Fragile days ahead as economies climb out of recession: Ernst & Young

    Lessons from change report outlines eight key performance goals to assess

TORONTO, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - The economic recovery will be gradual for most companies, fragile for many, and largely dependent on the ability to learn from past mistakes, Ernst & Young says in a new report, Lessons from change.

"The challenges of recovery will vary by industry. The recession shattered business models for asset management, insurance and some areas of banking. But it only accelerated changes already underway in power and utilities, and media and entertainment," explains Jeff Charriere, Partner, Ernst & Young. "Regardless of how hard a sector was hit, all companies should build their new strategy by first assessing what they've learned."

Lessons from change pulls together insight from conversations more than 500 Ernst & Young partners around the world have had with their international clients in the last few months. The report finds the most important lesson businesses can master is the ability to learn.

"We may be back from the economic brink, but we're certainly not back to normal," says Charriere. "Not all of the lessons learned from change will be new, but they are taking on new importance. Integrating those lessons into strategies now can make the difference between just surviving the recession, and actually thriving in the upturn."

In Lessons from change, Ernst & Young identifies eight primary performance goals that companies are, or should be, adopting to prepare for the rebound and to succeed in the new economy:

    1.  Re-evaluate your business model. Embed innovation and constantly
        challenge your existing business models against the new business

    2.  Optimize the flexibility of your operations. Improve the
        responsiveness and flexibility of the organization to drive down
        cost, improve efficiency and adapt more quickly to changes in the

    3.  Maximize capital availability and deployment. Reflect the continued
        importance of cash and constricted funding by optimizing the
        availability and deployment of capital for a more flexible and robust
        balance sheet.

    4.  Examine your market reach. Optimize your global market reach and
        product/service mix to exploit opportunities, achieve optimum returns
        and mitigate risk.

    5.  Accelerate your decision-making and execution. Make and execute
        decisions more quickly to take advantage of shorter windows of
        opportunity and respond more quickly to adverse developments.

    6.  Revitalize the way you manage risk. Identify the full risk complexity
        of the market and develop and align a strong control framework for
        your business.

    7.  Strengthen your management talent. Gain, retain and deploy a
        management team that is capable of addressing the complex market and
        organizational environment.

    8.  Rebuild your stakeholders' confidence. Regain and retain stakeholder
        confidence through transparency and better communication on financial
        and nonfinancial performance.

"Even as the economy improves, it's still not business as usual. Companies need to push new ideas further than ever before," underlines Charriere. "Cash is still critical, but it's not the only factor. Businesses that focus on learning from the past and establishing a new agenda are most likely to succeed. Thriving in this challenging business climate requires flexibility, creativity and imagination - qualities that can be nurtured only by a diversity of ideas and viewpoints."

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 144,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential. For more information, please visit

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information: For further information: Amanda Olliver,, (416) 943-7121; Brooke McLachlan,, (604) 899-3597; Marie-Ève Graniero,, (514) 874-4313

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