January 12, 2009, 1:41 PM — The new year promises to be full of regulatory reform, especially financial reform. Itâ€™s a top-tier issue for the incoming Obama administration, and it will almost certainly be embraced by the 111th Congress. So what does that mean for those of us in corporate America? It means that in 2009, we should resolve to comply without complaining.
For years, businesses have focused on automating the regulatory compliance tasks associated with IT GRC rather than automating compliance reporting and other broader business processes. In turn, business-oriented audits drove up organizational costs â€” and complaints â€” without driving up revenues.
Going forward, companies have the opportunity to put financial and other business processes on the front burner, automating them using business-focused GRC applications. These systems take the fiscal sting out of compliance reporting by letting software execute tasks that were previously done by hand.
The systems can also enable the implementation of overall corporate governance policies, letting users follow business trends and anticipate and mitigate risks. In fact, business GRC applications help executive management properly govern the processes and controls that help them run their companies more profitably as well as drive down the costs of compliance.
To be clear, companies shouldnâ€™t abandon their IT GRC efforts in 2009. Segregation of duties, privileged user access, and the like will continue to be important. But companies should resolve to give their business users the GRC applications they need to make progress in cost-effective compliance reporting as well as in risk mitigation and corporate governance.
With regulatory reform clearly on the horizon, companies that resolve to comply without complaint by turning to automation will make themselves more transparent as well as gain the tools they need to compete more effectively in an era of increasing oversight and accountability.