Four Pressures Facing Accounting Risk and Compliance Teams

Conducting business in an uncertain and changing world has proven challenging for accounting. As these firms continue to build for the future, they face notable issues that can negatively impact growth plans, such as quickly surfacing and addressing independence impairments as the firm expands, increasingly demanding client terms and conditions, preventing conflicts that could affect future business that is more profitable and/or in line with your firm’s strategy, and handling changing global regulations. Making a strategic investment into a digital technology platform that involves new technologies — including AI in accounting risk and compliance software — can help alleviate many of these downward effects so your firm can thrive in this competitive landscape.

Understanding How, as Firms Grow, Risks Increase

As firms increase their client pool, it’s critical to ensure that the correct risk data is stored, updated, and shared with appropriate groups across the firm. Your team must be able to retrieve, ingest, and interpret new client information quickly and accurately to ensure each new client aligns with your firm’s values while also avoiding conflicts or independence impairments with respect to your firm’s current client base and engagements.

Intapp Intapp Risk & Compliance helps you strategically evaluate clients for professional, financial, and strategic risk. This purpose-built accounting risk management software streamlines due diligence and conflicts checks, and assigns a risk score to each client and engagement as part of your firm’s acceptance process. The solution’s Conflicts AI capabilities help your firm focus on the conflicts that pose the most critical issues for your firm while minimizing the noise that makes up a large majority of conflicts search results. With this comprehensive evaluation, you’ll understand your new client’s risk profile, align client selection with firm strategy, and ultimately make business-acceptance decisions quickly and confidently.

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Mitigating Risks with Each Engagement

A client’s structure, ownership, and financial stability can change over time, all of which impacts the client’s profile and your firm’s evolving risk. Your firm must implement numerous measures to ensure that you’re continually monitoring key risk metrics and alerting key players when these changes occur.

Intapp Risk & Compliance includes, within its new-business inception monitoring features, the ability to track changes in many of these areas. Based on third-party data integrations, the software can provide notifications of changes to the corporate family tree, bankruptcy filings, or other critical changes with the client. These types of changes are incredibly important for accounting risk management — firms must always maintain a full understanding of their clients and the corporate entities to which they belong. This monitoring process is vital to a firm’s continuance and independence processes.

The longer your firm’s engagement with a given client, the more likely that client will have needs for services within other areas of the firm, which can cause red flags and lead to major risk factors for independence. It’s imperative to capture these client interactions upstream in a transparent way so that everyone involved understands the situation. Intapp Risk & Compliance can monitor and surface these types of client changes.

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Onboarding New Clients with Better Strategic Alignment

Once you gain visibility into a potential client’s corporate makeup and other risk factors, you then decide whether it strategically aligns with your firm. For example, if your potential client is moving its focus to an industry in which your firm has decided to not do business — despite remaining free of conflicts and independence impairments — you may choose to not onboard this client, given that its industry isn’t aligned with your firm’s long-term direction.

Intapp Risk & Compliance offers two key ways to support accounting risk and compliance teams when making these types of decisions. First, the platform integrates with the world’s largest third-party data providers to ingest corporate family tree data as well as proprietary and industry-recognized risk scores. These third-party data integrations help you gain insight into your clients’ credit history and inform your acceptance decisions. Second, you can configure the software to assign risk scores based on the entity information submitted during your acceptance process, ensuring that you’re evaluating each prospective engagement based on the metrics your firm deems important.

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Heightening Accounting Compliance with Reporting and Analytics

As all accounting firm leaders know, regulators are continually drafting new rules, regulations, and advisory materials to ensure firms establish systems of quality management. Regulators have specifically stated they’re looking for integrated, holistic approaches to accounting risk management versus stand-alone solutions that address only specific issues. International regulators in the accounting market cite acceptance and continuance as two major components of a firm’s system of quality control. Intapp Risk & Compliance provides the only acceptance and continuance solution specifically designed to play a direct and integral role within an accounting firm’s overall system of quality management. 

In addition to calling for holistic systems, regulators mandate that firm leadership directs this focus on quality management, and that it becomes part of firm culture. By investing in purpose-built accounting risk and compliance software like Intapp Risk & Compliance as part of your quality management program, you’re sending a message throughout your firm — and to your regulators — that you take systemic quality management seriously, and that you’re investing in taking the steps to prove it.  

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Decreasing Risks and Improving Accounting Compliance with Intapp 

In the accounting industry, client conditions change, financial ratings fluctuate, corporate trees grow, and business terms shift. Accounting risk and compliance factors often change as firm strategies evolve and global regulations become more prescriptive and directional.

Technology can alleviate many of these challenges. Intapp Intapp Risk & Compliance helps you thoroughly evaluate new business, onboard clients quickly, manage ongoing risk, and monitor relationships throughout the client lifecycle to support an integrated and risk-managed approach to client and engagement acceptance and continuance.

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Written by:

Jey Purushotham

Practice Group Leader – Risk & Compliance

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