What Is Business Process Control? (+ Examples)


This is about what business process control is.

Short and sweet: business process control is an on-going procedure of checks and balances of business processes.

So if you want to learn what a business process control is then you are in the right place.

So without further ado, let’s do this!

What’s Business Process Control?

You’ve probably heard the term business process control before, but you may be wondering what it means.

Is it important?

Does every business need to utilize business process control? 

The business process control definition is:

Business process control is an on-going procedure of checks and balances of business processes, that analyzes the functions of a business from top to bottom, and defines tasks for effective administration, problem-solving, and problem prevention.


So, what does all that mean? 

Business process control is taking a look at every section of your business and putting systems in place to ensure it runs like a well-oiled machine.

Do I Need Business Process Control?

Now that you know what business process control is and what it does, you may still be wondering if you need it for your business. 

You may not be aware, but a business process is already present within your business. Whether or not you have proper controls in place, however, might be another story.

Take a look at this scenario:

Let’s say you own a business, and because you are the owner, you hold a considerable amount of responsibility. 

Every department runs every decision by you first. You often try handing off important tasks to other team members, but mistakes keep happening when you do.

You’re continually fixing these costly mistakes. You’re frustrated. And the growth of your company is ultimately stunted because you have to do everything yourself.  

Your business process here is entirely reliant on you. There are no controls in place for your team to avoid uninformed decisions.

What Does Business Process Control Do?

Now, what if you could make sure every department of your business runs smoothly, without having to do it all yourself?

A business process control plan enables every employee of your company to clearly understand the procedures, tasks, and goals of the company. 

With this comes endless benefits, such as:

  • Greater performance and efficiency
  • Quicker response to fluctuations
  • Better solutions to challenges
  • Easier identification of problems
  • Optimized productivity
  • Improved profit potential
  • Better control of task execution
  • Higher quality and error reduction
  • Reduced customer complaints 
  • Improved communication

Do you have to implement business process control? Of course not. But do you want a successful business that runs as smooth as silk? Most of us do.

So, What Does a Business Process Control Plan Entail?

What business process control plans look like in each business will be different. It will also depend on if your company does manufacturing, sales, services, or a combination. 

If you’re a manufacturer, you’ll need control plans for the products you’re producing to ensure quality and a reduced amount of scrap. 

Also, services, transaction processing, and back-office teams need a system to go by for consistency across the board and reduced errors. 

Before you can determine what your control plans entail, you need to take a look at your control goals. 

Your plans will consist of:

  • Identifying and itemizing goals
  • Defining how to attain those goals
  • Creating a system to review and take remedial action when necessary

Business process control plans are created and managed by process owners. Your process owners should be individuals or teams who can responsibly and proactively manage data and processes.

How Does It Work?

You can split business process control plans into one of three classifications:

  • Preventive control plans: Prevent problems before they occur
  • Detective control plans: Discover problems that have already occurred
  • Corrective control plans: Resolve the issues that have already occurred

To identify and create these plans, you need business process control points.

Control points are a procedure in a business process control plan that stops the chain of a process when something doesn’t meet requirements.

If something in the process isn’t up to par, these control points halt the activity and provide a guide for feed-back, improvement, and other actions that need to take place.

Business process control points are a tool for ensuring that the company is executing business processes in a controlled manner.

Using control points helps you in all three business process control plans.

Valid control points prevent problems before they occur, discover issues when they occur, and resolve issues once they’ve already happened.

What’s It Like in Action?

There are three business process control categories:

  • Visual Controls
  • Procedural Controls
  • Embedded Controls

Your visual controls will be tools that allow you to visualize what’s happening, and immediately spot which things are going right and which ones aren’t going so great.

Visual controls are things like excel sheets, graph charts, and checklists.

Shown below are the different maintenance technologies used in manufacturing industries worldwide.

As of 2020, around 47 percent of the respondents stated that they use in-house spreadsheets and schedules with Microsoft Excel, while 46 percent stated that they use clipboards and paper records to visualize and track maintenance rounds:

Maintenance Technologies Used in Manufacturing Industries Worldwide From 2018 to 2020-100

Procedural controls are your review processes, the steps you take to ensure that the results that one person receives will be the same results another person gets.

One example is having an unrelated party go over a report from a team member to double-check for discrepancies. 

Embedded controls are your automated processes that don’t require someone to take extra steps to use.

Some embedded controls include things like automated data backups and standardized contracts.

The chart below shows the automation level for the remediation processes of enterprise endpoints.

Around 44 percent of organizations worldwide stated that their process is fully automated, and that they are able to remediate across affected endpoints through the use of technology:

Scalability and Automation Level of Remediation Processes for Enterprise Endpoints as of 2019-100

Utilizing a healthy combination of controls in these categories gives you a much more streamlined flow.

Fewer things can fall through the cracks when there is a transparent system in place for everything across the board. 

Some Business Process Control Examples:

Simplifying approval processes

By simplifying your approval process and having a clear outline of how it works, everyone knows who to go to precisely for approvals.

Designing transparent processes that improve individual accountability

Making processes and necessary documents available to everyone who needs them guarantees that everyone can be held accountable for their role.

Improving coordination between departments

Creating a better workflow system than email ensures that you aren’t slowing down coordination with lost emails.

Eliminating paper-intensive practices

Removing as many paper-intensive methods as possible can make forms quicker to complete and more accessible to update. 

Creating documents with easy-to-follow instructions for team members

Having clear documents reduces training and ensures you’re not stuck if someone goes on vacation or leaves the company.

Mapping for Business Process Control

Mapping out your business process removes ambiguity about how to do things. 

Before you map out a business process control plan, it’s essential to figure out where you are now with your business process. 

It’s impossible to improve if you don’t know precisely what you need to improve on.

Involve the team members who do the work for every step of your mapping. Involving your team will provide you with actionable data that shows where things work and where they don’t.

By involving your team members in the mapping, you also make it easier when it comes time to train new team members.

You’ll be able to teach them how to do things properly, so they can start adding value to your company immediately.

Collect the necessary documents and forms for every step of your processes.

Create an online database of your map with the materials needed so team members can find them quickly.

Is There an Easier Way?

We know it can be overwhelming if your business process needs a ton of work.

Here’s the good news – you don’t have to do it alone.  

If analyzing and identifying your existing business processes seems like a daunting task, some companies provide automated process discovery (APD) services. 

These companies can help you look at your existing workflow data to see where you can improve.

There’s also a variety of business process management (BPM) software programs that can help organize and automate your business process control. 

BPM does tend to be geared more towards manufacturing, however, so if your company isn’t a manufacturer, pay close attention to whether specific software will work for you.

Productivity apps can help managers and team members increase visibility, prioritize tasks, and capture and document processes.

Below are top office productivity software used worldwide as of 2020. Taking the number one spot is Google Apps, having around 51 percent of the market share:

Market Share of Top Office Productivity Software Worldwide as of 2020-100

Finally, there are consultants you can hire that work with you to streamline your processes and give you better control.

When Should You Reassess Your Business Process Control Plan?

You achieve control over your business processes when all of your procedures and performance conform to the standards of the company, and you’ve accomplished the goals of the company. 

Business process control is not a task that ends, however. If you look at business process control as a quick fix, you’ll continue to encounter problems.

It is a continuous process of making improvements, and it never truly ends. 

Anytime you start seeing email overloads, variations in processes, rapid growth, delays in output, or deficiencies in financial statement audits, it’s time to reassess your business process control plan.

Exceptions to your processes will pop up from time to time as well. And even if they seem like one-offs, having a control plan in place for exceptions is a good idea too.

The bottom line here is that as your company continues to grow, your processes need to grow with it.

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