Tag Archives: Governance & Risk Assurance

Risk Hotspots

Just available “Risk hotspots” for the ACCA – as an article and as a podcast (17 minutes).

The number of risk hot spot updates has grown considerably over the years but there are catches with using them and you need to exercise quality control over their use. In this short podcast, James Paterson of Risk & Assurance Insights talks about the background to risk/issue “hot spot” polling, why these surveys are interesting/important, the catches to be aware of, quality control over risk hot spot updates, and specific recommendations for internal auditors. This podcast accompanies an article on the same topic by James.

Listen to the podcast

Covid-19 is having a big effect on internal auditing

..so it is important to go back to basics on reasonable assurance.

ACCA UK’s Internal Audit network panel regularly consults its members on topics that are of particular interest at a given point in time. At the moment, it is recognised that the impact of Covid-19 is having a big effect on internal auditing. We cannot afford gold-plated auditing or controls anymore. Also, we can’t afford to go through the motions of doing assignments that made sense at one point in time when things have changed significantly as a result of Covid-19.

I wrote an article for ACCA that looks at how to manage internal audit assignments from a practical perspective in the current context. Specifically, it looks at the work programmes required in the current environment where lean and agile auditing is increasingly expected. It also considers some fundamental questions about what we mean by reasonable assurance.

You can read it here

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1. CAREER TURNING POINTS 4-Weeks Coaching (Skype or Zoom)
CAREER TURNING-POINTS is designed for those who need a burst of motivation to achieve clearly defined career goals, such as getting that new job, internal promotions, job interviews, improving self-confidence or succeeding in a new role.
Over the course of 2 months, you will receive 4 x 90-minute sessions of private coaching by Skype or Zoom.

2. CAREER STRATEGIES – 4-Months Coaching
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CAREER STRATEGIES is designed for those who want to explore and plan for their career, with the opportunity to focus on 2-3 key goals. Over the course of 4 months, you will receive 8 x 90-minute sessions of private coaching by Skype or Zoom.

Leadership Coaching Packages

1. BUILD A NEW DIRECTION – 4-Months Coaching 
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BUILD A NEW DIRECTION is designed for those who want to enhance their ability to lead, with the opportunity to reflect on their current strengths and areas for improvement and focus on 2-3 key goals. Over the course of 4 months, you will receive 8 x 90-minute sessions of private coaching by Skype or Zoom.

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GAIN MOMENTUM is designed for people who want to achieve personal, professional or business goals, with the opportunity to focus on several key areas. Over the course of 8-months, you will receive 16 fortnightly 90-minute sessions of private coaching by Skype or Zoom.

3. SHARPEN YOUR SAW– 12-Months Monthly Coaching 
(Skype, telephone or face-to-face)
Designed for people who want to SHARPEN THEIR SAW via regular monthly coaching sessions and for best practice reflections and managing challenges and enhancing their current practice. Over the course of 12-months, you will receive 12 monthly 90-minute sessions of private coaching by Skype or Zoom.

Short-term “Hot Topic” Coaching Packages

3-Hours – FOCUS CLEARLY: 1 x 3-Hour Breakthrough Session (Skype or face-to-face)
Designed to explore and FOCUS CLEARLY on a major challenge or goal. This comprises 2 x 90-minute discussions is 100% tailored to you to make a practical break-through.

1-Day – BEST PRACTICES & TAKING STOCK: 2 3-hour sessions, plus a follow-up
Escape from day-to-day pressures to take stock, reflect on best practices and empower yourself. Designed to explore, clarify technical best practice issues and plan for a specific goal, aspiration or challenge.

4 x 90-minute coaching sessions (remote or face to face, depending on location), tailored to you (usually within 2-4 weeks), followed by a 90-minute telephone call one week later. (5 in total).

Package Prices

Prices are charged for 90-minute slots
5% discount available for purchasing > 5 sessions at a time.
10% discount available for purchasing >10 sessions at a time.

For up-to-date prices and more information contact: info@RiskAI.co.uk

Training & development online/ webinars

As we adjust to new ways of working I have been working with my friends in the IIA across Europe to deliver engaging webinars on a range of key topics.

Details of internal audit webinars are as follows:


  • Auditing culture – 9 June
  • Root cause analysis – 10 June
  • Lean and agile audit in the COVID era – 15 June
  • Urgent responses to Covid 19 – 16 June
  • Managing yourself and others in challenging times – 18 June
  • Assurance mapping – 23 June
  • Heads of internal audit – induction masterclass – 24-25 June


  • Assurance over GRC – PM 26th May and AM 27th May
  • Lean and Agile Auditing – PM 27th May and AM 28th May
  • Root Cause Analysis – PM 28th May and AM 29th May

IIA Finland:

  • Auditing Culture – PM 1st June and AM 2nd June
  • Assurance Mapping – PM 11th June and AM 12th June

IIA Norway:

  • Lean and Agile Audit in the Covid Era – PM 2nd June and AM 3rd June
  • Assurance Mapping – PM 3rd June and AM 4th June

Timings for split sessions are as follows:
Morning sessions are 09.00 to 12.15 local time
Afternoon sessions are 13.00 to 16.30 local time

E-mail info@RiskAI.co.uk for more information, including tailored training on other topics.

Hope you can join me…

Corporate Governance Theatre: Risk culture, plausible deniability and wilful blindness

Very pleased to have been asked by the ACCA to write an article on ‘Corporate Governance Theatre: Risk culture, plausible deniability and wilful blindness’.

An overview follows immediately below, after which is a link to the full article on the ACCA’s website.

Background and introduction

My role as a consultant is to work closely with clients on governance, risk, compliance (GRC) and assurance challenges. Our aim is to ensure GRC improvements are genuinely welcomed and used by business managers, alongside risk, compliance and audit professionals; balancing rigour with pragmatism and cultural fit.
Earlier in 2018, I wrote an article on why we continue to get GRC and assurance surprises of some magnitude, despite management assurances and auditor sign offs. My perspective is that too often we have ‘corporate governance theatre’. Things look good in many ways, but – just below the surface – there are ‘hairline cracks’ that are missed by management, boards and even auditors and regulators, until it is too late.

After writing this article, I was happy to be asked by ACCA to write an article on risk culture – including ‘plausible deniability’ and ‘wilful blindness’, which are part of the theatre problem – and here this article:

  • provides an overview of plausible deniability, wilful blindness and associated phenomena
  • how and why these behaviours arise
  • warning signs to watch out for
  • practical steps in the context of GRC to make meaningful progress.

Note that, in my experience, progress is not about implementing new systems (though these may help), but rather by looking at what is currently being done from a different angle, with the objective of ‘getting real’ about the issues, and potential gaps, that matter the most.

Read the full article here

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