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Blog > How do internal controls help in risk management?

How do internal controls help in risk management?

VComply Editorial Team
January 30, 2023
3 minutes

Internal control refers to the policies and procedures implemented by an organization to ensure the integrity of financial and accounting information, promote operational efficiency, and prevent fraud.

A system of internal controls is a set of policies and procedures that ensure the integrity of financial and accounting information, promote compliance and operational efficiency, and prevent fraud. Risk management identifies, evaluates, and mitigates potential risks to an organization’s operations and financial stability. Together, internal control and risk management help organizations to identify and mitigate potential threats to their financial and operational well-being as well as adhere to compliance. Internal control procedures are designed to provide reasonable assurance that an organization’s objectives are met, and risk management is the process of identifying and assessing potential risks to the organization, and implementing strategies to mitigate or manage those risks. Both internal control and risk management are critical components of an organization’s overall governance and compliance framework.

Why is internal control important in risk management? 

Internal controls are important because they help organizations to achieve their objectives by:

  • Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of financial and operational information.
  • Protecting assets from fraud and misappropriation.
  • Complying with laws and regulations.
  • Managing and mitigating risks.
  • Improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
  • Providing a basis for monitoring and evaluating the performance of the organization.
  • Enhancing organizational governance and accountability.
  • Building trust and confidence of stakeholders such as investors and customers.

In short, internal controls help organizations achieve their objectives by providing assurance that their operations are conducted effectively and efficiently, their assets are protected, and that the organization is in compliance with laws and regulations. Additionally, internal controls provide a basis for monitoring and evaluating the organization’s performance, which ultimately improves its overall effectiveness and efficiency.

Read more about Internal controls- Complete guide to Internal controls

Different types of risks

There are several types of  risks, including:

  • Financial reporting risk: This type of risk involves the possibility of inaccurate or incomplete financial reporting due to errors, fraud, or misappropriation of assets.
  • Compliance risk: This type of risk arises when an organization fails to comply with laws, regulations, or industry standards.
  • Operational risk: This type of risk arises from inadequate or failed internal processes, systems, or human factors that may lead to unexpected losses.
  • Strategic risk: This type of risk arises from the possibility of an organization’s strategy not achieving its intended objectives or objectives being misaligned with the organization’s overall mission.
  • Reputation risk: This type of risk arises from negative publicity or a loss of public trust in an organization.
  • Cybersecurity risk: This type of risk arises from the possibility of unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of information.
  • Business continuity risk: This type of risk arises from the possibility of an organization not being able to continue its operations due to an unexpected event or disaster.
  • Human resource risk: This type of risk arises from the possibility of an organization not having the right people with the right skills to achieve its objectives.

Additional Read: In-depth guide to Risk Management

How to implement internal controls 

Establishing clear policies and procedures: This involves creating written guidelines for financial and operational processes, such as financial reporting, purchasing, and inventory management.

  • Segregation of duties: This involves dividing responsibilities among different employees to reduce the risk of fraud or errors. For example, separating the duties of employees who handle cash from those who handle banking transactions.
  • Assigning responsibilities: Assigning tasks to individuals sets the foundation for accountability. This also clears up who does what and removes any possibilities for later confusion. 
  • Conducting regular internal audits: This involves reviewing financial and operational processes to ensure they are in compliance with policies and procedures and identifying any areas that need improvement.
  • Providing adequate training and supervision: This involves providing employees with the necessary training and resources to perform their tasks correctly, as well as regular supervision to ensure they are following policies and procedures.
  • Establishing a system of internal communication: This involves creating a system for employees to report any concerns or issues they may have, such as fraud or other forms of misconduct, without fear of retaliation.
  • Regularly reviewing and updating internal control procedures: This involves periodically reviewing and updating internal control procedures to ensure they remain effective and relevant.

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How does internal control help in risk management?

  • Identifying and assessing risks: Internal control procedures, such as regular internal audits, can help identify and assess potential risks to the organization, such as fraud, errors, or operational inefficiencies.
  • Mitigating risks: Once risks have been identified and assessed, internal control procedures can be implemented to mitigate or reduce those risks. For example, segregation of duties can help prevent fraud by limiting the ability of one person to both initiate and approve transactions.
  • Monitoring and reporting risks: Internal control procedures can be used to monitor and report on risks, both to management and external parties such as auditors or regulators. This can help ensure that risks are being effectively managed and that any necessary corrective action is taken.
  • Compliance: Internal control procedures can help an organization comply with laws and regulations, such as financial reporting standards, by providing a framework for ensuring that financial and operational processes are in compliance.
  • Continual improvement: Internal control procedures help organizations to continually improve by identifying areas for improvement and providing a framework for implementing necessary changes. Overall, internal control procedures serve as a foundation for managing risks and ensuring the organization’s stability, reliability, and compliance with laws and regulations.

How VComply can help in implementing internal controls

VComply is a Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) software that can assist organizations in implementing and maintaining an effective internal control plan. Some ways in which VComply can help include:

  • Automating internal control procedures: VComply can automate many of the internal control procedures, such as risk assessment, compliance monitoring, and incident management. This can help to reduce the risk of errors and improve the efficiency of internal control processes.
  • Centralizing internal control information: VComply can centralize all internal control information in one platform, making it easier for organizations to access and manage internal control procedures. This can help improve visibility and oversight of internal control processes.
  • Providing real-time reporting: VComply can provide real-time reporting on internal control procedures, allowing organizations to quickly identify and address any issues. This can help to improve the effectiveness of internal control procedures.
  • Streamlining compliance: It can assist organizations in streamlining compliance with laws and regulations by providing access to compliance checklists and automating compliance monitoring processes.
  • Risk Management: VComply can help organizations to identify, assess, and manage risks by providing risk assessment templates and risk management tools.

See why VComply stands out as a G2 high performer in Compliance and Risk Management. Request your demo to see how it can drive your compliance initiatives.