Making compliance and internal audit a winning doubles team

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In many organizations, the second and third lines of defense struggle to work as a team—either unintentionally or under the false notion that independence standards require complete separation. In these situations, compliance and internal audit can be like a doubles tennis team trying to return shots without communicating before or during the game. This would be a disaster on the tennis court, with players going for the same shots or missing others completely. The same is true in business. Without close collaboration, risks and opportunities either will be overmanaged or will slip through the cracks between the lines of defense. It is possible, however, for companies to shore up communication and coordination between compliance and internal audit, so they play as an effective doubles team.

If an organization is less mature or in initial high-growth stages and going public, it might not yet have dedicated compliance and internal audit teams, or it might have the dreaded “department of one.” In these situations, sharing knowledge between limited resources is even more crucial. They also can advocate for each other as they ask for the necessary resources.

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