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Protiviti Identifies Top 10 Business Challenges for 2012 and Offers Recommendations for Audit Committees Achieving customer loyalty and managing regulatory change make the lists for financial institutions and companies outside financial services

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With continued market uncertainty likely on tap for 2012, organizations may find themselves facing 10 major business challenges that will influence their boards' audit committee agendas for the year, according to Protiviti (www.protiviti.com), a global consulting firm. Protiviti reveals these challenges and suggests ways to address them in two publications: The Bulletin - Setting the 2012 Audit Committee Agenda for Non-Financial Services Companies and its companion piece, FS Insights - Setting the 2012 Audit Committee Agenda for Financial Institutions (www.protiviti.com/2012TopChallenges).

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"Boards of directors and their audit committees must be aware of the hurdles and opportunities that lie ahead if business conditions remain uncertain in 2012 and be prepared to advise their organizations quickly and strategically," said Joseph Tarantino, president and CEO of Protiviti. "These two Protiviti publications are intended to start boards on that path."

The top business challenges and audit committee agenda items identified are based on Protiviti's experience with and insights from a broad range of global organizations and their boards, which include financial institutions and companies outside the financial services industry.

"Different industries understandably face different issues and priorities; therefore, the applicability and prioritization of challenges vary accordingly," explains Jim DeLoach, a managing director with Protiviti.  

The 2012 Outlook for Non-Financial Services Companies

According to Protiviti, the top 10 business challenges for non-financial services firms include:

  1. Achieving customer loyalty
  2. Managing supply chain risks and rising commodity costs
  3. Managing increasingly complex privacy and information security issues
  4. Managing regulatory change
  5. Attracting, retaining and developing top talent
  6. Improving business performance to enhance and sustain competitiveness
  7. Adjusting to changing geopolitical dynamics
  8. Capitalizing on the pick-up in mergers and acquisitions and realizing value
  9. Improving information for decision-making by focusing on data management and analytics
  10. Increasing the focus on enterprise risk management (ERM) as risk profiles change

Based on these challenges, DeLoach said, "The top item on a board's audit committee agenda should be to update the company's risk profile to reflect the changing conditions. A lot has happened over the last year from supply chain disruptions to political and economic uncertainty in many countries. As risk profiles change, companies need to take a fresh look at how well they are managing risks. It's crucial that audit committees are satisfied that action plans are in place to manage the most critical existing risks as well as those that could emerge in the near future."

For the complete non-financial company audit committee agenda, download The Bulletin at www.protiviti.com/2012TopChallenges.

The Financial Services Industry Perspective

Change from new regulatory demands to industry restructuring has dominated the financial services landscape in recent years and has shaped the 2012 top challenges for the industry. The top 10 include:

  1. Managing regulatory change
  2. Dealing with industry restructuring
  3. Managing the effects of globalization of financial markets
  4. Improving information for decision-making by focusing on data management and analytics
  5. Increasing the focus on enterprise risk management (ERM) as risk profiles change and regulators demand more
  6. Managing the impact of technological innovation on the business model
  7. Managing increasingly complex privacy and information security issues
  8. Improving business performance to enhance and sustain competitiveness
  9. Achieving true customer loyalty
  10. Attracting, retaining and developing top talent

Updating the risk profile to reflect changing conditions tops Protiviti's list of recommendations for the audit committees of financial services institutions. "In financial services, the risk profile is dynamic and must incorporate emerging risks as they arise," said Carol Beaumier, an executive vice president with Protiviti and the firm's global head of industry programs. "It is important to broaden the assessment of risk with a focus on the critical assumptions underlying the corporate strategy."

For the full agenda for the audit committees of financial institutions, download FS Insights at www.protiviti.com/2012TopChallenges.

To hear Protiviti CEO Joseph Tarantino discuss the top 10 business challenges for 2012, listen to the podcast available at www.protiviti.com/podcasts.

About Protiviti Inc.

Protiviti (www.protiviti.com) is a global consulting firm that helps companies solve problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, risk and internal audit. Through its network of more than 70 offices in over 20 countries, Protiviti has served more than 35 percent of FORTUNE® 1000 and Global 500 companies. The firm also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies.

Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half International is a member of the S&P 500 index.

Protiviti is not licensed or registered as a public accounting firm and does not issue opinions on financial statements or offer attestation services.

SOURCE Protiviti



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