March 2014 newsletter

Welcome to our March newsletter.

This has been an important week in internal audit and corporate governance in this part of the world. 

IIA’s SOPAC conference was held this week, bringing together leading thinkers locally and internationally and driving a flurry of new ideas and research. 

In addition the ASX Corporate Governance Council issued the 3rd edition of its Principles and Recommendations this week. 

I wanted to give our clients and subscribers a few immediate reactions on both events as well as our usual summary of other developments during the March quarter.

SOPAC Highlights

Mecca – The IIA’s South Pacific Audit Conference is one of the top conferences internationally for anyone interested in internal audit. It was great to catch up with some of the international luminaries, leading practitioners and other people who get a kick out of technical stuff and emerging practice in this space. I’ll be sharing our insights with clients and in future newsletters.

Audit & Risk Committee Forum – I was also honoured to be able to provide the closing summary of the inaugural Audit & Risk Committee Forum at SOPAC – a joint initiative of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Institute of Company Directors. The line-up was exceptional and generated practical and insightful ideas. I will be putting together a digest of the Forumfor attendees and clients. If this is of interest to you, please let me know.

Leading practices – I was delighted to hear current and former clients be publicly acknowledged and lauded by some of Australia’s top directors related to some of the work that we’ve done together. Public recognition of our clients is a big goal for us, so it was great to hear that first-hand. In addition it was great to see where some of our former clients have taken some of the ideas we worked on together, and these teams should be publicly recognised in the future. If you are interested in finding out about some of those ideas in the areas of internal audit methodology, reporting and horizon scanning, please let me know.

New research on audit committee expectations – I was fortunate to help lead this year’s study into current audit committee expectations as well as running a number of focus groups. There is a summary paper on IIA’s website, and I’ll also be doing a webinar with the IIA and Protiviti in the coming months. Again if you’re interested in attending this or want a private briefing after reading the paper, let me know.  Click the link for the report.

ASX Corporate Governance Council

It’s definitely been a quarter of humbling roles. I really enjoyed being invited to return to the Corporate Governance Council as one of the IIA’s representatives during the final negotiation of the 3rd edition and to write IIA’s briefing documents for the general public as well as some member-only material.

I’d recommend downloading and reading these. They reflect important information including some of the nuances that didn’t make it into the final version of the Principles and Recommendations, and hopefully give you some inside track on how to move forward quickly and practically. More will be available in the coming weeks.

Again, after reading these documents, if you want a brief, or assistance with gap analysis, disclosures or implementation, please let me know.

Other resources

DCRO – David Koenig of The Governance Fund in the United States has put together an amazing international group of nearly 2,000 Directors and Chief Risk Officers. David’s asked me to lead the group while he’s taking some much deserved time out. If you’re a Director or a CRO of a significant organisation, you should be in this group. Click above for details. (Note there are strict criteria for entry).

Audit Committee Network Australia – I also run a LinkedIn group for Audit and Risk Committee members in this part of the world. It’s a small but impressive group. If this is of interest, then please sign up. Click above for details. (Note there are strict criteria for entry).

Twitter – Twitter isn’t for everyone, but I do share links to interesting research when I see them and also interim news from us. If you’re someone with enough time to keep up with the latest thought pieces, I’m told that my feed is as good a source as any in this part of the world. If Twitter is not for you, get us to brief you on the topics of your choice. Click above for details.

Other things we’ve been doing lately

Resilient Futures – Resilient Futures has just done a major refresh and is doing a soft relaunch. If staying ahead of change is important to you (and it should be), then I look forward to talking to you about our work there. Click above for details.

Audit & Risk Committees – If that wasn’t busy enough… March has been a busy quarter with our Audit and Risk Committees in a changing context for several of our clients. We’re gaining some very useful insights there and will endeavour to share what we can via this newsletter and our other channels listed above. If you’re chairing an Audit or Risk Committee, let’s talk make sure you’re across some of those learnings.

Don’t be alone

Being in an audit, risk or governance role at a senior level is a rewarding but risky thing to do. As Doug Anderson, former CEO of Dow Chemical said at SOPAC “90% of the time things are relatively easy. It’s the 10% of times when we really earn our money.”

In the past week it’s really struck me that there are three things that keep you strong when things get tough in our space:

1. Your family
2. A strong technical foundation and basis for how you react
3. The support and insights of your colleagues and advisors.

In times of a crisis its important to not be isolated or overwhelmed, so if you do find yourself in this position, do call us for quick, authoritative and technically sound responses and practical ways forward.

Of course the best way to stay off the back foot is to get on the front foot during the good times, particularly with your frameworks, methodology, capabilities and approach. This is core business for us and we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Have a great week.

March was a busy but exhilarating quarter for us.  We hope it was for you too. We’ll be taking next week out to catch our breath and look forward to sending our next wrap in June or as important news breaks in the interim.