Internal Controls - In need of better branding !

Yesterday, I was running against time to reach somewhere for a meeting but couldn’t drive at the required pace.

Reason: Brakes not in perfect condition

Strangely enough brakes which are meant to reduce the speed of a car start appearing as a necessity to accelerate. Why, because the comfort that is required to move at a faster pace was not there. This made me realize our limitation in perceiving the utility of things at our disposal and the next thing I started pondering on were Internal Controls.

Un fortunately "Internal Controls" in most organizations are also considered as the brakes with the perception of being show stopper whereas should be an enabler for business growth. Sound and robust controls rightly balancing customer requirements and the risk mitigation can help organizations stand firm and move on. It is up to the ones' who are responsible for designing and implementing the controls to project these as such and why not

"Controls as an engine for business growth"

As the businesses start to expand, the risk of losing the value also increases. Right controls within the processes let business decision makers move forward with the ease that the value they are creating is being protected.

Also, in today's environment much of the growth lies in creating innovative business models, establishing multiple sale channels and offering various payment options e.t.c. In many scenarios management might be reluctant to explore the new frontiers owing to the risks related to loss of reputation, revenue leakage, fraud, e.t.c. This is where Internal Control specialists can come in, put on their risk management hat and design the controls which let the management put their feet on the paddle.

As an example, let’s discuss an idea that can potentially disrupt Uber . Imagine my car standing in front of the office idle for 8 hours. Why isn’t it can be used in that time frame by someone who wishes to visit a friend, go shopping e.t.c. Not only it will generate an additional revenue stream for me but also provide the other party with a ride at a lower cost. One challenge which needs to be addressed first in order to make the idea work is the  development of robust controls without affecting customer experience. In other words effective risk mitigation has become the key success factor here but the questions is, are we marketing internal controls from that angle ?

In a nutshell, yes, Internal Control professionals main task is to help preserve the business value but they should also seize an opportunity for value creation. Once the businesses see their role in that domain they would also be more receptive to the recommendations generally not taken so positively.

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