Essentially, the COBIT 2019 six principles reorganize and clarify the original five, specify that the governance system is the “integrated framework”, and provide a separate principle pinpointing enterprise needs.
The COBIT Framework provides detailed instructions for how to design and implement a secure IT infrastructure related to business management and governance.
COSO and COBIT frameworks are both useful for creating, managing, and maintaining internal controls for fraud prevention. COSO provides the overarching framework for fraud prevention through risk management and COBIT helps you to ensure that your IT system enhances and strengthens these controls. Ultimately, using these frameworks to develop strong internal controls will fortify your organization and protect it from SOX noncompliance and SEC charges for fraudulent reporting of financial activities.
Despite their differences, there’s a strong overlap between COSO and COBIT and both are essential to financial risk reporting. COSO and COBIT are two compatible and synergistic internal control frameworks that can be used together to cover both fraud prevention in general and the qualities of an IT system designed to prevent fraud.
There are a few key differences in purpose, scope, and level of detail that make COSO and COBIT extremely complementary as opposed to redundant. Read on to compare COSO vs. COBIT:
Both COSO and COBIT were designed to be frameworks for internal controls, but COSO focuses on fiduciary duty and financial risk reporting more broadly and COBIT is focused on the structure and security of the IT system.
COSO provides the conceptual structure for financial risk reporting and COBIT spends time developing one component of that structure; this makes sense because COSO is meant to cover all aspects of an enterprise’s financial reporting and COBIT zooms in to cover the specific design of information systems, IT governance, and cybersecurity standards.
Because COBIT was designed as an applied risk management approach to preventing fraudulent financial reporting and COSO was designed to offer broader guidance and define the ERM context for fraud prevention, COBIT offers more detail on how to actually implement controls. The narrower scope of COBIT means that it provides greater detail on IT security than COSO and outlines how to build an IT landscape that prevents fraud.
An organization that needs to be SOX compliant and has a complex IT environment would benefit from using COBIT and COSO in tandem; they can be integrated seamlessly to provide full fraud prevention coverage for your organization.
You can use a spreadsheet, like the one the AICPA offers, to track your COSO vs. COBIT compliance and visualize how the two frameworks dovetail — but the spreadsheet doesn’t update itself and is monotonous and time consuming. Especially as you approach the monitoring phase of COSO and work to meet stakeholder needs through COBIT, the right compliance management software can facilitate the process of mapping COSO and COBIT, save you time, and help you develop strong internal controls for fraud prevention.