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Strengthening the Internal Control Team at a critical time

Background

FOLLOWING THE DEPARTURE OF AN INTERNAL CONTROLLER DURING A CRITICAL MOMENT, EMERGENCY REINFORCEMENT IS REQUIRED.

In a water distribution and waste management group, the departure of an internal controller from the Belgium-Luxembourg business unit came at a bad time:


- Each business unit in the group must respond to an annual questionnaire (with more than 600 questions) aimed at reviewing the financial processes and cycles of each department.
- The internal control team was already limited from the start, and the departing controller had been the main contact point for department directors, making it urgently necessary to find reinforcements.

- The task was further complicated by the acquisition of a competitor, whose processes and internal controls did not necessarily align with those of the group.

 

An expert appointed by Altesia, Nassim Ghoarfi, joined the internal control team in mid-August, while the questionnaire had to be completed by November 30.

Approach

Nassim had only four days of experience sharing with the departing controller.

 

Therefore, the primary mission was to understand the questionnaire and gather as much information as possible from other members of the internal control team and department directors, by asking questions and ensuring the reliability of the answers. To anticipate potential blockages, the expert made sure to secure all necessary access related to the questionnaire from the IT team.

The expert then played the role of coordinator among the various "process owners" (department heads) to ensure that the questionnaire was properly filled out and accurately represented adherence to procedures across different cycles. Each process owner was responsible for completing the questionnaire related to their own cycle.

Results

Altesia_Nassim Ghorafi

The finalized questionnaire content was validated by the management (CEO and CFO) of the Belgium-Luxembourg business unit before being timely submitted to the group's headquarters.

 

Moreover, while previous years' questionnaires recorded scores in the 80% range, the 2023 questionnaire for the Belux business unit, supervised by Nassim Ghoarfi, approached 100%, demonstrating the reliability of the work accomplished.

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