I have been reading this piece by David Savage, a partner in the Stewarts Law Financial Crime team with interest. In this piece, Savage, looks at some of the key considerations when conducting an internal investigation remotely.
Clearly with Covid-19, remote investigations are going to be part of everyday life and will likely remain so for some time to come. And, of course, this is something we have successfully been dealing with since the onset of lockdown in March here at A&M too.
Savage recognises some key points in this piece which I am also observing. Firstly, planning is essential (as always) and also when it comes to remote investigations it can’t simply be business as usual – you need to think around the challenges and solutions too.
He also notes that the technology is often the easiest part when it comes to investigations. And for us too, we often find that it’s the hard copy collaterals that can be far more challenging. Likewise, conducting interviews are also very complex given the current circumstances as you might imagine.
However, there are a couple of things that have not been impacted by the pandemic and have perhaps, arguably, been made easier since lockdown, such as managing the review process and collaborating in real time on reports, memos and using platforms like Teams and Slack to foster greater communication.
You might also wish to read these pieces for more information on working in investigations during a pandemic: https://amonsocial.alvarezandmarsal.com/post/102gapj/internal-investigations-6-tips-on-collecting-documents-during-the-covid-19-pand and https://amonsocial.alvarezandmarsal.com/post/102g6e0/keith-williamson-on-the-challenges-of-conducting-forensic-investigations-during-a
The ability to conduct investigations remotely presents an opportunity to significantly expedite the process, as well as minimise costs incurred in a ‘normal’ investigation by, for example, cutting down travel costs. The move to agile working will require significant focus on internal controls designed to ensure that investigations are undertaken correctly and efficiently. Technology will have a significant role to play in managing such requirements.