The reality of implementing processes

Fully documented and perfectly implemented processes? That would be awesome! Unfortunately in reality, there’s always room for improvement and optimization in most operational processes. That’s why, it’s crucial to identify this potential early on and capitalize on it.

Because, only smooth process flows will allow you as the process manager to:

  • achieve process goals

  • meet compliance requirements

  • manage process risks and

  • accelerate business processes

The only question that remains is: How can you get this done – and do it as efficiently as possible?

The answer lies in using your existing process documentation as the basis for an Internal Control System (ICS). An internal control system and its set of mechanisms act as a facilitator in ensuring the optimal performance of your business processes. Make it fit to your specific needs, leverage the synergetic effects between process management and ICS, and achieve your desired results. This blog post will take you through the 6 key steps you need, to get your ICS successfully under way.

1- Identify the relevant processes

As in many other areas of business, focus is a vital factor. Therefore, don’t plan to optimize all of your company’s numerous processes at the same time. First, identify and prioritize your most essential processes. Start, for example. with your core and support processes, in the IT or accounting departments.

In order to analyse your process portfolio in the best possible way, it’s important to consider the following aspects:

  • Transparent documentation

  • Clear responsibilities

  • Ongoing checks to ensure that processes are up-to-date and valid

Check out our free downloadable poster for more helpful tips on prioritizing your processes.

2- Identify and evaluate process risks

Step 2 is all about identifying potential risks within your processes. Assess any identified risks according to their likelihood of occurrence and expected impact. The assessment process should be adapted to your specific business requirements and repeated on a periodic basis. This evaluation normally entails an assessment of the risks, quality assurance of the assessment and approval. The assessment process is usually carried out by different roles in the company. As an example, it can be done by risk assessors, methodical risk approvers, and risk approvers in a simple workflow, as shown in the Figure 1.

Image 1: Example evaluation process, executed by three different roles

Image 1: Example evaluation process, executed by three different roles

3- Define and anchor controls in your processes

Once potential risks have been identified, suitable controls must be defined and anchored within your processes. Controls are actions that help you mitigate a detected risk, or prevent it from occurring in the first place. One example of a control is the authorizations assignment. To ensure an effective process execution, you should also have the execution of your controls confirmed at periodic intervals. You can find more information on this step in our blog post “Managing process steps in a controlled way”.

4- Test controls and identify control gaps

Just like your processes, you should continuously optimize your control portfolio too. Consider both the design (test of design) and the operating function (test of effectiveness) of your controls. This is the only way to identify any control gaps and make respective improvements.

5- Optimize processes, risks and controls

Step 5 includes deriving suitable measures to optimize your processes, risks and controls. Actions help you clearly focus on the improvement opportunities in your business process flows. Due to their project character, they differ significantly from controls. Unlike recurring controls, actions are planned, implemented and completed once. Recommendations for the implementation of actions can be found in our latest poster.

Image 2: Derive suitable actions to improve your process flows

Image 2: Derive suitable actions to improve your process flows

6- Leverage reports and dashboards

Target group-specific reports and dashboards provide you with a holistic view. Process managers, risk owners, and control owners benefit from this increased transparency. Be sure to use the dashboards especially to keep track of upcoming tasks for all roles.

As you can see, an internal control system is also a useful instrument for you as a process owner. It supports you in realizing your process goals, adhering to compliance requirements, managing process risks, and accelerating your business processes altogether. Further expected benefits include the simple derivation of recommendations for actions, as well as the integrated view of processes, risks, controls, measures, and much more!

In our free poster, you’ll find these 6 steps and all essential information at a glance. And what’s more, we’ve also included additional valuable tips and best practices to help you get even more out of your processes!

How to get even more out of your processes with an ICS

Learn more about how our tool can support you:

ADOGRC
Governance, Risk & Compliance

Learn more about how
our tool can support you:

ADOGRC
Governance, Risk & Compliance

Stay up to date on GRC

Expert articles on trending topics, monthly information on our free webinars,
events & announcements of new product versions.

Expert articles on trending topics, monthly information on our free webinars, events & announcements of new product versions.