Post COVID Controls HealthChecker


Have hybrid working models increased the chances of fraud?

Working from homeToday’s hybrid working models were not the product of measured strategic planning but, often, of desperate triage efforts to swiftly respond to the COVID disaster. Under significant pressure, Management were forced into remote work, to override key controls to keep operations going and rapidly focus narrowly on critical daily risks to maintain business as usual.

Typically, “on the run” control changes were made quickly to procurement, authorisations and approvals, inventory management, IT systems and processes, and general oversight and monitoring.

Working from home has found staff compliance with policies, rules and control requirements may have weakened. Their actions likely to be subject to less scrutiny and monitoring, allowing greater opportunities for fraud.

Our clients are now starting to find transaction anomalies with financial implications.

As we move on from the pandemic, the latest research indicates that hybrid work is here to stay. As such, it’s time to confirm whether your control changes implemented to operate in remote or virtual environments, remain effective to prevent and detect fraud.

The following questions are a good prompt for Boards, Audit Committees and Management to now consider:

  • What were the key messages from management to staff about financial controls and maintaining compliance with policies and procedures?
  • What supports were put in place to assist with remote and virtual working (e.g. financial procedures’ updates, bulletins, specific training, IT resources)?
  • How has management measured and maintained employee engagement (e.g. regular staff surveys, leadership recognition of the difficult working environment, communications and tips on maintaining discipline and motivation)?
  • How well did staff adjust to the new working environment (e.g. ability to move from manual processes to cope with technological changes)?
  • How has management satisfied itself that the new working environment is effective in preventing and detecting control breakdowns or errors?
  • Has an overall risk assessment been undertaken recently to identify new risks stemming from impacts of the Pandemic response and the changing business environment, on achievement of strategic objectives and Business As Usual (BAU) operations?

To help Boards, Audit Committees and Management evaluate the strength of their control framework, the following 20 questions should provide insights on possible risks to your business’ performance and areas for improvement.


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JNW Post COVID Controls HealthChecker

Download our Post COVID Controls HealthChecker PDF here: Download PDF

Reviewing how your organisation rapidly adjusted its control processes in response to the pandemic challenges can provide valuable insights. It’s important that those changes are now robustly evaluated to ensure they remain suitable to the new operating environment where processes rely more on IT and staff operating remotely.

As employers work to manage workplace models with a mix of virtual and on-site, to mitigate the risks of fraud, we have found the focus on culture of compliance requires reinvigoration. This includes updating procedures, retraining staff on expectations and supporting them with tailored systems that are designed with delegations and segregation.

If you have any questions or would like a better understanding on ways to strengthen your control framework, contact Jeff Webb on 0437 539 015 or

Also, please note the change to our email address and website. We are taking advantage of the move to .au. So our new website address is

Don’t forget to check out our Insights pages for more risk reflections.

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