Business Risk Services

Risk is top of the agenda

Sara McAllister
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Risk management is again on top of the agenda, as many Boards and senior leadership teams seek to re-evaluate their approach to risk management on a truly enterprise basis.

As quoted in the Irish Times “fewer than half of Irish businesses are adequately prepared to deal with risks that could impact them” *, a reality that many businesses are currently grappling with.

Businesses are seeking assistance as they continue to reinvent, reposition or re-energise aspects of their businesses. Transformation is happening at unprecedented scale across people, processes and technology. Such change offers significant opportunity but also introduces risks that require active management, if the much-hoped-for commercial and reputational rewards are to come to fruition.

Businesses are looking for support in deploying risk assessments, reviewing their over-arching approach to risk management, arriving at their risk appetite and risk reporting framework and in many cases assessing the rigour and robustness of operational resilience or business continuity plans and structures.

Fundamentally, most businesses have realised that they must revisit their approach to risk management if they are to improve their operational resilience and enable their strategic and commercial endeavours.

Adverse and in some cases, avoidable business impact have come about as a result of an underinvestment by many in the risk management space. The absence of a holistic and integrated approach to managing risk has seen many businesses part with money in addressing a small number of risks, in silos, without an enterprise-wide view of risk across a business. In fact, the risk culture of many businesses has not progressed significantly in recent years, despite distinct changes in customer, technology, supply chain and outsourcing models, all of which influence how business is done today.

What can businesses do?

Risk management should not become over-engineered, but it must provide a transparent view of risk across a business and inform real time management decision-making, this will best address business needs and the pace of change in a clear, proactive and transparent manner. This blend of pragmatic risk management will ensure that all of this can be achieved without curtailing ideas or innovative thinking.

Ultimately, business transformation initiatives are undertaken to build agility and adapt to market changes. Environmental, social and technological disruptions continue to impact our lives and society at large on a daily basis. To prepare themselves for new and emerging risks, businesses must revisit risk management programmes to best manage and mitigate interdependent risks associated with changes in people (employees, customers, suppliers), processes, systems and operations.

A culture of accountability with regard to risk management must be introduced and/or maintained. Risk can no longer be viewed as distinct and separate to the ‘day job’ but rather, as a key element within each role or job description. If risk management is to be truly embedded in a business, accountability must be embraced. Historic perceptions view risk management as a chore or a cost. This could not be further from the truth. Risk management is a key business enabler and a critical success factor once introduced and maintained effectively.

How we can help?

A simple and pragmatic approach to risk management is what we find works best for our clients. In doing so, we take an holistic view of the what? why? and how?, this gives our clients the best chance to exploit opportunities. Businesses that adopt this approach take confidence in knowing they have boxed clever in managing potential exposures and can focus on leveraging the potential upsides.

Our Business Risk Services team is experienced in aiding businesses decide how best to approach risk management in the context of what they want to achieve, how they want to be known and the opportunities they want to pursue.