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Research 1

An introduction to the Risk Register Studies

by Matthew Leitch, 16 January 2008

Like them or loathe them, risk registers are an unavoidable fact of life in many organizations. Regulators demand them, auditors check for them, even customers are asking for them.

All around the world people are being given forms and asked to fill them in. Whether this involves a group meeting or just filling in screens on a database the work boils down to filling in boxes in a table

The purpose of this series of studies is to describe what happens in practice when people fill in those boxes, and find some opportunities for improvement.

Research data source

The research is based on a collection of risk registers gathered by Googling the Internet for 'risk register' and related terms, then downloading all the registers and instruction/explanation documents found until an adequate number had been gathered.

This is not a 'sample' of risk registers because they were not selected by any kind of random method and risk registers for publication are unlikely to be representative of all risk registers. Almost all published risk registers are from the public sector and most are quite short.

Nevertheless the collection of risk registers shows interesting variations and the phrasing of risk items seems typical of unpublished risk registers I have seen.

As the studies continue the collection will grow.

© 2008 Matthew Leitch
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Matthew Leitch - Author

About the author: Matthew Leitch is a tutor, researcher, author, and independent consultant who helps people to a better understanding and use of integral management of risk within core management activities, such as planning and design. He is also the author of the new website,, and has written two breakthrough books. Intelligent internal control and risk management is a powerful and original approach including 60 controls that most organizations should use more. A pocket guide to risk mathematics: Key concepts every auditor should know is the first to provide a strong conceptual understanding of mathematics to auditors who are not mathematicians, without the need to wade through mathematical symbols. Matthew is a Chartered Accountant with a degree in psychology whose past career includes software development, marketing, auditing, accounting, and consulting. He spent 7 years as a controls specialist with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he pioneered new methods for designing internal control systems for large scale business and financial processes, through projects for internationally known clients. Today he is well known as an expert in uncertainty and how to deal with it, and an increasingly sought after tutor (i.e. one-to-one teacher). more

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