Controls / Process / Risk (CPR)

About Controls / Process / Risk Consulting

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound (or more) of cure.

We start with an understanding of business processes and cycles, and knowing how they should function effectively and efficiently, through design and implementation.

When internal controls become sluggish, fraud can flourish. We assess controls, risks and best practices for these essential business processes and cycles:

  • Financial Reporting, Reconciliation, Analysis
  • Revenue, Receivables, Collections, Cash Inflows
  • Human Resources / Payroll
  • Capital Projects / Fixed Assets
  • Purchasing, Payables, Cash Outflows
  • Production, Inventory

A process-driven approach

To identify risks, the key processes and related controls must be understood. We ask the questions: Who has access to assets? Who makes approval and authorization? How accurately and completely is it all accounted for? What is the effectiveness level of the audit function?

Controls, Process and Risk (CPR) Consulting

At Sawyer & Company, we ascribe to the axiom, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound (or more) of cure.’ While most of our service offerings are ‘reactive’ by their nature, our experts have seen the result and consequence of not taking the right ‘proactive’ approach and course.

In that vein, clients ask us to ‘reverse engineer’ our extensive knowledgebase of results and outcomes from cause / effect relationships, and then help them game plan and design ‘early warning systems’ for prevention, detection and deterrence of waste, abuse, fraud and corruption. We provide proactive solutions for business and operational processes, internal controls and risk avoidance / mitigation.

What We Do

Identify weaknesses.
Provide solutions.

Findings and Impact

As risk consultants and internal auditors for multi-national corporations and governments / government agencies, we identify weaknesses in processes and internal controls, which may lead to corruption, fraud, waste, abuse or inefficiency.


Identifying areas of risk is just the first phase of the engagement. Not only do we identify and evaluate risk areas, but recommend management and control systems that prevent, deter, detect, minimize and mitigate the risk in the future.


Often, governmental organizations may not have the budgetary resources to keep specialized experts on staff. When specialized needs arise, we are there to provide the answer and solution.

Our team of experts provides advisory and consulting services to governmental entities at the local, state and federal level – and provide expert witness testimony when necessary. Our team helps governments navigate the winding path and waters of legal and regulatory compliance, providing best practices, benchmarking and process improvement.

We advise governmental organizations about the effectiveness and efficiency of internal processes and controls. When called upon to do so, we perform governmental investigations or assist law enforcement in doing the same. We also assist governmental units in developing anti-fraud and anti-corruption programs, and the strategy for prevention, detection, deterrence and resolution for waste, abuse, fraud and corruption.

Anti-Fraud / Anti-Corruption

Blending the talents from our controls, process and risk consultants with seasoned forensic accountants and investigators, we provide design, implementation and monitoring for anti-fraud and anti-corruption programs, to comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Whether fraud or corruption is internal (or occupational) or external (non-occupational), the risks, outcomes and consequences can be devastating (and expensive) to an organization, both from a financial and reputational perspective.

On an ‘as needed’ basis, let our team serve as your internal ‘radar’ system, to perform fraud risk assessments, monitoring or investigations, when the unfortunate need arises.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance

We offer comprehensive and customized solutions to organizations facing unprecedented scrutiny and pressure to serve as the first line of defense in the global war on money laundering and terrorist financing.

We help banks, broker-dealers, money transmitters, regulators, insurers, law firms, investors and corporations as their independent and trusted advisors with end-to-end anti-money laundering, sanctions and anti-corruption consulting services.

We blend our expertise and investigative experience with our specialized technology and data services which help root out criminal activity, maintain regulatory compliance, reduce legal and IT costs, protect sensitive materials, quickly find facts, and harness enterprise data to create business value.

Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Compliance

Independent Annual BSA / AML Compliance Review

Our BSA / AML experts perform BSA / AML / OFAC Independent Reviews, consistent with the FFIEC’s BSA / AML Examination Manual, to help ensure the safe and sound operation of community banks.

MSB Portfolio Review

We will help you effectively manage the risk of banking money services businesses. You’ll be able to maintain these profitable relationships and sleep well, knowing that your risk is being managed effectively.

Outside of your own Annual Independent Review for BSA compliance, we can:

  • Perform detailed MSB file reviews.
  • Review system reporting and transaction logs, to help ensure that all MSB’s have been identified.
  • Extend your annual BSA training program outside the bank to one of your potentially high-risk customer groups.
  • Perform documented site reviews of your MSB account relationships.
  • Perform independent reviews of your MSB account relationships.
  • Ensure effective, ongoing management and review of these potentially high risk / high reward customers.

Consulting and Remediation Projects

The company performing your annual independent review is limited in their ability to further assist you through consulting, developing and implementing corrective actions – they must maintain appropriate distance in order to maintain “independence.” And if problems are identified, you may not have sufficient resources or depth to correct problems as quickly as necessary.

Our BSA experts consult with community banks – to prevent or correct BSA deficiencies – and transforming BSA compliance programs by:

  • Performing detailed, meaningful and effective risk assessments
  • Developing tailored BSA / AML Compliance Programs (including OFAC)
  • Providing effective staff training
  • Implementing FinCEN’s BSA e-filing
  • Reviewing and evaluating BSA software solutions
  • Identifying and prioritize CIF record scrubbing.
  • Performing transaction reviews for potentially suspicious activity
  • Reviewing CTR exemption and filing records
  • Reviewing SAR filing quality, ongoing monitoring and refiling decisions
  • Providing developmental coaching and training to new BSA officers and support staff

Transaction / Merger & Acquisition (M&A) Advisory

You and your firm are in acquisition mode and seek a financial due diligence / quality of earnings (“Q of E”) analysis. Or conversely, your firm may be a candidate (or ‘target’) for acquisition. You need advice on value and deal structure and to help you navigate the extensive deal process.

Experts from our team have more than 100 deals under their belt and on their collective resume. We represent both buyers and sellers in traditional buyout deals, as well as ESOPs, recaps, carveouts, distressed situations, and other novel deal structures. Many deals have cross-border subsidiaries.

To name a few, we have recently served clients in the following industries: staffing, defense / aerospace, environmental remediation, bio-fuel, telecom, health care, specialty distillery, and many more.

Business Valuation

You or your client may be contemplating a transaction – whether an outright sale, a new member, a gift, estate plan or ESOP. Or perhaps you are involved in a shareholder dispute. Maybe you require an opening balance sheet for a newly acquired business. Or you could be in the final stages of a restructuring and face a plan of reorganization hearing. Expert analysis and testimony may be necessary.

Our firm’s experts have been engaged to provide more than 100 business and intellectual property portfolio appraisals. Our experts are certified in business valuation by the American Institute of CPAs.

Our cross-functional expertise in dispute resolution and turnaround / restructuring provides current and practical insights in a variety of industries. Some novel businesses we have appraised include entertainment and music, digital currency, life sciences, celebrity value, architecture, aerospace / defense and a professional sports franchise – not to mention traditional ‘brick and mortar’ industries.


Tailored and Thoughtful Analysis

Our Environmental Advisory experts and consultants combine backgrounds in economics, environmental science, engineering, and regulation to provide a single integrated source for independent, objective expert testimony in litigation and tailored, valuable insights in consulting assignments.

What We Do

We apply our expertise in analysis, negotiation, and expert testimony to effectively address environmental problems. We support our scientific knowledge with research, modeling, regulatory knowledge, document management, graphics, and project management.

We provide clients with timely and thoughtful analysis, examining data and other information to develop optimal, cost-conscious approaches to environmental problems, including:

  • Site cleanup
  • Problem clarification
  • Litigation, settlement, and negotiation
  • Response alternatives
  • Insurance claims
  • Superfund site participation (e.g., technical committee support)
  • Environmental portfolio management
  • Waste management

Insurance Advisory

Our Insurance Advisory Services experts deliver innovative solutions in the following areas:

Insurance Recovery – Making Insurance Work for the Insured

  • Organizing the response to accidents, incidents, claims and losses.
  • Locating and proving insurance coverage – insurance archaeology
  • Insurance recovery dispute consulting expert
  • Insurance coverage litigation expert witness
  • Collateral reductions

Developing Property & Casualty Insurance Programs

  • What to buy and how to structure
  • Whom to buy from – agent/broker selection.
  • How much to pay – the “cost of risk”
  • Choosing alternative risk options – self-insurance, captives, retro plans

Billing, Loss Tracking and Risk Management Archives

  • Administering settlement agreements and cost sharing schemes
  • Calculating and validating retrospectively rated programs
  • Erosion and exhaustion tracking and analysis
  • Tracking and archiving policies
  • Risk Management Information System planning and implementation

Real Estate / Title (ALTA) Assurance

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) Best Practices framework outlines seven areas in which your processes need to meet or exceed best practices.

Our firm’s ALTA Team can help you demonstrate ALTA Best Practices compliance through an examination that meets the professional attestation standards defined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (the AICPA) and ALTA.

You will then receive a written assertion regarding your compliance and a list of recommended steps to remediate any deficiencies and bring your organization to full compliance.


Stopping the losses, before they happen

Below are typical findings related to our past Risk / Controls Consulting Services.  For additional case experience, please refer to Forensic, InvestigationIntelligence and Expert Witness.

Revenue, Shipping,
Accounts Receivable

Accounts Receivable Aging

Accounts receivable older than 60 days, indicating ineffective collection procedures and exposure to skimming and/or inflated / fictitious revenue ($7.7 Million).

Cash Collection & Application

Inefficient cash application, resulting in unapplied cash receipts ($2.8 Million).

Uncollected Invoices

Uncollected sales invoices older than 60 days, indicating exposure to skimming or inflated / fictitious revenues.

Accounts Payable

Segregation of Duties / Incompatible Functions

Lack of separation of duties for new vendor setup, invoice approval, processing and printing / distribution of vendor payments.

Shell Companies,
Conflicts of Interest

Identification of shell companies and fictitious vendors, as established by procurement official, for purposes of self-dealing.

Corporate Credit Cards and Procurement Cards

Lack of review of corporate procurement cards, with multiple employees possessing access to credit card numbers, PIN codes and billing ZIP codes.

Human Resources

Segregation of Duties / Incompatible Functions

Lack of separation of duties for new employee setup, time entry and processing / distribution of payroll checks.

Time Reporting, Commissions

Falsely reported hours and acceptance of unauthorized compensation.

Ghosts in the Payroll

False payments to terminated employees, non-employees or employees that are completely fictitious.


Raw Materials Inventory

Inventory shipments from suppliers that were 50% less than their reported amounts.

Inventory Storage & Valuation

Income understatement, resulting from inventory valuation errors. Provided new formula for calculating mass storage inventory.

Reconciliation: Physical Counts with Perpetual Records

Failure to perform physical inventory counts and reconciliation with perpetual inventory system records.

Capital Projects,
Fixed Assets

Overspent Budgets and Contracts

Capital projects that overspent authorized limits, in connection with $65 million local option sales tax

Ineffective Reconciliation & Monitoring

Ineffective reconciliation and monitoring processes for $400 million construction program of a private university.

Capital projects not regularly monitored, denoting exposure to over-spent contracts, kickbacks, change order abuse, and/or bid rigging ($114 Million).

Contract Abuse &

  • Change order abuse
  • Work performed but not budgeted / contracted
  • Lack of performance
  • Lack of quality in contracted work
  • Preferential vendor treatment.

Financial Reporting,

Lack of Oversight, Review and Reconciliation

Current assets for a single division overstated, and not reconciled with balance sheet, indicating exposure to overstated revenue or understatement of expenses.

Inefficient Financial Closing Process

Process inefficiencies in monthly financial closing, inventory management, and sales and production forecasting processes for a global manufacturer of tractors and farm machinery.

Completeness &

Assets listed on fixed asset ledger, which were no longer in existence.