Enterprise Control

Building confidence and securing value through strengthened internal controls

It has never been more important for organisations to have a control environment that provides the confidence to respond with speed and demonstrate resilience. We face more diverse, fast-moving and unpredictable risk than ever before - from climate change, economic uncertainty and societal inequality to cyber threats and systemic global disruption. And the constantly evolving regulatory landscape adds further complexity to grapple with.

Having a right-sized and business-aligned control environment that is data-led helps to provide the panoramic insight and agility needed to face these challenges with confidence. Crucially, it goes beyond traditional compliance-based approaches, allowing organisations to balance the need for transformation and creating new opportunities for growth with providing the assurance to build trust and confidence among stakeholders, investors and customers.

"Enterprise Control allows organisations to look panoramically across the whole system of governance and control. Optimising controls reduces the cost of compliance, improves effectiveness and enables faster and more confident decision making."

Richard BailesNational Leader Governance, Risk and Compliance, PwC UK

Why now is the time to rethink your approach to control

The need for greater resilience

Significant disruption is testing the resilience strategies of business. Geopolitical uncertainty and other unforeseen crises require organisations to have greater agility and control within their organisations as well as across the supply chain.

Regulatory change

The regulatory landscape continues to evolve, adding further complexity and new compliance challenges for organisations across areas such as ESG requirements and audit and corporate governance reform.


The need for organisations to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions, customer behaviour and regulation is driving a faster pace of change.

Stakeholder expectations

Investor decisions increasingly take into account whether the organisation meaningfully contributes to society, through its strategy, values and purpose. This is seen in the importance of ESG and other reported non-financial information and the scrutiny over the assurance in place to ensure quality and accuracy.

What does the future control environment look like?

The traditional control environment has evolved over time, navigating changes in operating model and corporate transactions. This often results in multiple technologies that are not integrated or streamlined and heavy reliance on manual processes and workarounds. A modern internal control environment, by contrast, requires a fundamental shift in thinking, reimagining compliance-based approaches in favour of insight-driven and data-led strategies.

Enterprise Control is about ensuring that the wider system of control, including those over third parties, is future-proofed. It is about aligning controls to the interconnected system of governance, risk management, compliance and assurance so that these work together cohesively.

Enterprise Control Framework

Five key Enterprise Control archetypes

While each organisation will need to adapt its control environment for its unique circumstances, we have identified five examples of control environment archetypes which illustrate where an organisation may be prioritising its controls focus.

Any organisation newly embarking on a control journey. Generally small but fast growing, they may be facing a moment of required maturity such as entering a new market or becoming a more public facing company. They are seeking a licence to operate in their sector or segment which requires them to adhere to external laws and internal rules. Reporting and disclosure is front of mind.

Already has formalised controls but due to increased organisational complexity and the passage of time, they have become unwieldy and inefficient. A key objective is the optimisation of controls to increase efficiency and/or reduce costs.

Has had formalised controls for some time but is primarily concerned that the control environment does not now appropriately address the current and emerging risks facing the organisation. They may have experienced a big failure in controls to address these risks and ensure the system is fit for purpose in the future.

Is in the throes of business transformation and is acutely aware of the additional risk and opportunity this presents. They wish to ensure that future state processes incorporate proportionate control design to avoid this being a significant point of failure or remediation cost further down the line. Transformation provides the opportunity to have a fresh look at the control environment and controls optimisation.

Sees the opportunity for governance and control to provide significant business benefit, through a system that is sensing and predictive and allows them to change direction faster. Instead of looking at each part in isolation, the entire system of governance, risk, control and resilience is considered.

How to achieve Enterprise Control

The main task for leaders is to create a vision for control and how to get there. This includes determining which attributes are most important for delivering the overall objectives of the control programme.

Enterprise Control framework

In an era of continual disruption, with new and emerging risk types, the future control environment must adapt to meet the challenge by providing panoramic insight and agility. One size does not fit all, however there are similar traits or archetypes that are common within organisation.

What next?

This is a journey. Sequencing is key and don’t underestimate the value of establishing an early vision with change points.

Integrate data and technology design into the development – both from the perspective of building better control, but also in terms of the workflow and collaboration tool(s) to run and monitor the control effectiveness cycle.

Remember that none of this can be maintained without the right skills and capacity and that building a ‘controls conscience’ and moral imperative is key to unlocking lasting cultural change.

Contact us if you need help and want to discuss your Enterprise Control journey further.

Contact us

Richard Bailes

Richard Bailes

Workiva Alliance Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7715 034917

Keisha Roderick

Keisha Roderick

Risk Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7712 010676

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