The COSO Framework
9 July 2024

Effective risk management has become essential not only for preserving value but also for capitalizing on opportunities. The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) has developed a comprehensive framework that meets these needs.

What is COSO?

Founded in 1985, COSO is a voluntary private organization dedicated to improving enterprise performance through effective internal control, risk management, governance and fraud prevention. It is best known for its two main frameworks: the COSO Internal Control-Integrated Framework and the COSO Framework.

Evolution of the COSO Framework

Originally published in 2004 and updated in 2017, the COSO Framework has evolved to better align risk management with strategy and performance. The 2017 update, titled “Enterprise Risk Management – Integrating with Strategy and Performance,” emphasizes the importance of embedding risk management practices throughout the organization to improve decision-making and achieve strategic goals.

Key Components of the COSO Framework

The updated COSO Framework consists of five interrelated components:

Governance and Culture: Sets the organizational tone and outlines the structure for risk management. It emphasizes the importance of board oversight and a risk-aware culture.

Strategy and Objective Setting: Ensures that risk considerations are integrated into the strategic planning process. This component helps organizations align their risk appetite with their strategy and set objectives that support risk-informed decisions.

Performance: Includes identifying and assessing risks that could impact the achievement of objectives and implementing risk responses to manage those risks within the organization’s risk appetite.

Review and Revision: Focuses on monitoring the performance of the organization’s risk management and making necessary adjustments. This component ensures continuous improvement and adaptation to changing business environments.

Information, communication and reporting: Emphasizes the importance of effective communication and reporting mechanisms to support risk management activities and inform decision-making across the enterprise.

Integrating risk management into business strategy

A key benefit of the COSO framework is its ability to integrate risk management into business strategy. This integration enables organizations to:

Improve decision-making: By incorporating risk considerations into strategic planning and performance management, organizations can make more informed decisions that balance risks and opportunities.
Improve resilience: Understanding and managing risks that could impact strategic objectives helps organizations be more resilient and better prepared for potential disruptions.
Drive value creation: Effective risk management can identify opportunities for innovation and growth and turn potential threats into competitive advantages.


Practical implementation of the COSO Framework

Implementing the COSO Framework involves several steps:

Create a risk-aware culture: Promote a culture where risk management is integrated at all levels of the organization.

Align risk management with strategy: Ensure that risk management processes are aligned with strategic planning and performance management.

Embed risk management practices: Integrate risk management into business processes, from strategy setting to daily operations.

Improve communication and reporting: Develop robust communication and reporting mechanisms to keep stakeholders informed of risk management activities and results.

Continuous improvement: Regularly review and revise risk management practices to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.
By adopting these practices, organizations can use the COSO Framework to not only protect their value, but also increase it.

The COSO Framework provides a robust risk management structure that can be integrated into the corporate strategy and performance. By adopting this framework, organizations can improve decision-making, increase resilience and drive value creation. As the business environment evolves, effective risk management will continue to be a critical component of organizational success.