3 benefits of delegating control assessments to risk owners

Kaelyn Barron

Internal auditors are busier than ever. In addition to keeping a company’s governance, risk management and compliance processes in check, many audit teams also strive to prove their value by providing strategic insights to the board.

According to the 2023 What Directors Think survey, 66% of respondents indicated that the areas of risk overseen by the audit committee have dramatically expanded, while over a third said that the audit committee’s role now rivals that of the full board in terms of complexity and scope.

And while auditors face a growing list of responsibilities, they must also contend with stagnant or declining resources, among other challenges.  

In order to manage their heavy workloads, many internal audit teams have begun collaborating with first- and second-line business users to assess risks and controls.

But how can this help the business as a whole?

Here, we’ll explore three ways that sharing assessment work can benefit your organization, allowing you to boost efficiency while effectively mitigating risks.

How collaboration between audit teams and control owners can benefit the business

Save valuable time

Delegating assessments to first-line users saves time for auditors, but the benefits of this collaboration extend far beyond the audit team.

Internal auditors are uniquely positioned to pick up key insights across areas of risk, compliance and ESG — insights that can guide the entire business through a tumultuous risk landscape.

By giving more responsibility to first- and second-line users, internal auditors can focus on providing assurance, offering strategic guidance and making sure the business is effectively mitigating risks.

Increase coverage

A single organization could have hundreds of thousands of controls. In most cases, the audit team simply isn’t big enough or lacks sufficient resources to check every control.

Working with first- and second-line users increases coverage by allowing more risks and controls to be assessed in less time.

More coverage means your organization is better protected against risks and able to adapt quickly as new issues emerge.

Provide better assurance

First- and second-line users can typically determine whether a control is working as it should with more speed and confidence than the audit team, since they are the actual risk or control owners.

And as cybersecurity breaches, third-party risk factors and compliance requirements intensify, keeping a tight grip on risk is critical.

Sharing the work not only increases efficiency, but ensures that those who are most familiar with the controls are doing the assessments, leading to greater accuracy and better protection.

The right technology is essential

Audit teams and first-line users can join forces to save time and resources — but only if they have the right tools for the job.

Spreadsheets and old software systems make for time-consuming, manual work, which cancels out any time-saving benefits of working together.

That's why investing in technology that helps auditors and control owners boost productivity is essential. Innovative solutions, like the Assessments App from Diligent, make it easy for auditors and first-line business users to work together and do more with less while mitigating risks.

Learn more by scheduling a demo today.

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Kaelyn Barron
Kaelyn Barron, Senior Specialist at Diligent, has expertise in ESG, environmental law and the intersection of governance with these issues. Her background in international relations allows her to provide unique insights into emerging ESG frameworks and regulations that impact multiple regions.