#WorkWeDo — Testing Controls and Taking Off

Work We Do --Image 2

Protiviti perspective provided by Stephanie, New York Senior Consultant

Over the next few weeks, we are highlighting examples of the work we do here at Protiviti.  These stories showcase the variety of projects that our people team together on to deliver meaningful results for our clients — and also to learn something of value in the process.

Next up in our #WorkWeDo series, Erin, a Consultant in Dallas, shares how her work has helped a client in the airline industry to manage its compliance efforts, and at the same time enabled her own career to take off.

Protiviti Career:  What was the situation?

Erin:  “Protiviti has been the outsourced Internal Audit department for a large airline client for over a decade. As such, we are responsible for performing a number of project workstreams including Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance.”

PC:  What was our team tasked with doing?

Erin:  “Each year, we work with the business to test SOX controls to ensure they are operating effectively.”

PC:  What actions did we take as part of this work?

Erin:  “Working as the client’s internal audit function, Protiviti performs all IT SOX compliance work. We are responsible for testing all IT General Controls and Interface Controls and creating workpapers and test sheets.”

PC:  What was the result?

Erin:  “By testing the client’s SOX controls and ensuring they are compliant, we are able to provide management with information regarding the accuracy of their financial reports to help prevent fraud.

For me personally, as a result of this work, I have established an understanding of the airline industry and the IT controls that keep our client’s financial reports accurate. I have been able to develop strong, professional relationships and have contributed more than I could have imagined only a year out of college.”

Thanks for the insights, Erin!  Stay tuned for more glimpses into real client engagements that articulate the #WorkWeDo in the weeks ahead!

#WorkWeDo — Creating Global Efficiencies

Colourful evening at Gardens by the Bay

Protiviti perspective provided by Krishnan, Sydney Associate Director

Over the next few weeks, we will highlight examples of the work we do here at Protiviti.  These stories showcase the variety of projects that our people team together on to deliver meaningful results for our clients — and also to learn something of value in the process.

First up in our #WorkWeDo series, David, a Consultant in Chicago, shares a story about creating efficiencies on a global scale.

Protiviti Career:  What was the situation?

David:  “A fortune 500 global distribution company struggled with weak control over their finance and accounting teams in different countries. They had areas of frustratingly inefficient processes, unclear responsibilities, few policies in place (and even fewer followed), and generally had difficulty collaborating.”

PC:  What was our team tasked with doing?

David:  “The company wanted our help to identify how processes are currently performed, understand what the weakest areas were, and develop a plan to smoothly transition towards an improved organization. To do this, we were to create process maps showing what they do and how it could improve. We were also were to create procedure and training documents so that new job responsibilities would be clearly communicated and followed.”

PC:  What actions did we take as part of this work?

David:  “We first held workshops to discuss what each team does, focusing on what is most painful and frustrating for them. With that information we drew the process maps and detailed areas that could productively change. To support the implementation and future adherence, we then wrote supporting training/procedure documents for their processes. Then, after doing this for one country, we repeated these steps in other countries in the region, using the first one as a baseline.”

PC:  What was the result?

David:  “The client saw a more streamlined and smoothly operating organization. Since we were aligning the processes in different offices in the same region, it started to become much easier for them to all communicate and collaborate. The client’s headquarters in the U.S. also had a better understanding of the foreign region’s work, and was better prepared to support them.

Additionally, this project exposed our team to what multinational collaboration looks like. The goal was not to bring 100% standardization between different countries, but to allow for management to have an easier time controlling and supporting the teams across the globe.”

Thanks for the insights, David, and great job team!  Stay tuned for more glimpses into real client engagements that articulate the #WorkWeDo in the weeks ahead!

#ProtivitiWomenInFSI – Meet Natalie

Tomorrow is American Banker’s 15th annual “The Most Powerful Women in Banking” awards dinner.  We have been counting down the days to this event by spotlighting various #ProtivitiWomenInFSI. This series will feature a variety of women, from diverse backgrounds and career perspectives. While their stories are all unique, the one thing they have in common is that they work closely with Protiviti’s financial services clients. Our final spotlight in the series is Natalie!

Bio photo

Natalie is a Manager in our Risk and Compliance solution in London.

  • What was your path to Protiviti? “I started as a senior consultant in early 2015. Prior to joining Protiviti, I worked with Robert Half as a contractor on a project related to anti-money laundering compliance (in Fort Lauderdale, FL) which was in fact managed by a Protiviti team! Before contracting, I was an AML Compliance Analyst at Citibank and a Lead Customer Service Representative for Fifth Third Bank.”
  • What is one of your most memorable FSI projects? “One of my most memorable FSI projects was for a client based out of Los Angeles, California. We were working on an anti-money laundering (AML) investigations review and also developed an AML training program for our consultants and seniors on the project. The engagement lasted about 6 months and I traveled to our offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Charlotte. I worked closely with every level, from consultants to managing directors, and learned the difficulties of managing large scale projects, keeping open communication, and understanding each audience has a different perspective.”
  • What has been the biggest challenge you have faced working in the financial services industry? “I think the biggest challenge I have faced working in the financial services industry is that some clients are already in very tough situations with regulators. Sometimes they think that just doing what the regulator says will clear up their problems, but in reality, regulators may only hone in on certain pieces of the issue. When we go to help clients, it’s challenging (and rewarding) to help them see the bigger picture. Winning work is part of the reward, but I love to see a client’s ‘aha!’ moment.”
  • What advice would you give to both current and future women in banking to face the future with confidence? “Ask the right questions, go to conferences, attend webinars, contribute to whitepapers, and make a true effort to be present when people expect you to be. Your attitude towards opportunities and experiences where you are challenged will make all the difference.”
Reykjadalur-iceland

Natalie is pictured above hiking 3km up to the Reykjadalur springs in Iceland.

 

#ProtivitiWomenInFSI – Meet Catherine

As we count down the days until American Banker’s 15th annual “The Most Powerful Women in Banking” awards dinner, we also continue to spotlight different #ProtivitiWomenInFSI. This series will feature a variety of women with diverse backgrounds and career perspectives. While their stories are all unique, the one thing they have in common is that they work closely with Protiviti’s financial services clients. Next up in the series is Catherine!

Catherine Graf Picture

Catherine is an Associate Director in our Internal Audit Financial Advisory solution in Atlanta

  • What was your path to Protiviti? “I started my career in public accounting working for KPMG in Buffalo, NY.  My clients were primarily financial institutions in the Western New York area.  After 5 years, I decided to shift gears a bit and join M&T Bank’s internal audit department. As the Internal Audit Manager, I audited accounting policy and corporate reporting, commercial credit risk management, anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance.  After 5 years, my husband and I moved to Houston, TX for his medical residency.  I first learned about Protiviti by speaking to a colleague from the bank.  He had a great experience and recommended it to me, so I joined Protiviti office in 2014.  I can’t believe it has been over three years!”
  • What is one of your most memorable FSI projects? “My most memorable Financial Services Industry project was an external quality assessment (EQA) for a large insurance company. Protiviti had been chosen as the firm to execute this project just prior to the internal audit department getting a new Chief Audit Executive.  Our first kick-off meeting for the project included the new CAE, and he told us that if the decision was up to him, Protiviti wouldn’t have been his first choice. He felt we were stronger in risk management and compliance than internal audit.  I knew from that day on, that we would have to work extra hard to change the CAE’s impression of Protiviti.  We spent a lot of time during the project building and nurturing our relationship with the CAE and his direct reports.  We wanted to make sure the final report we delivered was exactly what they were looking for. In addition to the standard EQA report we issue to assess the company’s compliance with IIA standards, we also issued a 60-page report filled with commentary on internal audit’s current practices in comparison to leading practices of other large financial institutions.  The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, especially from the CAE.  They were surprised at how much we learned about their internal audit shop in just a few short weeks.  The CAE invited us to a dinner with his direct reports shortly thereafter.  At the dinner, the CAE presented each member of our team an award of excellence.  We truly went above and beyond in meeting the client’s needs and it was incredibly rewarding.”
  • What excites you the most about your work in the financial services industry? “What excites me the most is the variety of work we do. While I was at KPMG, I was able to audit different financial institutions, but the financial statement work was generally the same.  Similar situation at M&T.  I was able to do different internal audits across the bank, but the internal audit work was generally the same.  At Protiviti every project is different.  Since joining Protiviti, I led a first year SOX compliance project at a small community bank, designed an internal audit policy and procedure manual for a small community bank, assisted in designing the internal audit risk assessment methodology and documenting related policies, procedures and templates for a large consumer credit financial institution, performed several mortgage default servicing audits for a top 10 U.S. bank, led the execution of several anti-money laundering compliance audits at mid-size and large financial institutions, performed several external quality assessments of several large financial institutions, and the list goes on.  Currently, I am leveraging my project management skills to help manage the portfolio of strategic initiatives for the internal audit professional practices group of a global bank.  I truly enjoy the variety and learn so much on each project that I can use on subsequent projects and also in discussions with new clients.”
  • What has been the biggest challenge you have faced working in the financial services industry? “The biggest challenge I have faced by far is personal, and that is becoming a new mom.  My beautiful baby girl Ellie was born in August 2016.  Like most new moms, it was very difficult for me for the first few months adapting to a life where I had to juggle both a career and motherhood.  Before having Ellie, I was used to traveling quite a bit to the financial services hub cities – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.  Given my husband’s busy residency, my ability to travel is restricted.  Luckily, Protiviti has a very supportive work environment for new moms.  The management team, and the FSI team more broadly, helped me continue to build my network locally in order to get more local work and also put me on projects where I could work on remotely.  Protiviti is truly a great place to work.  Protiviti’s culture is nurturing and one where they want to see everyone succeed in their careers and their life in general.”
Catherine Graf - Pic of Family

Pictured above is Catherine with husband Daniel, and daughter, Ellie

#ProtivitiWomenInFSI – Meet Shelly

As we count down the days until American Banker’s 15th annual “The Most Powerful Women in Banking” awards dinner, we also continue to spotlight different #ProtivitiWomenInFSI. This series will feature a variety of women, from diverse backgrounds and career perspectives. While their stories are all unique, the one thing they have in common is that they work closely with Protiviti’s financial services clients. Next up in the series is Shelly!

Shelly_Professional

Shelly is a Senior Manager in our Risk and Compliance solution in Sydney.

  • What was your path to Protiviti? “I started with Protiviti as an intern in 2008. After my internship, I worked on a part time basis while I completed by MBA at the University of Central Florida. After finishing my MBA, I joined on a full time basis and haven’t looked back since!”
  • What excites you the most about your work in the financial services industry? “The amount of change in the industry. Given the pace of regulation and a very innovative product market, change is inevitable and happening at a quicker pace every day. With change comes opportunity from the consulting perspective because of the type of work we do but also from a personal perspective through constant learning and growth.”
  • What has been the biggest challenge you have faced working in the financial services industry? “The amount of change in the industry. While this excites me the most, it is also one of the most challenging parts of our jobs. Outside of keeping up with all the regulatory changes, implementing change requires changing the hearts and minds of the people within an organization. This can be challenging in large organizations due to the sheer scale and in smaller organizations where legacy systems and process exist.”
  • What advice would you give to both current and future women in financial services to face the future with confidence? “Don’t apologize for being yourself. As in don’t apologize for having an opinion or speaking up on a particular issue. Be bold, be meaningful and own it.”
Shelly_Kotor Bay

Pictured above, Shelly is in Kotor Bay, Montenegro. She said “the infamous road has 25 hairpin turns and is noted as one of the most dangerous roads in the world”. 

 

#ProtivitiWomenInFSI – Meet Jordan

As we count down the days until American Banker’s 15th annual “The Most Powerful Women in Banking” awards dinner, we also continue to spotlight different #ProtivitiWomenInFSI. This series will feature a variety of women, from diverse backgrounds and career perspectives. While their stories are all unique, the one thing they have in common is that they work closely with Protiviti’s financial services clients. Next up in the series is Jordan!

Jordan Moss Headshot July 2015

Jordan is a Manager in our Technology Consulting solution in Chicago

  • What was your path to Protiviti? “I started at Protiviti as an intern in 2012. I then joined full-time after completing my masters in Information Systems at Indiana University. I am now located in our Chicago office as a Manager in the Technology Consulting practice. I currently specialize in the Financial Services Industry.”
  • What is one of your most memorable FSI projects? “I would say my most memorable FSI project is also my favorite project because I truly experienced the fluidity and fast pace of the technology world within the Financial Services Industry. It was for a global insurance company and started out as a simple email migration for about 300 user accounts. However after our first few meetings, I started realizing the client was expecting much more than just the email migration. It turned out that the client’s end goal was to migrate an entire legacy data center all while they had 4-6 other migrations/ upgrades running simultaneously. To top it off, all of it needed to be strategically coordinated with one another. My role was then morphed into managing the coordination across the various migrations/upgrades, developing the migration strategy and schedules, and managing the migration and end user support teams. The timeline for the project expanded from 3 months to 2 years!”
  • What excites you the most about your work in the financial services industry? “The Financial Services Industry definitely keeps me on my toes as there are always new trends, regulations, and requirements that our clients have to stay up to date on and comply with. This means we are always learning and developing new solutions to provide in response to these changes. I find that this constant innovation is the part of my job that is fun and exciting for me.”
  • What is advice would you give to both current and future women in Financial Services to face the future with confidence? “There are two things that are key to remember.
    1). Don’t listen to stereotypes or be discouraged by them. Being a woman isn’t a weakness. In fact it is a strength! Ultimately it comes down to being prepared and having the confidence to be a part of the conversation. It’s not enough to just have a seat at the table. You have to participate and make valuable contributions to the conversation such as drawing conclusions and making decisions versus just stating the facts and letting others draw the conclusions and make the decisions for you.
    2). Don’t be afraid to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. If you are passionate about it, you can do anything!
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Jordan took her own advice and tried something new this past birthday – skydiving!

 

 

#ProtivitiWomenInFSI – Meet Liz

As we count down the days until American Banker’s 15th annual “The Most Powerful Women in Banking” awards dinner, we also continue to spotlight different #ProtivitiWomenInFSI. This series will feature a variety of women, from diverse backgrounds and career perspectives. While their stories are all unique, the one thing they have in common is that they work closely with Protiviti’s financial services clients. Next up in the series is Liz!

Liz Berger

Liz is a Senior Manager in our Internal Audit Financial Advisory solution in New York City.

  • What was your path to Protiviti? “I’ve had an exciting journey to Protiviti. I started my career in external audit at a Big Four Accounting Firm, moved over to forensics consulting, then after that into internal audit. Now I’m a Senior Manager at Protiviti in the Internal Audit and Financial Advisory solution focusing on work in the financial services industry.
  • What excites you the most about your work in the financial services industry? “There is always something to learn; whether it be a new regulation, new technology, emerging risk, etc. Staying up to speed on everything is very challenging, but more than that, helping financial institutions navigate through this constant change is very rewarding. Having clients ask for my opinion is motivating.”
  • Who has played a critical role in the development of your career? “My family, friends, and many mentors and sponsors over the years. They have been amazing supporters and challengers that have always been there for me.”
  • What advice would you give to both current and future women in banking to face the future with confidence? “There are many pieces of advice I would give but I think these three quotes sum up most it:”
    1. “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says IM POSSIBLE!” – Audrey Hepburn
    2. “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn
    3. “If you actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
TMB silohette

Pictured above, Liz is at Mont Blanc on Day 1 of an 11 day journey through France, Italy and Switzerland.