September 14, Annemie Pelgrims, Expert Practice Leader Risk, and Client Partners Maddy Lauwers and Filip Ceulemans, are hosting a dinner for a number of Finance and Audit Executives at Yust, Antwerp.
They will discuss how risk impacts the Finance Transformation journey, and how continuous monitoring of the quality and efficiency of the Finance function is necessary to make this transformation succeed.
In this blog post, Risk Project Managers Anne Binard and Stephanie Kelberg discuss five ways Internal Audit can impact a Finance Transformation journey and how the function helps a company achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and strategic alignment.
Achieving greater efficiency, effectiveness, and strategic alignment
In today's rapidly changing business landscape, organizations are constantly seeking innovative ways to optimize their financial processes and enhance their overall performance.
Internal Audit plays a pivotal role in this Finance Transformation journey as a strategic partner for driving and sustaining Finance Transformation initiatives. Internal auditors have access to a wealth of data and insights that can be harnessed to identify operational inefficiencies, risk exposure, and opportunities for financial process optimization.
Here are five ways the function helps a company achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and strategic alignment.
1. Driving strategic alignment
Successful Finance Transformation requires strong alignment between the Finance function and the broader organizational strategy. Internal Audit bridges this gap by collaborating closely with Finance and other business functions.
By gaining a deep understanding of the organization's strategic goals and the risks that may prevent their achievement, Internal Audit tailors its audit plans to focus on areas critical to achieving these objectives.
Furthermore, Internal Audit's insights into emerging risks and market trends provide valuable input for strategic decision-making, ensuring that Finance transformation efforts are aligned with the organization's long-term vision.
2. Ensuring Data-Driven Decision Making
Finance Transformation involves the adoption of advanced data analytics and business intelligence tools. Internal Audit contributes to this process by leveraging data analytics to conduct comprehensive audits and by ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial data by conducting detailed audits of data sources, systems, and reporting mechanisms.
By validating the accuracy of financial information, Internal Audit enhances the credibility of financial reports, reinforcing management's trust in informed strategic decisions. This data-driven approach solidifies the groundwork for successful Finance Transformation initiatives.
3. Facilitating Change Management and Adoption
Change is inherent in any transformation journey, and Internal Audit can play a pivotal role in facilitating smooth change management and fostering widespread adoption of new financial processes and technologies.
Internal Auditors can act as change agents by supporting finance teams as they transition to new ways of working. By addressing concerns, clarifying expectations, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, Internal Audit contributes to a seamless transition during finance transformation initiatives.
4. Driving Process Efficiency and Streamlining Operations
Finance Transformation aims to optimize financial processes, eliminate inefficiencies, and improve overall operational performance.
Through in-depth process assessments, internal auditors can pinpoint bottlenecks, redundancies, and inefficiencies. This approach enables organizations to redesign processes for optimal efficiency, resulting in cost savings, improved resource allocation, and faster decision-making.
By aligning financial processes with industry best practices, Internal Audit contributes to smoother operations, reduced costs, and increased process efficiency.
5. Mitigating Risks and Safeguarding Compliance
Finance transformation might involve the implementation of new technologies, processes, and systems. With these changes come inherent risks, including data breaches, fraud, and non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
Internal Audit functions as a guardian against these risks, conducting risk assessments, pinpointing control gaps, and proposing remedial actions. By providing assurance on the effectiveness of internal controls and compliance mechanisms, internal auditors contribute to minimizing operational and financial risks associated with transformation efforts.
In an era where Finance transformation is not an option but a necessity, Internal Audit emerges as a silent yet powerful driver of change. Its role in identifying risks, optimizing processes, and providing strategic insights is a powerful enabler of Finance transformation. Organizations that recognize and leverage the potential of Internal Audit as a strategic partner are better equipped to navigate the complexities of modern business and emerge as leaders in their industries.
1. The evolution of the Internal Audit mandate
The scope and objectives of Internal Audit have expanded over time to adapt to emerging risks, regulatory requirements, and evolving business needs.
In this longread interview, Annemie Pelgrims, Expert Practice Leader Risk at CFO Services in Pragmatic Advisory & Implementation, explores the evolving role of Internal Audit. With her extensive expertise in internal audit, internal control, and risk management, and a keen eye for emerging challenges, Annemie sheds some light on how the Internal Audit function can be transformed to meet the changing demands of the business.
2. Risk brochure
The TriFinance Risk practice offers pragmatic solutions to build internal audit and control departments, helping them achieve their mission. Our services combine expertise in internal audit, internal control, and risk management with the latest technology.
Our services include key building blocks to develop the internal audit and/or internal control functions of tomorrow, delivered by our Risk experts in close collaboration with our CFO Services knowledge network.
Download the full Risk brochure (12 pages) by clicking the button at the top of this article.