Facing the challenge of Covid-19 restrictions has been an unforgiving test of day-to-day procedures under remote working conditions. Businesses with their financial year ending on 30 June will be feeling additional pressure to sort out any gaps, frailties or risks attached to treasury practices with audits fast approaching.

Key risks exposed by Covid-19, include integrity in controls and processes, access to accurate and timely reporting and treasury team accessibility and productivity under testing conditions.

Market feedback tells us that many businesses have recently been struggling with common pain points such as maintaining segregated controls and expertise in treasury middle and back office functions. This includes operations such as:

  • Procedure documentation
  • Confirmation checking
  • Daily cash reconciliations
  • Electronic banking
  • Treasury board reporting
  • USPP registry
  • Seamless transition to remote working
  • Treasury System maintenance

Given the current environment, auditors may take a closer look at these key risk areas. If your procedures and controls struggled to stand up over the past few weeks, now is the time to act.

Well-documented procedures

Clearly documented procedures act as the blueprint for a well-run business. ETOS has years of experience working with companies to improve procedures or create strong documentation from scratch to meet audit needs and instill better business practices going forwards. These procedures help to prevent operational inefficiencies and smooth out inconsistent performance.

“Good procedures provide direction and confidence throughout the business from the management to the Board,” commented Lesley Mitchell of ETOS. “Often companies only realise their true value when there’s interruption to business as usual or after a bumpy ride during an audit. It’s much better to mitigate operational risk by capturing process detail before there’s a problem.”

Key man risk and segregation of duties

Key man risk should also be a central focus pre-audit, both in turbulent times and under normal business conditions. 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 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. Over the past few weeks, the ETOS team has supported 50+ clients to maintain BAU over the period of unprecedented disruption.

How ETOS can help

If you are concerned about your upcoming audit from a control, procedural, people or system perspective, the ETOS team can carry out a remote quick-fire review of your key systems and information. This will help to troubleshoot and keep your business one step ahead of any major issues. We have been successfully implementing this process remotely with clients within a matter of days.

The ETOS team is agile enough to review and document current procedures, provide TMS expertise and staff training and supply outsourced best practice segregation in a way that works within your business constraints. With these key areas covered, you can be confident that everything is in shape before the auditor comes knocking.

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