Always‑on risk monitoring

White Paper

By giving companies the ability to inspect 100% of their transactions through an automated process, continuous controls monitoring (CCM) ensures that compliance programs are always on—rather than being periodic, retrospective exercises. As a result, organizations can empower employees to address risks daily, while demonstrating that they are committed to transparency and have a well-defined process in place. The latter becomes especially important if authorities seek evidence of good-faith efforts to prevent illegal activity.

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Continuous compliance

Consider a hypothetical US-based company that has domestic and overseas offices and business dealings with foreign vendors and governments. Using CCM, the company can monitor operations across the organization—from access and configuration controls to master data and transaction controls—to identify which activities and individuals are likely to become problematic and flag them for additional attention.

With CCM, indicators of theft or fraud are immediately flagged for process owners, who can investigate rules put in place to specifically guard against high-risk activities such as round-tripping, unauthorized shipments, inappropriate credits or discounts, and transaction splits. The company can also monitor anomalies in financial statements, so irregularities ranging from capitalization mistakes and intercompany transfers to manual postings and journals get the extra attention they deserve. Transactions that don’t check out can be remediated within the same system.

To help ensure compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, CCM also enables monitoring of activities that often indicate fraud or bribery. Employees can automatically crosscheck vendor and customer master records against records of known suspicious individuals, such as those on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) maintained by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In addition, CCM allows employees to monitor for red-flag activity, like a sudden increase in consulting fees in a country where business is not normally conducted, and to investigate potential fraud by matching sales order line items to lists of sanctioned goods.

In the hypothetical company mentioned above, employees can thoroughly investigate suspicious transactions as they happen, rather than months later, and take steps to address any issues that arise before problems escalate. Investigative tools also allow employees to compile the facts relevant to suspicious business situations, and then escalate issues in accordance with a pre-determined workflow. Dashboards and reports provide transparency and a complete audit trail of any actions taken.

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Control freaks are good for business

CCM solutions help companies make good on the promise of robust internal monitoring and reporting policies, while providing increased visibility and control of transactions across the enterprise. They also provide well-defined communications processes and accountability for the inevitable exceptions and policy violations that arise. The result: companies can account for risk on a daily basis and foster a culture of compliance.

A robust continuous monitoring solution allows companies to minimize the risk of noncompliance and security breaches by providing a holistic view of data and user access across multiple business environments. Organizations can save hundreds of hours each audit cycle by replacing laborious preparation activities and sleuthing with audit-ready reports that demonstrate compliance. Automated reviews and documented sign-off also help streamline external audits and cut the cost of compliance. With so much at stake, the ability to monitor 100% of company transactions is no longer a nice-to-have—it has become a business necessity.

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