differently, get on with things and add real value. This presents further opportunities for businesses looking to move forward in a changing world.” All of these individual aspects, while important, matter

little without good governance. And as Matthew explains, sound governance transcends business; influencing our communities and our local and national economy as a result. “I think we’re moving into a space that focuses on good

governance and this is something which is critical to all businesses, irrespective of size; it isn’t just about ensuring a business is profitable, the most important thing is that it is sustainable. “Boards may in the not too distant past have believed

their responsibility lay exclusively with shareholders but there is a wider responsibility to communities and this goes way beyond Corporate Social Responsibility. If organisations want to flourish they have to draw on resources in the community so that they can continue to build those communities – you only have to think about a firm that goes out of business and the devastation that can have on a particular community. Boards are realising their decisions go beyond the boardroom table, it’s the wider impact on staff and the communities we work and operate in.” So what assistance is available for businesses when it

comes to good governance, robust processes and ensuring the ingredients are right to consolidate and grow? “We have a publication at RSM called Trust in the

Boardroom which identifies five key areas - Compliance; Transparency; Behaviour and Skills; Impact and Future- proofing Your Organisation and this underpins everything we do. I use a model when I speak with customers called Licence to Operate and that’s about ensuring businesses have the right footings and foundations in place so that they’re not just sustainable but in a position to grow – it’s like the old adage, you can’t have a house built on sand. “Licence to Operate covers six dimensions, and our

Insight4GRC digital platform (featured in last month’s magazine) helps deploy these dimensions in an effective and efficient manner. “The dimensions include Policy and Procedures; Risk

Assessment; Key controls; Ability to learn and Develop as an Organisation; Performance Measurement and Oversight and Scrutiny. Many organisations see these dimensions down on paper and say “yes, we do all that” but when each area is explored in detail they often find things are not quite as robust as they might want, or that information they are relying on is out of date. “Insight is a cost effective governance, risk and

compliance software that allows you to automate your licence to operate, gather information and access it in real time in order to report and monitor.

‘Small businesses are realising they can be based in the East Midlands but trade around the world’

“So as a board, you might be running a business which is

geographically wide spread – a lot of SMEs work across a large area as well as big corporates - and the ability to have this available 24/7 is incredibly valuable.” And what makes adapting and preparing for chance so

crucial is that, Matthew suggests, many of the challenges that face a business are in an organisation’s gift to mitigate. “If you look at organisations historically that have failed

right through to modern-day failures, many elements could have been controlled and managed earlier in the process and instead, decisions have or haven’t been made; leading to a crisis and subsequent knock-on effects. “In my experience 80% of what Insight4GRC does is

focus on making sure businesses have the knowledge, confidence and assurances that everything is working as it should so that your business is safe, resilient, sustainable and you have that licence to operate. “The other 20% is about looking ahead and preparing for

the future, helping businesses make decisions based on the information they are receiving. “A business leader I spoke with recently told me he was

just as interested in understanding why an area of the business was doing well as the areas that weren’t performing so well, and that makes sense. Less well-performing areas can often be examined quite quickly with issues identified, whereas when you have a part of the business exceeding expectations it is important to understand why it is doing so and how you can continue that trajectory.” And it is that balance between risk and reward, future-

proofing and exploring opportunities which will be key to businesses prevailing and succeeding in the future. For Matthew, while challenges are par for the course, the

future remains a source for optimism. “There are a lot of businesses out there excited about

the future,” he concludes. “People are thinking about how they can do more business.

Even small businesses are realising they can be based in the East Midlands but trade around the world, for example. “We’ve had and continue to have a lot of uncertainty but

businesses are resilient and there’s a definite feel that businesses want to get on with doing what they are good at and, ultimately, looking to grow. Making sure they have the sound footing to do so is therefore a crucial element, and that’s why ensuring good governance at this time, including the use Insight4GRC, is a worthy boardroom discussion.”

58 business network November 2019

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