia began her career in audit at Arthur Andersen and also held finance positions at Kraft Foods and Harley-Davidson Financial Services. She received her Masters of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Chicago – Booth School of Business, her Masters of Science in Accountancy from DePaul University, and her Bachelors degree from DePauw University.