An international risk consulting and audit firm that opened its first Canadian office in Toronto Tuesday is unfazed by competitors firmly entrenched in this field.

Protiviti Inc. managing director Carmen Rossiter, said her firm, which is unconnected

to a traditional auditing firm, has a few advantages over other consultancies. Although some accounting firms in Canada offer similar services, new restrictions on auditors providing advice to clients in a post-Enron regulatory environment make it an ideal time to open up shop, she said.

Analyzing technology-related challenges for companies will be a cornerstone of Protiviti’s practice, which will jibe well with technology playing a big part in today’s pressing issue of the integrity of financial reporting, Rossiter explained.

As part of Sarbanes-Oxley, corporate governance legislation radiating from the U.S., and new Canadian investor confidence measures issued last month, CEOs and CFOs will have to certify their securities filings fairly reflect the financial condition of their organization and the results of operation, she said.

“”Beyond that, there must be a knowledge-based certification that they do have disclosure controls and procedures. A big part of that is the technology that supports it because all those numbers —— all that information —— is derived from some type of technology system, especially for large organizations.””

Among the services and products Protiviti offers is business continuity planning in case of disaster, said Nicholas Benvenuto, managing director of technology risk at Protiviti’s New York office.

“”Most organizations have an IT disaster recovery plan, but they haven’t linked it back usually as well as they would like to their business processes,”” he said. “”We look at the business processes, weigh their risk and their capabilities in terms of resumption. We’ve developed something called a business impact analysis, and use that to guide the technology processes that need to be there to support those businesses.””

Another tool, IT asset management, advises companies on managing IT resources like desktops, server space, network capabilities and data, Benvenuto said. Protiviti also guides customers on one of the most common issues technology and operations professionals encounter —— costly, poorly managed technology projects that fall short of management’s objectives, he added.

Protiviti, which entered the U.S. consulting scene two years ago, has 30 offices, including ones in Tokyo, Paris, London, Singapore and Milan. It has hundreds of clients, including a handful in Canada that the Toronto headquarters said it plans to grow significantly over the next two years.

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