Ray Purcell has more than 30 years of experience in controllership, business process redesign, shared services and internal controls. For most of his career, he worked in the industrial gases industry, starting in cost accounting, moving on to budgeting and forecasting and then to divisional controllership at BOC Gases, a division of The BOC Group plc.
He joined Honeywell International Inc., and played a leadership role in the company's shared services organization, with responsibility for accounting services in the United States and Mexico.
More recently, Purcell's focus at Pfizer Inc. has been on Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance and financial controls, an area he has covered for Pfizer since he joined the company in 2005.
"By 2007, we had made significant improvements in our approach to SOX controls, so by the time AS5 [Auditing Standard No. 5, issued by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in 2007] was issued, we were in good shape," says Purcell. Since 2007, the company's internal control model has evolved to include risk assessment and risk management.
During the past two years, Purcell has played a significant role in the development and implementation of GRCC, a new governance, risk, controls and compliance function, and he leads the center of excellence for financial controls within that new organization. The GRCC compliance function is based on business-centered controls, which have transitioned from internal audit to the businesses.
"GRCC has transformed our approach to SOX [Sarbanes-Oxley] compliance," he explains. "We have integrated FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices AC] and SOX controls monitoring and improvement. We have developed a standardized approach, under central leadership from New York HQ [headquarters], and have rolled it out globally to our businesses in 60 countries."
What makes GRCC so valuable, he continues, "is that we can identify and resolve issues quickly. In the past, internal audit had the job of identifying local issues, but like many other large multinationals, internal audit might only visit some locations every two or three years. We're on the ground all year long, so the process of identifying and correcting deficiencies is greatly enhanced."
Purcell explains the company believes that "GRCC has been a success from two perspectives. First, it is a standardized work program that has been implemented globally within a decentralized organization. Second, it has been well received...