Board of directors’ report on internal control
In accordance with the Swedish Companies Act and the Swedish Code of Corporate Governance, the Board of Directors is responsible for internal control. This report was prepared in accordance with the Swedish Code of Corporate Governance, and FAR’s guidance to the Swedish Code of Corporate Governance. The report is limited to address internal control pertaining to financial reporting.
The control environment represents the basis for the internal control pertaining to financial reporting. An important part of the control environment is that decision paths, authorities and responsibilities must be clearly defined and communicated between various levels in the organisation and that the control documents are available in the form of internal policies, handbooks, guidelines and manuals. Thus, a key part of the Board’s assignment is to prepare and approve a number of fundamental policies, guidelines and frameworks. These include the Board’s working procedures, instructions for the President, investment policies, financial policies and the insider policy. The aim of these policies is to create a basis for sound internal control.
Furthermore, the Board focuses on ensuring that the organisational structure provides distinct roles, responsibilities and processes that benefit the effective management of the operation’s risks and facilitate target fulfilment. Part of the responsibility structure includes an obligation for the Board to evaluate the operation’s performance and results on a monthly basis, through appropriate report packages containing income statements, balance sheets, analyses of important key ratios, comments pertaining to the business status of each operation and also quarterly forecasts for future periods. As a contribution to strengthening the internal control, Mekonomen prepared a financial handbook that provides an overall picture of existing policies, rules and regulations and procedures within the financial area. This is a living document, which will be updated continuously and adapted to changes within the Mekonomen operation. In addition to the financial handbook, there are instructions that provide guidance for the daily work in stores and the rest of the organisation, for example, pertaining to stock taking and cash-register reconciliation, etc.
Mekonomen conducts continuous surveys of the Group’s risks. During these surveys, a number of items were identified in the income statement and balance sheet in which the risks of errors in the financial reporting are elevated. The company works continuously on these risks by strengthening controls. Furthermore, risks are addressed in a special forum, including questions related to start-ups and acquisitions.
The Group’s control structure is formed to manage risks that the Board deems significant for the internal control of the financial reporting. The aim of the appropriate control activities is to discover, prevent and correct errors and deviations in the reporting. The control activities include reconciliation of accounts, analytic follow-up, comparison between income statements and balance sheets and control stock-taking in warehouses and stores.
Mekonomen has an internal audit department, which is an independent and objective hedging and advice unit that generates value and improves the Group’s operations. This is done by evaluating and proposing improvement in such areas as risk management, compliance with policies and efficiency in the internal control of financial reporting. The function works throughout the Group. The Head of the internal audit reports to the Board of Directors, the CEO and CFO and informs management in each business area and other units on the results of the audits performed.
Information and communication
Policies and guidelines are particularly important for accurate accounting, reporting and dissemination of information. Within Mekonomen, policies and guidelines are continuously updated pertaining to the financial process. This occurs primarily within respective Group functions aimed at the various operations through e-mails, but also in connection with quarterly control meetings in which all financial managers/controllers participate. For communication with internal and external parties, there is a communications policy that states guidelines for conducting communication. The aim of the policy is to ensure that all information obligations are complied with in a correct and complete manner.
The Board continuously evaluates the information submitted by Company Management and auditors. The CEO and CFO hold monthly reviews with individual Heads of Operations pertaining to the financial position. Group accounting also cooperates closely with the subsidiaries’ controllers on matters pertaining to accounts and reporting. The follow-up and feedbacks concerning possible deviations arising in the internal controls are a key part of the internal control work since this is an efficient manner for the company to ensure that errors are corrected and that the control is further strengthened.