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Workiva expands KPMG’s ESG offering by adding GRC reporting

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Workiva and KPMG have enhanced their existing working relationship to address multiple aspects of ESG reporting on Workiva’s Wdesk platform which can help simplify and automate ESG disclosures, and ease audit scrutiny by adding GRC reporting capabilities.

  • KPMG and Workiva have broadened their alliance to include  environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and risk management.
  • A key feature of Workiva’s Wdesk platform is bringing together financial reporting and ESG disclosures with Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) reporting.
  • The expanded working relationship can add trust and integrity to the ESG data disclosures from companies, by combining KPMG’s risk and compliance management with Wdesk’s ability to automate the ESG gathering and disclosure process, with its GRC reporting capabilities.

GRC (or for governance, risk, and compliance) is an overarching strategy for managing governance, risk management, and compliance with industry and government regulations. The integration of ESG reporting with GRC approaches is another sign that the ESG lens is increasingly mainstreamed into day to day risk management. 

The terms GRC and Principled Performance were coined by the global non-profit organisation Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG).  OCEG’s stated mission is to train individuals and companies on issues relating to governance, strategy, risk, compliance, security and audit, and claims to have over 120,000 members.

The acronym GRC was created by the OCEG to refer to the ability and capacity of individuals and functions within an organisation to work together to achieve Principled Performance.

According to the OCEG, Principled Performance is an approach to business which enables organisations to “reliably achieve their objectives, address uncertainty, and act with integrity”, and is the goal of GRC.

What kind of relationship does KPMG have with Workiva?

KPMG and Workiva Inc. (NYSE:WK) first announced a strategic alliance in 2018 to help organisations combine their risk management, regulatory and financial reporting, and compliance processes on Workiva’s platform, Wdesk.

The alliance combined KPMG’s knowledge gained from working with the risk and compliance functions of organisations, with the cloud-based capabilities for Wdesk.  These capabilities help improve productivity by automating and synchronising data gathering across functions. 

KPMG also helps its clients use cloud based technologies to improve process efficiencies and enhance internal controls. Wdesk’s reaI-time data monitoring capabilities also help with regulatory compliance monitoring and risk assessment.

In February 2023, the two companies announced an enhancement of their relationship to integrate ESG and GRC reporting using Workiva’s platform.

Why does GRC matter and how does technology help?

Setting effective policies can help safeguard corporate processes, transactions and individuals, and are therefore critical to effective governance for every organisation. Properly managed and enforced policies can help guide and define corporate culture.

Given the importance of policies to organisations they need to be structured, managed and monitored effectively, throughout their lifecycle, from authoring and approval, to communication and maintenance. 

According to Workiva, this can be best achieved using technology which helps minimise manual effort and intervention across the policy lifecycle. Using the right technology can help maintain the structure and accountability of audit trails, tasks, workflows, approvals and reporting.

Evolving reporting and disclosure regulation, especially relating to ESG, brings a new type of risk for organisations. Implementing a technology-based solution that provides a collaborative approach to policy management can help keep corporate policies current in a changing environment. 

How does the enhanced relationship affect ESG reporting?

Workiva and KPMG are broadening their partnership by including ESG focused solutions and services. Leveraging Workiva’s platform KPMG will help companies deal with evolving data disclosure requirements, while also providing a way to integrate data financial and non-financial from disparate sources.

Adding Wdesk’s capabilities of including GRC reporting can also help add integrity and trust to the ESG disclosures provided by companies, increasing the likelihood of passing audit scrutiny and making the data ready to present to company boards and investors. 

“We’ve experienced more momentum for sustainability reporting to meet the same rigours as financial reporting.,” said Rob Fisher, ESG Leader, KPMG US, “As a premier implementation partner, we are working with Workiva to help clients go beyond compliance to develop decarbonization strategies that connect data with technology and drive not just reporting but trust.”

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