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As Risks Continue to Abound, Many Plan to Strengthen Internal Controls

NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2020—Only 5.8% of respondents report a decrease in the size and frequency of risks that their organizations’ internal controls programs faced during the past year, according to a new Deloitte poll. When asked if their organizations plan to strengthen resilience for internal controls in the year ahead, over three-quarters said “yes” (77.6%).

“Focusing too many resources on ‘firefighting’ is not a sustainable approach to risk management,” said Trina Huelsman, a Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory accounting and internal controls practice leader and partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Instead, leading organizations are shifting to a more resilient posture that balances monitoring and management of short-term risks with a longer-term, tech-enabled approach to proactively identify emerging risks and get ahead of key strategic business and IT initiatives.”

Just 22.1% of respondents report that their organizations leverage advanced technologies — like, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and analytics and visualization — within their internal controls programs.

“As organizations sprint to digitally transform nearly all aspects of their businesses to manage disruption, internal controls programs should not be left out of modernization efforts,” said Stuart Rubin, a Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory managing director and controls advisory leader, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Advanced technologies can help shift internal controls programs away from a lookback-focus to a near real-time dashboarding and visualization approach that’s both packed with insights and sustainable, thanks to automation-based design and cutting-edge capabilities like AI and advanced analytics.”

Within the next six months, poll respondents expect their top internal controls program challenges to include staffing changes and the virtual work environment (26.9%) and third-party risks (22.2%). Looking ahead 12 months, current limitations in respondents’ organizational technology stacks were noted as the greatest challenge for 51.3% of respondents. They highlighted slow adoption of newer technologies (21.3%), the need for new or upgraded ERP systems and speed of cloud migration (10.5%) as top challenges.

“Too often, we see organizations miss the opportunity during a major ERP system upgrade to evolve their current internal control program routines and modernize as part of the larger organizational transformation. Legacy controls are routinely lifted and shifted into the new ERP, resulting in an organization with digital at the forefront of operations, but with an internal controls program that simply does not leverage the technological or digital capabilities to improve efficiency and programmatic quality. If your organization is investing in its ERP system, make sure internal controls are updated as well,” concluded Rubin.

About the online poll

More than 265 professionals were polled online during a Deloitte webcast titled, “Resilience meets controls modernization and digitization,” on Oct. 13, 2020. Answer rates differed by question.

About Deloitte

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 7,000 private companies. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Now celebrating 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 330,000 people worldwide connect for impact at

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Media contacts:

Shelley Pfaendler
Public Relations 
Deloitte Services LP
+1 212 492 4484

Taylor Graham
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 410 576 6707

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