Organizational risks are on the rise: PwC survey

Published: Wednesday, 22 April 2015 09:55

According to a new report from PwC US, ‘Risk in review: Decoding uncertainty, delivering value’, 73 percent of executives feel that risks to their companies are on the rise : but the survey also reveals that companies are generally not meeting these increased risks with improved risk management. In fact, only 12 percent of responding companies demonstrated qualities that marked them as true risk management leaders.

According to the report, which draws on a survey of more than 1,200 senior executives and board members, companies that lead in risk management take a holistic view of risk and involve risk management in the business at a strategic level. Instead of seeing risk management as slowing their business, these companies view it as an enabler of performance and growth; and they have the numbers to back that up. Over the past three years, 55 percent of risk management leaders recorded increased profit margins, and 41 percent achieved an annual profit margin of more than 10 percent.

According to PwC’s survey, risk management leaders distinguish themselves in four key areas:

1. Risk management leaders understand how risks interconnect and impact business
PwC’s study found that 70 percent of risk management leaders say they can see how risks interconnect and cascade, compared to only 23 percent of non-leaders. They are also far more likely to compile an aggregated view of risks when making business decisions (73 percent vs. 27 percent), giving them a clear and realistic understanding of operational issues and market opportunities.

2. Risk management leaders have a strategic understanding of their risk appetite and are willing to take risks
Empowered by a risk-informed perspective, risk management leaders are more likely to articulate a high or very high appetite for risk. Almost 90 percent of risk leaders are increasingly taking a risk-enabled approach to growth, examining both the risks and opportunities to help them understand where they should focus their efforts.

3. Risk management leaders are more aligned across business units
The vast majority of risk leaders (90 percent) say their risk management program is fully or very aligned with their company’s strategic planning process, compared to just 36 percent of non-leaders. Risk leaders also demonstrate greater cross-functional alignment, particularly with finance (93 percent vs. 58 percent), internal audit (95 percent vs. 65 percent) and corporate compliance (93 percent vs. 55 percent). And, they’re far more likely to involve risk analysis in the decision-making process (67 percent vs. 43 percent of non-leaders). All this alignment helps risk leaders see the impact of risk across the organization, empowering them to act quickly to neutralize threats and seize opportunities. In today’s business environment, that kind of speed is crucial.

4. Risk management leaders apply more sophisticated techniques
Among risk management leaders, 46 percent report spending more time calculating and preparing for risk than reacting to it, versus just 21 percent of non-leaders. They also use a variety of tools to effectively integrate their analysis, including identification and forecasting of emerging risks (96 percent vs. 59 percent), horizon scanning and early-warning indicators (81 percent vs. 33 percent) and building organizational resilience to risk (88 percent vs. 42 percent). Meanwhile, new analytics systems make it significantly easier to bring disparate data together to create powerful insights.

Risk is inevitable in any business, but suffering negative impacts from risk is not. According to PwC’s Risk in review, the key to raising your business’s risk intelligence is a deliberate approach that links risk management to the business and strategic planning, brings an understanding of the company’s risk interconnections and risk appetite, leverages consistent monitoring and reporting so that data can yield meaningful insights and proactively addresses expanding and emerging risks to identify both threats and opportunities.

To download a full copy of Risk in review: Decoding uncertainty, delivering value, please visit: http://www.pwc.com/us/riskinreview