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PKF Australia

Accountants and Business Advisers

Will you be a follower or a leader?

1. Everyone is an expert – or are they?

The most common question you hear people asking right now is ‘how long do you think this will last.’ While the majority of us are not medical experts it has not stopped many speculating and/or guessing. Noone really knows how long it will last so as with most things that are uncertain, all we can do is control the controllables and prepare for all outcomes. Remember the importance of scenario planning, an often misunderstood skill

2. Meet frequently, meet better

Boards, Audit Committees and management teams are meeting more frequently. One interesting side effect of the online meeting trend is that with tight and structured agendas, meetings are now getting to the point quicker and becoming more time effecient.

To help this many are now rethinking their agenda to what is key, or to use the phrase of the day, losing the ‘non essentials’. This allows time to reassess what is important and why but also to lose some historic meeting baggage.

3. Online meeting etiquette

With the tendency for virtual meetings to have a larger number of participants than perhaps the case a few weeks ago, the skills around chairing these meetings are key.

However they bring their own groupthink risks.

  • Are you reading the (virtual) room?
  • Are you unwittingly encouraging consensus & complacency?
  • As a participant are you comfortable speaking up /dissenting when there are multiple screens looking back at you?

4. IT risks

Often first thoughts around business continuity focus on IT and systems. With the ever present risks around cyber and hacking events, this is clearly of high importance and indeed there has been increased activity from 'scammers' seeking to capitalise on the uncertainty of recent weeks.

Yet, in contrast to this, I was recently asked to sign a document electronically. I had not been expecting the document and did not recognise the electronic mailbox which sent it – so, I deleted it. The email explaining who, what, why etc to show it was valid did not arrive until an hour after the initial email. Protocols for electronic approvals will need to be sharpened up.

5. What have you taken your eye off?

The keys risks that were keeping you busy in January and February are most likely still there so it is worth reflecting on what you may have forgotten with all the (understandable) focus on COVID-19.

Consider if you have had your eye drawn away from important delegations, compliance activity, sleeper risks, standard processes, manual intervention controls and others.

6. Never waste a good crisis

Life will inevitably be different as we come out of this (I’m not sure I would want to be letting CBD office space for a living). We are seeing forward thinking, agile firms take advantage of this and reshaping the future on their terms. The challenge has been set, will you be a follower, or a leader?


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