Staying Agile & Focused on the Long-term

Talent in the boardroom and throughout the organization, along with understanding the potential impact of disruptive risks posed by advances in digital technologies, will be critical areas of focus for boards as they guide their companies forward, according to U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP’s Board Leadership Center (BLC).

Drawing on insights from the BLC’s work and interactions with corporate directors and business leaders throughout the year, the BLC’s On the 2019 board agenda highlights seven areas of focus for boards to keep high on their agendas in the months ahead:

  • Take a hard look at the board’s composition: Is the talent in the boardroom diverse and aligned with the company’s strategy and future needs?
  • Recognize that connecting digital disruption with risk management and strategy is more important—and more challenging—than ever.
  • Help focus the company on long-term value creation and understand the views of all key stakeholders.
  • Make CEO succession and talent development throughout the organization a priority.
  • Assess, monitor, and reinforce culture as a strategic asset and critical risk.
  • Continue to refine boardroom discussions about cybersecurity as a risk management issue.
  • Reassess the company’s crisis prevention and readiness.

“Keeping pace with digital advances and disruptive risk, and driving a strategy focused on long-term value will hinge on having the right talent in the boardroom and throughout the company,” said Dennis T. Whalen, leader of the KPMG Board Leadership Center. “Corporate culture and understanding the views of investors, customers, employees, and communities, also will be key to helping the company navigate for future success.”

In addition, KPMG’s On the 2019 audit committee agenda highlights risk and regulatory issues beyond their core oversight responsibilities (financial reporting integrity, internal controls, and audit quality), that audit committees will want to prioritize.

Sharpening the company’s commitment to culture, ethics, and compliance, understanding how developments in technology and the use of data will impact the finance organization, monitoring implementation of major accounting changes, while keeping the audit committee’s agenda and workload focused will be critical.

“Audit committee members continue to tell us that it is increasingly difficult to oversee the major risks on their agenda on top of their core oversight responsibilities,” said Jose R. Rodriguez, partner in charge and executive director of the KPMG Audit Committee Institute. “While the committee’s core oversight responsibilities remain paramount, it’s also more important than ever to take a fresh look at the agenda as the complexity of business and risk continues to increase.”