Finding Best Value for Cash Among Key Issues Companies Will Face in 2013

Faced with continuing global economic uncertainties, companies that have set aside cash reserves and wanting to put these funds to work to build their organisations will need to determine a plan to achieve the greatest value from their investment.


This is among the 10 key issues that boards of directors may face in 2013, according to a report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited's Global Center for Corporate Governance.


The next issue is getting ahead of the next regulatory wave.


In a global business environment, organisations need to keep abreast of actual and potential regulatory changes in more than just their home markets and must take the necessary steps to remain compliant with multiple regulatory changes which can be a major challenge.


Developing risk-aligned strategies is the third issue directors are likely to face this year.


Today, boards' involvement with risk oversight has broadened beyond day-to-day financial and operational risks to include strategic and environmental risks.


While most organisations and their boards devote considerable attention to staying on top of significant potential risks that does not mean they are prepared to deal with a crisis when it occurs.


Maintaining long-term consistency and short-term flexibility will also be a key issue this year.


According to the report, it can be difficult to set and maintain a consistent longer-term direction in an uncertain economic environment where sudden, unexpected changes may arise that require fast, flexible responses.


Creating an environment for superior performance will also be a key challenge.


The report notes that sustainability is an important factor in helping companies achieve and studies that have found that organisations with good sustainability practices tend to be better corporate performers.


However, strong sustainability performance alone is not enough.

The seventh issue listed by the report is cutting through the "white noise" in performance reporting.


The report explains that in corporate reporting and disclosure, "more" doesn't necessarily mean "better" and boards have an important responsibility for ensuring that the organisation provides useful information to its stakeholders.


Governance leaders believe that CEO succession is an important board priority, along with risk management, disclosures and oversight of corporate strategy. With average CEO tenures continuing to shrink, not only is succession a priority, but it is also a recurring one.


While boards pay close attention to the risks facing their organisation, their focus is often on controls processes, technology, and other risks. Less emphasis is typically placed on risks related to the organisation's people. Yet organisation's people have a direct link to its risk culture and tone at the top.


Over the past few decades, technology has transformed organisations and industries to a greater degree than almost any other phenomenon. Board may wish to ask management about its strategies for recent technological breakthroughs.


Boards have an important role to play in helping their organisations determine how to respond to the new operating environment. Will they wait in the hope that more familiar business conditions and opportunities will return at some point or will they be leaders in finding ways to turn the changed business environment to their advantage? The Boards' heightened awareness of these issues will help them to better prepare for the continuing uncertainties in 2013.

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