To use a phrase that is already in danger of becoming overworked, under the “new normal” the control environment will be different. Boards – especially audit (and risk) committees – face new demands and hazards as they make sure that effective risk management and controls remain in place. The control environment might have been satisfactorily solid before, but that was then. Now you are likely to have a situation where auditors cannot work as before, risk managers are distanced from operations and travel constraints (to the office, never mind to more distant operations) mean that doing the “smell test” and seeing what’s happening on the ground just isn’t possible in the same way.
So what should boards and committees do in response? It will mean knowing how things have changed from what worked before, combined with a heavier emphasis on the risk and control culture. So some different questioning and techniques are needed. Here are a few good practices to think through, as well as ones to avoid.
We have also produced a handy checklist containing questions for managers preparing papers for boards working virtually: Download checklist