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Soft Controls

Soft Controls

KPMG’s Soft Controls team helps organisations understand, identify, measure and monitor organisational culture.

KPMG’s Soft Controls team helps organisations understand culture.

Culture – taking an internal audit lens

Culture impacts the appetite for change, innovation, and risk awareness. It is an essential element required to drive sustained organisational growth and performance. It is also a breeding ground for errors, irregularities, and compliance incidents. Culture and relating factors that influence attitudes and behaviours (so called ‘soft controls’) is fundamental in understanding what is really happening within an organisation. It is the topic of much boardroom debate, the subject of daily news headlines and top of the ‘watch’ list for regulators.

Despite the growing need to draw attention to an organisation’s culture, culture is often not considered as part of internal or external audit. Culture is being perceived as an abstract, complex and intangible thing, which results in auditors struggling with questions around how to measure, investigate and report on culture.

Internal Audit has a critical role to play in understanding and reporting on the human factors that impact on the processes, risks and controls in an organisation.

Reporting on culture

KPMG Internal Audit can help to improve the internal audit quality by incorporating soft controls in your internal audit approach and reporting on soft controls findings and recommendations. We do this by using a mixture of auditing techniques such as interviews, observations, surveys, data and documents analysis, as well as a mixture of experts having a diverse educational background, for example psychology, sociology and business studies. Our internal audit reports are fact-based, specific and future oriented.

KPMG’s model

KPMG has developed a model that helps to understand, identify, measure and monitor organisational culture, behaviour and its impact on the controls environment. The models consists of eight elements that have a real or potential impact on behaviour. The elements include:

  • clarity
  • role modelling
  • commitment
  • achievability
  • transparency
  • discussability
  • call someone to account, and 
  • enforcement.

Our model gives organisations a valid tool for getting a clear picture of the current organisational situation, confront it, and break through the silence and passivity.

Learn more about KPMG's Soft Controls Model.

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