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For a consumer goods company, Controls are a thing of beauty.

When you are one of the largest beauty and consumer goods companies in the world – winning and delivering in markets while managing risks and being compliant with regulations is a constant challenge.

Controls help them do just that. Controls are the lifeblood of a company. Whether it’s how your data is backed up, how suppliers are identified and paid, or how expenses are approved, those Controls can be difficult to implement and maintain when your company is in constant flux or acquiring new companies who have different or less mature Controls environments or finance systems. The company was already very-forward thinking in its approach to a Controls program. However, with a range of beauty, well-being and personal care; food, home care and other products – plus the acquisition of 20 new companies over the last five years – the task at hand was becoming more and more complex. It found that its various businesses were working in silos and that what it was actually creating were piecemeal frameworks, technologies and approaches which solved or answered the current risks or regulations, but didn’t give it a centralised risk overview for it to monitor its Controls more effectively.

Partnering with Deloitte, the company sought to move to the Future of Controls: creating an integrated controls framework, bringing greater efficiency and automation. Before embarking on the journey, senior leadership and other stakeholders at the organisation needed to see the value of it, and why the status quo wouldn’t serve the business well over the long-term. Deloitte helped them build a case for change identifying the opportunities for positive change. Clear success criteria were outlined for the programme based on goals the organisation wanted to achieve.

With leadership bought in, the team set clear design principles for the controls framework and operating model. The team rolled out a pilot which proved a huge success. It exceeded the success criteria set for the programme: 70%+ control activities were identified for automation, more than 30% of the controls were rationalised / streamlined and it created opportunities to reduce the effort per control by more than 20%. A big focus of the programme is to foster a positive controls culture – clearly and consistently communicating the ‘why’ behind controls to illustrate how they benefit the business and its people alike.

“We’ve built a culture around helping people,” the company’s risk and controls director said, “and we show how controls tie into that. Plus, we make it fun.” “The business considers risk and controls in every project they do,” said Lindsay Ashton, Senior Manager at Deloitte. “We worked together to take an area that can be overlooked and built it into their culture to make the topic more exciting and relatable.”

“We’ve built a culture around helping people,” the company’s Risk and Controls Director said, “and we show how Controls tie into that. Plus, we make it fun.”

The journey continues, but the successful pilot projects have allowed business to believe in the programme and helped to reaffirm senior management commitment for the programme. “Achieving these success factors is great for our business,” the risk and controls director said. “And importantly, the improvements will make a fundamental difference to the people operating the controls and implementing the frameworks. Our goal is to make their lives easier with simpler, effective processes and seamless integrations.”

The risk and controls director urges companies to think beyond the technical aspects of controls and take a more holistic view by considering the people who the controls ultimately affect. “By leaving lines of communication open between risk leaders and those operating the controls, we can solve their problems, achieve business objectives and build a strong, supportive culture all at once.”