Communicating Value ‘is Challenge for Audit and Risk Professionals’

The most widespread challenge facing audit, risk management and compliance professionals is putting their work into a context that speaks to executives, according to risk management software company ACL.

The Vancouver, Canada-based company’s just-issued
‘Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) Technology Pulse Survey 2014’
, finds that 42% of the more than 1,700 finance, audit, risk, and compliance professionals around the world surveyed cited this issue as the largest obstacle they face today.

According to ACL, one reason this remains a challenge may well be that executives are not providing the resources required. A majority number of respondents reported that they are not using purpose-built audit and risk software, with 27% using Microsoft products like Word and Excel, shared drives or Sharepoint. While these general products are adequate for many tasks, they fall short of easily creating visibility around an organisation’s major risks, or linking findings to actionable results.

Despite these challenges, 91% of audit and risk professionals agreed that their vantage point in the organisations has them uniquely equipped to identify opportunities that would improve operational performance if senior management empowers them.

“The stark reality for GRC professionals is that it is impossible to demonstrate strategic value if your daily reality is dominated by administrative work,” said Ross Paul, vice president of global operations at ACL. “To create more time for value-added, strategic work, it is imperative that audit, risk, and compliance professionals get out of their spreadsheets and take advantage of technology built for them. Our research indicates that they still struggle to do so.

“This surprising blind spot not only underutilises GRC professionals who can have a positive impact on financial performance, it puts companies at great risk.”

This year’s survey also revealed that GRC professionals think the most prevalent concern for organisations is data privacy and security. This is a change from 2013, when respondents indicated internal fraud, waste and abuse as the primary worry.

“It’s time for leadership to step back and evaluate what modern technology can do for them,” added Laurie Schultz, ACL’s president and chief executive (CEO). “Some of the historical technology providers in this profession are holding the industry – and by extension the careers of GRC professionals – back by hanging onto a cumbersome, antiquated approach to software design.”

Additional results from the 2014 survey may be accessed
here
.

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