Businesses with their financial year ending on 30 June will be feeling the pressure of an impending treasury audit about now. If you are not 100% sure that you and your treasury team are audit-ready, consider your performance in three key areas: procedures, segregation of duties and institutional treasury knowledge.
Well-documented procedures help with a treasury audit
Clearly documented procedures act as the blueprint for a well-run business. They help to prevent operational inefficiencies and inconsistent performance, as well as keeping staff churn to a minimum.
“When people have clear global processes to follow, it tends to create a calm, productive workplace,” commented Lesley Mitchell, executive director and Board member of treasury outsourcing service provider, ETOS. “Few people enjoy working in a reactive environment. Good procedures provide direction and confidence throughout the business from the management to the Board.”
“Often companies only realise the true value of well-documented procedures once they’ve had a bumpy ride during an audit or when they are scrambling to cover a key member of staff who has left unexpectedly. It’s much better to mitigate operational risk by capturing process detail before there’s a problem.”
It’s never too late to start. If you’d like some help, ETOS, with its vast experience can strengthen your controls through practice and effective procedures and help you to get in shape before the auditor comes knocking.
Key man risk and segregation of duties
Key man risk often moves quickly into focus when staff members leave, but this risk should also be a central focus pre-audit. If a large proportion of your treasury knowledge is held by one individual, critical internal controls could be missing, leaving your organisation open to human error and fraud.
One way of introducing clear segregation is to outsource the operational side of your treasury workload. ETOS performs this service for a wide range of clients. Our services is completely independent and our team has the critical mass to completely segregate middle and back office duties. Leaving senior treasurers to focus their attention to company risk management and strategy.
How aware is your team?
We understand that treasury teams are often shared resources with accounts or other business units. Even so, it is still critical that team members have the specialist knowledge to understand the whole picture behind what they’re doing versus simply knowing which actions to take. If your team lacks product understanding (e.g. the key components of an (Interest Rate Swap) they could fail to appreciate the downstream implications of any errors introduced into your TMS.
There needs to be a common understanding of the operational side of the treasury systems used within your business across the treasury team. Training and knowledge transfer are critical. Good systems knowledge within the team also adds clarity and integrity to day-to-day operations, so training is often a win/win. When it comes to audits, the buck stops with the CFO. Having a strong, well-trained operational team will help to prevent any serious audit points against the business.
How ETOS can help
If you’re concerned about your upcoming audit from a control, procedural, people or system perspective, the ETOS team can carry out a quick-fire review of your key systems and information. This will help to trouble shoot and keep your business one step ahead of any major issues.
The ETOS team can also review and document procedures, provide TMS expertise and staff training and supply outsourced, best practice segregation in a way that works within your business constraints. With the key areas covered, you’ll find it easier to relax during the audit season.
If you’d like discuss ways of tightening up your operational procedures, segregation of duties or filling in gaps in your team’s treasury knowledge, feel free to email me and we can set up a time to talk.