What is Segregation of Duties


A Separation of Duties (SoD) matrix is a tool used in risk management and internal controls to ensure that no one person has control over all aspects of a business process. For example, an organization might use a SoD matrix to ensure that the person who enters financial transactions into the accounting system is not the same person who reconciles the bank statements.

To create a SoD matrix, you would first identify all of the key tasks and processes within your organization. Then, you would assign each task or process to an individual or group of individuals. Finally, you would use the matrix to assess whether any individuals have control over multiple tasks or processes that should be separated for the sake of risk management.

Here is an example of a simple SoD matrix for a small organization:

ProcessAssigned to
Enter financial transactionsJane
Reconcile bank statementsJohn
Approve purchase ordersMary
Maintain vendor recordsMary

In this example, the SoD matrix shows that Jane is responsible for entering financial transactions, John is responsible for reconciling bank statements, and Mary is responsible for approving purchase orders and maintaining vendor records.

To assess the effectiveness of the SoD matrix, you would need to evaluate whether the assigned individuals have the appropriate skills and expertise to carry out their tasks, and whether there are any potential conflicts of interest or other risks associated with their assignments. For example, if Jane and John are both responsible for entering and reconciling financial transactions, there may be a risk of fraud or error. In this case, it would be appropriate to reassign one of the tasks to a different individual.

The Risks of SoD failed to be properly implemented

If the Separation of Duties (SoD) matrix is not implemented properly, there are several potential risks.

First, there is an increased risk of fraud or error, since individuals may have the ability to manipulate transactions or records without detection. For example, if one person is responsible for both entering financial transactions and reconciling bank statements, they may be able to create false transactions and reconcile them without anyone noticing.

Second, there is a risk of operational inefficiency, since individuals may not have the necessary skills or expertise to perform multiple tasks effectively. This can lead to delays, errors, and other problems that can affect the organization’s ability to function properly.

Third, there is a risk of reputational damage, since inadequate controls over business processes can lead to negative publicity and loss of trust from customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders.

Overall, it is important to implement a well-designed SoD matrix to ensure that key business processes are carried out effectively, efficiently, and with appropriate controls in place to mitigate the risks of fraud, error, and other potential problems

In conclusion, a Separation of Duties (SoD) matrix is a valuable tool for managing risk and ensuring effective internal controls. By assigning specific tasks and processes to individual employees or teams, organizations can prevent individuals from having too much control over key business processes, reducing the risk of fraud, error, and other potential problems. Implementing a well-designed SoD matrix can help organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively, and protect their reputation and trust among stakeholders. As such, it is a crucial component of any comprehensive risk management strategy.

At Deep InfoSec, let our expers and algorhithms support you to enable compliance and reduce risks through comprehensive SoD assessment.

Want to find out more? Download our free white paper for a comprehensive case study.