Updated: Aug 14
Assurance is not an activity that compliance does or something that can be inspected into a business. It is an outcome that is created when stakeholders have confidence that an organization is meeting all its obligations today and will continue to be meet them in the future. This confidence is necessary for assurance and ultimately for trust to exist.
That's why confidence levels are an important measure of success for all risk & compliance programs. Improving the level of confidence is therefore an important objective which often involves conducting audits to verify process outputs and validate program outcomes. However, conformance to procedures and processes, as important as that may be, are not enough to provide the necessary confidence for trust to be granted.
Confidence is increased when companies take steps to make certain that promises are kept. This has more to do with improving the probability that the organization is heading in the right direction, operating between the lines, and is making progress towards its mission objectives. The best way that this is demonstrated is by having an operational compliance program to properly contend with obligation and operational risk.
An effective compliance program will ensure that required capabilities and performance exist to meet all obligations today and in the future. These capabilities will include resiliency, sustainability, quality, safety, diversity, or any of the abilities that contend with the risks that matter to the organization. Measuring effectiveness of these capabilities is not something that traditional audit or assurance functions have done. However, this is what is now required to provide confidence that the business has a future.
To improve the outcome of assurance the following questions need to be answered:
What is the level of confidence that your organization will meet all of its obligations?
What capabilities do you need to ensure that you will meet your obligations in the future?
What measures can you take to make certain you can keep all your promises?
What resources do you need to provide the necessary capabilities and measures?
How will you evaluate your progress towards greater levels of assurance?