KPMG’s Director Roundtable Series, sponsored by the KPMG Board Leadership Center and designed for board members and senior executives explored how the board can influence, monitor, and assess data and analytics (D&A).
As the size and variety of data sets proliferate, board oversight of the risks and opportunities associated with the use of data becomes more critical. Beyond the technical hurdles posed by this explosive growth in data—how it is collected, analyzed, stored, and secured—boards need to understand data strategy while taking the necessary precautions to protect companies, employees, customers, and others. Audit committees—given focus on compliance and, often, data privacy—can be a catalyst for bringing D&A into the conversion.
Board directors and C-level executives
Among the key considerations for audit committees and the full board, the roundtable discussed:
-What data is collected, how is it processed, how is it used for business purposes, how do risks escalate when it is used, and what controls are in place?
-How can D&A help drive operations and strategy?
-How does a data ethics policy protect brand reputation and reduce legal risks?
-How is data properly secured and protected? What other risks does the use of (or failure to use) D&A pose?
-How does the use of customer data align with customer expectations?
-Who in senior management is accountable for making decisions about data and the associated risks?
The roundtable discussion elicited practical ways for the board to assess corporate D&A, including:
-How will management govern this transformation in terms of cost, equity, talent, controls, etc.?
-What resources are available to your external auditor? During our recent quarterly Webcast, 45 percent of directors and C-level executives surveyed cited auditor skills and resources as the greatest challenge to integrating D&A into the audit.
-How can IT organizations work with the external auditor to streamline the data capture process? And how can external auditors gain access to data while maintaining data security?
The roundtable discussions also included an update on the financial reporting implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.