Risk & Strategy
Kaelyn Barron Image
Kaelyn Barron
Senior Specialist

The trends and technologies shaping GRC in APAC: Highlights from Diligent Connections 2023

November 8, 2023
0 min read
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Today’s APAC leaders are dealing with more than those before: more risk, more regulations, more complex markets and more internal challenges. Navigating governance, risk, compliance (GRC) and ESG requirements is, therefore, more important than ever.

To meet these challenges head-on, 600 leaders from across APAC attended Diligent Connections 2023 events in Manila, Singapore and Sydney, ready to learn from one another and engage on the latest GRC trends, technology and thought leadership shared across a number of panel sessions, fireside chats and hands-on workshops.

Explore some of the key takeaways below.

Governing in today’s fast-moving business landscape

Scaling governance entails risks. Operating locally and across international borders opens up issues ranging from data privacy, regulatory compliance, board oversight and risk management. With more liability placed on directors, a bad or ill-informed decision can not only be professionally costly, but also personally. At Diligent Connections, the three clear takeaways for governance professionals were:

  1. Education is imperative: As governance demands grow, education is critical to maintaining effective oversight and making well-informed decisions. Attendees were encouraged to continue their education by joining industry associations, interacting at events and signing up for formal accreditation and certification programs in topics such as cyber risk and climate leadership.
  2. Technology is a necessity: A well-planned GRC strategy needs cutting-edge technologies to mitigate risk and compliance challenges and lead effectively from the top. Moreover, organisations need to not simply adopt technology, but adopt solutions that address their teams’ immediate needs while adding value to the business as a whole.
  3. Not all data, just what matters: As organisations adopt greater digital transformation, data abundance transitions from a benefit to a burden. Presenting too much data distracts; presenting not enough leaves room for risk. Board and leadership teams today need access to the right level of information in the right context, and to be dispensed at more frequent intervals to drive agile and effective decision making.

Maintaining your mission and your margin

Globally, the market is seeing a full-scale ESG integration into the heart of business strategy. Four out of five institutions invest in ESG due to its risk mitigation and long-term value creation potential. Governments and regulators, on the other hand, are mandating ESG reporting and disclosure to address climate change and meet decarbonisation goals.

Diligent Connections addressed how organisations can prepare for these trends, highlighting:

  • Advocating internally: Sustainability leaders must assume a proactive role in addressing climate risks, as few other individuals within their organisation are focused on building and maintaining resilience.
  • Prioritising ESG data: With greater demands from regulators, investors and the broader market to back sustainability claims with defensible data, ensure your organisation is on top of ESG data management.
  • Acting with urgency: Despite growing demands, organisations in APAC are still relatively immature on ESG. The risk of inaction is growing and organisations need to take proactive steps towards creating transparency, accountability and defensibility in their ESG strategy.

Leveraging GRC technology for internal audit, risk management and compliance

The role and significance of internal auditors have markedly expanded in recent years, reflecting their increasingly pivotal position in safeguarding organisational integrity and compliance. With audit scope and demands growing – and so too workload – optimising the auditing process is necessary for businesses looking to manage assurance while demanding effective results in a resource-constrained environment.

  1. Data collection doesn’t need to be complex: Technology can streamline one of the most time-consuming and complex areas of audit management. Internal audit software that integrates and automates data collection can save overburdened audit teams endless hours.
  2. Consistency is key to clarity: Ill-formatted audit report templates, inconsistent sampling methodology, disparate audit reporting, incomplete evidence consolidating — these all increase workload and decrease efficiency. Centralising and streamlining workflows through technology not only drives efficiency, but also improves audit quality.
  3. Insights, not just issues: As internal auditors rise in the ranks to become more strategic business leaders, their reports need to do more than highlight issues — they need to elevate insights for critical business decisions. Vincent Verlinde, Head of Risk and Assurance, Daikin Australia and Diligent Internal Audit & ACL user, highlighted how his team was able to provide vital insight on the potential rising threat of fraud, all originating from a few missing toilet rolls.

Over but not forgotten

Valuable insights, practical tips and strategies will continue to help professionals navigate the complex world of governance, risk, audit, compliance and ESG in the coming years.

While over for 2023, Diligent Connections will return and provide another opportunity for APAC leaders to learn, connect with industry leaders and peers and gain an exclusive look at Diligent’s vision and roadmap.


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