Differences between King III and King IV

//Differences between King III and King IV

King IV is now effective for financial years that start on or after 1 April 2017 and officially replaces King III in its entirety. In response, an important step for you to take is to understand the differences between King III and King IV. This will help you understand what you need to tweak in the actions you are already taking under King III. People are asking these questions:

  • What are the differences between King III™ and King IV™?
  • How do I transition from King III to King IV as quickly and easily as possible?

Many people have spent a lot of time and money applying King III, and understandably don’t want that effort to go to waste. Even though King IV replaces King III entirely, they want to build on what they have already done and just do the extra things that King IV requires them to do.

If you have not previously been applying the King Report and King Code, understanding the differences between King III and King IV will help you properly plan how you will apply King IV. Without understanding how King IV differs or what extra compliance requirements it contains, you will not be able to apply it properly.

What are the differences between King III and King IV?

Although King IV™ is based on the underlying principles of the previous King Reports, it emphasises stakeholder inclusion, IT governance and disclosure.

King III had 75 principles whereas King IV only has 17 principles in total. The 17th principle only applies to institutional investors. The King IV Report™ has been scaled down to only 82 pages. Previously the codes and reports were published separately but King IV integrates the code into the report. The Report has decreased in size and is more applicable to its audience. The document is easier to read and understand. This helps smaller companies to apply the principles in their businesses.

King IV vs King III regards IT Governance

IT governance is one of the key areas where King III and King IV are different. For IT governance, one of the most notable differences between the King Codes is that King IV emphasises that governance should focus on technology and information as separate issues, not one. This is a significant departure from King III, which focused on technology rather than information. Data governance (or information governance) becomes even more important because of King IV.

Another difference in King IV is that the governing body will now have to set the direction for how the organisation will achieve good governance of technology and information. This suggests that you will now have to formulate a policy document specifically containing the organisation’s approach. It will also require awareness-raising sessions or workshops with management and the staff. King IV even requires your service providers to have good IT governance, and places an added responsibility on you to evaluate their compliance.

Other additional steps under King IV include:

  • Disclosing how you have applied or plan to apply IT governance at the end of each financial year that starts on or after 1 April 2017 – the King IV effective date.
  • Conducting an Intellectual Property Audit to protect your intellectual property assets.
  • Conducting an IT governance assessment that assesses the gaps, and makes recommendations as well. This will include briefing your staff, assessing the technologies you use, and possibly changing your processes as well.

To understand the differences and various additional compliance steps, you can read our summaries of IT governance in King IV and IT governance under King III.

King IV vs King III regards legal compliance

King IV is much simpler than King III and does away with much of the detail. King IV leaves more up to you to determine how to achieve it. For example, you don’t have to have a compliance function or officer. The principle on compliance governance also deals less with risk but requires much greater disclosure regarding compliance than what King III did. Independent assurance on compliance is now voluntary and not mandatory.

We can help you transition to King IV

Having a summary of King III and King IV to compare provides you with valuable insight, but does not cover all the important ground. We have developed King III to King IV Comparison Tables that cover all the aspects of both King Codes in detail. The table is a valuable resource in that it highlights the differences or extra compliance requirements in King IV that you need to know about, and also outlines the additional compliance steps you must take.

In addition to the comparison table, we have also developed a King Planning Tool that you can use internally, to outline the areas of governance that you have focused on in the previous financial year (or reporting period), and what you plan to focus on in the next one. You can then transpose your responses in this document, into the disclosure document King IV requires you to publish at the end of each reporting period or financial year.

Actions you can take

  • Empower yourself with knowledge and tools to effectively transition from King III to King IV by attending our IT GRC workshop that includes King IV.
  • Find out more about King IV by reading our King IV summary.
  • Make the right disclosures for King IV by asking us to assist you. We have created clever ways to assist you to draft accurate customised disclosures for your organisation as painlessly as possible.
  • Transition from King III to King IV effectively by getting our King III to King IV Comparison Tables and King Planning Tool.
  • Protect your intellectual property by instructing us to conduct an Intellectual Property Audit for you.


If you are interested, please complete the form on the right or enquire now. We will contact you to find out more about your requirements and give you a quote.

Note: The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa NPC (IoDSA) owns the copyright to all four of the King reports or codes on governance (including the latest version namely the King IV Report™) and owns various trademarks in relation to King IV (including King IV™, King IV Report™, King IV Report on Corporate Governance™ and King IV Code™). All of the IoDSA’s rights are reserved. All views are our own and we are not associated or endorsed in any way by the IoDSA.

By | 2017-12-07T07:01:11+00:00 April 28th, 2017|Categories: Governance|Tags: , , , |