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19 November 2013

Key focus areas for boosting risk management identified

Content team

When it comes to improving the risk management capabilities of an organisation, many bosses still need to do more to ensure they are doing everything they can to minimise their firms' exposure.

This is according to Steve Culp, leader of Accenture's global risk management practice. He wrote in an article for Forbes magazine that while a recent survey by Accenture shows that many companies have made "great progress" on their risk management, many are still not satisfied that the job is complete.

He explained: "They see gaps between what risk management delivers and what top management expects from the function, as their expectations continue to rise."

Therefore, Accenture used its research analysis to identify several key areas in which businesses should be focusing their activities in order to reach their risk management goals.

Among these, firms were advised to ensure they are focusing on insight and not just data and analytics. While improving data technologies was the most commonly-cited goal for improving capabilities in the 2013 Accenture Global Risk Management survey, it is how businesses use this information that can make the difference between a successful programme and a failed one.

"Too often organisations set out on a mission seemingly intent on capturing all available data to address an endless array of potential solutions," Mr Culp said. However, he added this technology will only be valuable if the results it produces are actionable.

Businesses also need to ensure they are constantly looking ahead, as Mr Culp said the emergence of new risks is "relentless". He noted that risk management professionals have an inevitable tendency to "fight the last war", such as in the present environment where many current priorities are a reaction to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008.

However, any future risks may be totally unrelated to what has posed challenges before, so businesses have to be proactive to ensure they spot trends early.

Mr Culp also advised organisations to remember to treat risk management as a people game, as many of the biggest challenges revealed by Accenture's report related to skills and human capital. Dealing with a lack of trained staff and embedding risk management into business processes will be among the biggest issues professionals will have to deal with.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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