Working effectively in a turbulent climate

In the current environment we are all actively engaged in social distancing, hand washing, being good neighbours etc., which contributes to the social effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

With most of us now working from home (or rather, our home has become our full-time place of work), there are some actions we can all take to maintain standards and practice during this new normal.

  1. Controls – maintaining a control environment in a disbursed environment

Emails should be required and retained as evidence.  If you are in doubt or spot a weakness reach out to your team, Compliance or Internal Audit contacts. Areas that can be considered are:

a. Segregation of duties;

b. Approvals and authorisations – remember limits; and

c. Key account reconciliations.

  1. Cybercrime and phishing scams are on the up. Keep this in mind and verify the source of unusual or urgent requests received by email or which appear to require circumvention of policy or controls. If in doubt, call the requestor / IT.
  2. When using new video conferencing software ensure due diligence on vendor and security is made, and ensure the same protocols are designed and implemented.
  3. Re-enforce data protection requirements, both commercially sensitive and personal information. Make sure this is appropriately secured at rest (potentially on desktops) and in transit. Use passwords on documents, spreadsheets and encrypt if assessed high risk.
  4. Home workspace – plan to maintain hygiene, maintain as you would your space in the office. Remember, no-one is there to clean and tidy up after you leave. Wipe your keyboard regularly – a notorious source of germs.
  5. At home you feel more safe and secure, but you must maintain the same standards as you would in the outside world. Trust but verify everything. Sometimes picking up the phone is the best way to work quickly and gain assurance.

It seems this new way of working may have long term implications on how business is conducted. Now is an opportunity to make the new normal work for you.

Edward McEntee

Edwards is a Member of Chartered Accountants Ireland Interim Managers