all automated processing routines contributing to the preparation of ﬁnancial information are compliant with accounting rules and procedures. In addition, it veriﬁes the quality and completeness of information transferred between the different software applications. Finally, it is responsible for information systems security. The Group Legal Affairs department and Human Resources division perform legal and social audits of all Group subsidiaries. Their role notably consists in verifying that their operations are compliant with the laws and other legal and social regulations in force in the countries concerned. They also supervise most of the contractual relations entered into between Group companies and employees or third parties. The Legal Affairs department works with a network of law ﬁrms located in the countries concerned and specializing in the subjects at issue, as needed. The Legal Affairs department is also responsible for identifying risks requiring insurance and formulating a policy for covering these risks by means of appropriate insurance contracts. It supervises and manages potential or pending litigation, in conjunction with the Group’s attorneys where appropriate. Currency risk is managed centrally by the Group Treasurer. Group exposure is hedged by a range of derivative instruments: forward currency contracts are used to hedge foreign exchange balance sheet positions; purchases of currency puts (calls euros / puts dollars) — when their cost relative to their beneﬁts is not prohibitive — or forward contracts are utilized to hedge estimated exposure to ﬂuctuations in billing currencies for future periods, when these are considered justiﬁed. A dedicated intellectual property team functions as part of the Legal Affairs department. It acts preventively to protect innovations and avert all risks of infringement of the company’s intellectual property rights. Finally, the Board of Directors works with a specialized law ﬁrm for all legal and regulatory issues governing listed companies. 2.2.4. Continuous Oversight of the Internal Control System and Improvement of Procedures Incidents observed on the occasion of controls or the ﬁndings of ex-post audits of compliance with internal control rules and procedures serve both to ensure the latter’s proper functioning, and continuous improvement.
Given the nature of its business, the Group is compelled to adapt its organization to market changes whenever necessary. In particular, it has accelerated deployment of its transformation plan over the period 2012-2015. Each change in its organization or modus operandi is preceded by a review process to ensure that the proposed change is consistent with the preservation of an internal control environment complying with the objectives described in chapter 2.1 above. Within this context, the scope and distribution of the powers of individuals and teams, reporting lines and rules for the delegation of signing authority, are subject to scrutiny and are adjusted, if necessary, during all organizational changes. Oversight of internal controls is underpinned by a continuous improvement process focused notably on: – updating the Group’s risk mapping; – updating and/or formalizing accounting and ﬁnancial procedures, procedures relating to human resources management and internal control rules; – updating and improving reporting tools; – general improvements in IT systems and resources. This matter is the subject of a speciﬁc communication to the Audit Committee and discussion at least once a year.
2.3. Speciﬁc Procedures to Ensure the Reliability