TORONTO, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - The challenges of 2008 won't soon be forgotten,
nor should the lessons that came with them. January presents an opportunity
for businesses to start fresh and reconsider key objectives and priorities. As
companies begin to plan for the upcoming year, Ernst & Young offers 10
resolutions for 2009:
1. Cash is king, manage it well - The most precious asset that
businesses hold, cash must be expertly managed. Cost optimization is
important for all companies - those that are healthy, stressed or
formally restructuring. Businesses need to ensure that, even if
revenues are dropping, they have sufficient cash to meet obligations
when they arise.
2. Pay attention to risk management - One of 2008's biggest lessons was
that unidentified risk can lead to catastrophic results. Leadership
must refocus and redouble their efforts to ensure that effective risk
management is tied directly to business priorities.
3. Be mindful of compensation - Compensation packages, especially around
variable pay, should be examined carefully as changes to pay programs
affect numerous stakeholders in the form of accounting, reported
earnings, disclosure and tax implications.
4. Keep your eyes peeled for M&A opportunities - Companies looking to
expand through M&A should stick to their core services and
competencies and ensure they're making smart purchases. This could
also mean snapping up an underperforming competitor as prices become
5. Hold on to high performers - Many companies are searching for quick
ways to control and reduce costs. While labour may seem like an
obvious expense, retaining top talent during this time can help
companies stay afloat and reduce costs in the longer term.
6. Look beyond here and now - With the Baby Boomers hitting retirement
age, entrepreneurs will have to turn to succession planning, which
could offer opportunities for those looking to expand their core
businesses. It's important that, while navigating current challenges,
businesses don't forget about the future.
7. Make your non-financial metrics count - The current state of the
global economy has naysayers arguing that economic reality will kill
the budding green industry. However, investing in sustainable and
clean technology can create an important competitive advantage in the
form of cost reduction, efficiency improvements, compliance with new
regulations and the creation of new products and services. Sometimes
it pays to be green.
8. Get ready for IFRS, it's coming - International Financial Reporting
Standards (IFRS) are on their way to Canada in 2011. In 2009, public
companies are expected to provide the Canadian Securities
Administrators with a detailed implementation plan and quantify the
conversion's impact on their business, more precisely (CSA Staff
9. Implement smart tax strategies to save you money - Talk to your
advisor and do it early. Businesses can implement tax strategies to
improve cash flow or minimize taxes.
10. See the lemonade, not the lemons - Use the heightened scrutiny caused
by the current financial and economic challenges to identify ways to
improve and grow your business. Remember: a climate of fear and risk
aversion creates real opportunities for investment and innovation if
firms are able to step back and see beyond the current turmoil.
Ernst & Young's professionals across the country are available to expand
on these business tips and some of the other expected challenges and
opportunities for 2009.
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and
advisory services. Worldwide, our 135,000 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 ey.com/ca.
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