Assurance on a Major Technological Platform Shift Required to Operate in an Ever Complex Control Environment

Assurance on a Major Technological Platform Shift Required to Operate in an Ever Complex Control Environment

Assurance on technological platform

Change Requested: 
Help to assess the control environment and provide assurance within a tight timeframe
Change Envisioned : 
Effective & complex system that deliver accurate payments with adequate controls in place to enable effective program delivery & payment integrity
Change Delivered: 
Improved internal control environment leading itself to forward momentum of greater system controls

Given the technological challenges faced by the organisation, senior executives of this organise was proactive in recognising the importance of a robust system and control framework to enable successful delivery of complex programs. This commitment allowed Protiviti to partner with senior management and key stakeholders throughout the organisation at every step of the process.

A major Commonwealth department engaged Protiviti to undertake payment integrity assurance reviews on a number of programs that had recently transitioned to a new payment system. At the time, the department’s IT group was required to develop the system within a short timeframe to accommodate new policy and legislation payments. As a result, a number of manual work arounds were put in place until all system requirements were developed.

The department lacked a control framework to address the risks and gaps within the business process. Information to monitor and inform internal and external stakeholders on the administration of the program was inadequate. In addition, as system changes were deployed progressively, staff were not adequately trained in a timely manner. The existing practices resulted in a lack of internal controls and misalignment with compliance requirements, posing a significant risk of external audit findings.

Protiviti’s IT and business process experts performed a current state assessment of the programmes’ end-to-end business processes, identified risks and control gaps, and developed mitigation strategies in consultation with the key stakeholders from IT, finance and business teams. Key controls were identified and recommended to the department, consisting of management information reports as a detective measure, mid to long-term system fixes and enhancements, staff training to address knowledge gaps and an overarching quality assurance framework. In addition, a series of transaction integrity testing were performed on payments made via the new system to monitor the accuracy of payments over the course of the financial year. This quantified the value of errors to support the department’s financial statements.

Over the course of our engagement, Protiviti delivered the following benefits to the client:

  • Internal Controls Enhancement – Identify business process and system controls that enables payments to be accurately calculated and paid.
  • Payment assurance – Provide assurance on payment integrity by independently reviewing samples of payments at pre-determined intervals.
  • Payment reporting – Reconcile payment data across the department’s technological platforms to ensure supporting financial and management information reports are accurate.
  • Improved Reporting – Provided management on a series of management information reports to monitor the performance of the programme and enhance payment accuracy.

As a result of Protiviti’s work, the client was able to improve the accuracy of the payments made, detect process and controls issues associated with payment accuracy, and be able to demonstrate that a significant amount of analysis and controls have been put in place to remedy the manual work arounds and absence of core system functionality since the initial build of the system.