Ten business resolutions for a happier new year: Ernst & Young

    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
        more affordable.

    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
        Notice 52-320).

    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.

For further information:

For further information: To speak to a spokesperson in your area who can
elaborate on these points, please contact: Amanda Olliver,
amanda.olliver@ca.ey.com, (416) 943-7121; Julie Fournier,
julie.fournier@ca.ey.com, (514) 874-4308; Brooke McLachlan,
brooke.mclachlan@ca.ey.com, (604) 899-3597

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