You know them all, the so-called early warning indicators (red flags) and internal controls that ensure that irregularities are discovered and/or prevented.
Everyone talks about them; only a few take them seriously. There are various reasons for this. You’re not very familiar with the subject, or at some point, more out of obligation than desire, you created these things and then filed them away…
Are you already making use of your helpers?
Let me introduce them: Your own troop of internal strikers and defenders. The strikers become active and sound the alarm when they are challenged. In football, a ball is enough; in your company you need a different trigger. Your defence lines up and makes sure that the ball doesn’t end up in the goal or in front of your opponent’s feet – just like with your internal controls, assuming they have been implemented in the right places. That’s exactly what we’re talking about.
Why strikers and defenders should know who the opponent is.
What happens on a football field when the players don’t know who the opponents are and which goal is theirs? Exactly: an own goal. That’s exactly what happens with early-warning indicators and internal controls. It’s no good having defined them in a general way (cribbed from an excellent textbook), if you haven’t first analysed the situation in your company.