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The best defence

Audit Committees have a responsibility to look across their company's lines of defence to align risk, control and assurance information.

BY ACCIDENT and by design, human bodies are hard to break into. They are surrounded by defensive walls (the skin, the lining of the intestines) and secured by sentries (the cells and antibodies of the immune system). Yet when one of these lines of defence breaks down, the rest of the body falls quickly into disrepair soon after.

So it is with corporations. Healthy companies would have businesses that run well and investors that are treated fairly. All lines of defences work - the board of directors keep an eye on the executives who handle the day-to-day business decisions, and shareholders get a full accounting of the company's operations and finances.

But lately, companies have come to lean almost...

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