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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.

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Everything I Know About Key Risk Indicators I Learned in Middle School

Firefighters on the Job

A number of years ago, while living near Houston, Texas and working for a major oil company as an audit director, I joined the local volunteer fire department in my community.

As a new member, I was assigned the task of carrying out a fire inspection at our local middle school. I was part of a team that included more highly-trained fellow volunteers.

Auditing Fire Risks

Being an experienced auditor, I was certain I was up to the task. I knew all about controls and I thought that knowledge would come in handy. My plans were to meet up …

Effective Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Programs – Must They Remain Illusions, or Can They Become Allusions of Success?

bribery

Often, when looking at historical events and time periods, I try and imagine what it would have been like to live then and to have my perspectives influenced by the opportunities and challenges of the day. What would have been my reactions, for example, to experiencing the Prohibition of the 1920s, to having the Bible made available to the masses, to living under fascism, or to seeing the end of slavery?

Not having lived during those times, it can be easy to make allusions (or casual references) to the difficult and challenging periods as if they simply live in …

Fraud Attacks Come From Unexpected Places – Can Predictive Analytics Help?

fraud and predictive

Recently, I had a chance to watch one of those old, French cult movies of the 60s from the recently deceased director Georges Lautner (an institution in France) entitled “Ne nous fâchons pas” (Let’s not get angry).

In one scene, the main male character seeks to engage in business with a rich (and wary) heiress. To gain her confidence, he tells her: “People always tend to see gangsters as stocky, dark-haired guys. It’s the silliest prejudice!” To which she answers, “And I have another one for you—they tend to think that a tall, blond woman is inevitably daft… Missed!”

The Critical Role of Marketing Executives in the Risk Management Process

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From my experience, marketing executives are often involved in the risk management process quite late – usually to manage the communication aspect of a crisis. Therefore, they’re only involved when the risk has transformed into a critical incident and the company is in a defensive mode.

I strongly believe that marketing executives can bring a lot to the table for a proactive risk management approach. This would notably help in monitoring the reputational risk and protecting the brand from adverse events.

As we all know, communication channels have exponentially expanded in the last few years to reach volumes that …

GRC Software Selection and Implementation: Are You Designing the Automotor Horse?

automotor horse

What IS an automotor horse, you may ask, and what does it have to do with governance, risk, and compliance (GRC)? First, let me share a little background.

The automotor horse was an invention credited to M. Emile Langrenne, as described in British Invention. The newly developed automobile, described as “a vehicle in search of a horse,” apparently had caused some sense of loss and discomfort among those who would prefer to keep their existing carriages. Today, we might label these people as change-averse.

Enter the automotor horse, for which a patent was filed. The automotor horse was designed …

Top 10 Benefits of a GRC Software Solution vs. Office Tools

Businessmen Looking at Computer Monitors

In a recent client presentation, I was asked by the compliance team what I thought were the benefits of using a software solution versus office tools, such as spreadsheets, that were already used internally and that everyone knows how to use.

Whatever the topic (this of course includes GRC), most software solutions are compared against office tools such as Microsoft’s Excel or Word. And it’s true, most companies have started their governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) journey using these tools, and even created shared drives on networks or intranet sites, macros in Excel, or dedicated Access databases and even …

Auditing on an iPad: The Bell Tolls for Audit Sampling

Redefining the Role of Internal Audit: Avoiding Redundancy

Over the last month, I’ve been looking at the results of surveys conducted by the Big Four accounting firms regarding internal audit. The messages are pretty consistent—audit departments need to pick up their game. They need to provide more proactive advice to stakeholders. The move from policeman to trusted advisor is requiring broader operational skills within the audit department.

But most importantly, auditors need to leverage technology more effectively. As I discussed in the first blog of this series, mobile-enabled audit management products provide an important opportunity to make the process of managing an audit more efficient. …

Key Risk Indicators in a Sound Risk Management Process: What Are They Really?

Misunderstanding Risk and Controls

For many people, risk management helps companies make sure that their compliance risks are monitored and that they have controls in place to take care of them.

Personally, I strongly believe that risk management is much more than that – it helps companies really steer their business, avoid roadblocks, seize opportunities, and react appropriately.

Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) are indicators of the possibility of a future adverse impact on the organization. They serve as an early warning system to the stakeholders and enable preventive action to be taken directly on the risks and opportunities flagged.

In that sense, they …

Part Two: Auditing on an iPad – Really??

Integrated Business Planning -- the Inevitable Journey for Finance

In my last blog, I discussed the advantages of leveraging mobility to improve the effectiveness of managing the audit process, considering the opportunities for improved professionalism, ease of evidence capture, improved work paper management, and improved auditor engagement.

In this blog, I’d like to consider the ways that audit databases can be used to improve the effectiveness of audit planning and to help with critical research during an audit project.

Audit work papers can be stored on laptop hard drives, on shared drives, or within various document management systems.

Of course, we all understand the professional and …

Auditing on an iPad – Really?

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I’m sure you don’t need me to point this out—but we’re all accustomed to wandering around with a plethora of mobile devices, including tablets and phones. And yes, they come in very handy—getting directions to an offsite meeting, locating a restaurant, booking tickets for a show, clearing e-mail on the fly.

But have you noticed that increasingly, as we use these devices more, our expectations for what we can do on a mobile device are increasing? We have less tolerance for websites (and the brand behind them!) that don’t work well on our mobile device. And, increasingly, we find …