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Editor’s letter: Risky business

RISK. IT’S EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK. And if you’ve found your way to Financial Director for respite, then I’m afraid that this issue is not going to give you a break. But you may find relief in the fact that you’re not in the shoes of Lonmin CFO Simon Scott – who happens to find himself in the CEO’s shoes during a major crisis at the mining company where dozens of employees have been killed during a strike.

You may ponder how an investment bank has avoided the withering glare of the public during the crisis, but Schroders successfully manages the risks inherent in a global investment institution. To paraphrase CFO Kevin Parry, you have to plan for all the risks – no matter how unlikely.

Our Secret FD outlines the risk of failing to go out and press the flesh with your professional peers: ending up siloed in the business, and possessing narrow views.

IT columnist Peter Cochrane says that no matter what a monumental pain it is to keep hold of the data mountain your company is compiling, you’re doing the business a disservice by hitting the ‘delete’ button, regardless of how tempting it is.

Then there’s our cover story on the risk of leaning too heavily on economic data for forecasting purposes – economists don’t really ‘do’ predictions too well.

Our pensions special flags up the innumerable ways of mitigating the risk of pensions on the company’s finances. We also point out that steering staff towards opting out of a scheme will become a criminal offence under new law.

The worst risk, of course, is just standing still. Greencore FD Alan Williams, in between telling the colourful story of how he got there and talking about the evolution of the business to become the UK’s dominant sandwich maker, speaks of why the company has decided to go feet-first into the US market, which is not known for its love of pre-made sarnies.

Now, at least, you can gauge the risk to your organisation and family of you spending 30 minutes perusing the magazine. I think it’s time very well spent.

 

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