Procedural Controls

Procedural controls refer to a set of policies, procedures, and protocols implemented by an organization to ensure the proper execution of specific operations and activities. These controls are designed to establish consistent workflows and maintain a high level of internal control over various processes.

Key Elements

Procedural controls typically encompass the following key elements:

  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): These are step-by-step instructions that outline the correct sequence of actions and guidelines to be followed for specific tasks. SOPs provide employees with clear directions to help them carry out their responsibilities accurately and efficiently.
  • Checklists: Checklists serve as reminders and ensure that critical steps or requirements are not overlooked during a process. They enable employees to systematically review and verify each task, reducing the risk of errors or omissions.
  • Authorization and Approval Processes: These processes define the levels of authority required for decision-making, document approvals, and access to sensitive information or resources. They help maintain accountability, prevent unauthorized actions, and ensure compliance with internal and external regulations.
  • Documentation: Procedural controls emphasize the importance of maintaining clear and accurate records. Documentation provides evidence of completed activities, facilitates auditing and review processes, enables knowledge transfer, and supports organizational memory.


Implementing procedural controls offers several advantages for organizations:

  • Consistency: Procedural controls establish consistent practices across different teams or departments, ensuring unified standards and reducing the risk of confusion or variability.
  • Efficiency: By defining streamlined processes and eliminating unnecessary steps, procedural controls enhance operational efficiency, saving time and resources.
  • Accuracy: These controls minimize the potential for errors, non-compliance, or misconduct by providing employees with clear instructions and guidelines.
  • Accountability: Procedural controls establish a framework of responsibility and accountability by assigning specific roles and authorizations, making it easier to identify and address issues or deviations.
  • Risk Mitigation: By incorporating checks, balances, and safeguards, procedural controls help mitigate risks, prevent fraud, protect sensitive information, and ensure regulatory compliance.


Some examples of procedural controls include:

  • Segregation of Duties (SoD): Dividing responsibilities among different individuals to prevent conflicts of interest and minimize the risk of fraud or abuse.
  • Access Control Policies: Defining rules and procedures to grant, restrict, and monitor access to physical assets, information systems, or confidential data.
  • Change Management Processes: Establishing protocols for assessing, approving, and implementing changes to systems, software, or business operations.
  • Quality Assurance (QA) Procedures: Implementing systematic checks and inspections to ensure products or services meet predefined quality standards.
  • Incident Response Plans: Outlining predefined procedures and responsibilities to effectively handle and manage security incidents or adverse events.