“Risk” is making a comeback

With crisis comes opportunity. I’ve been reading a number of articles recently on the rise of risk management as an area of critical focus within organizations, after a period when some had lamented a reduced emphasis on the discipline.

From the number of associations representing risk management professionals, there’s no shortage of types of risk being managed, from financial and business risk to specializations such as public sector or public health risk.

I was struck this week by the growing use of “risk management” as a marketing term. Take any word and insert “risk management,” “risk analysis” or “risk assessment” after that word and you have a new way of marketing your practice specialties. For example: financial, credit, insurance, human resources, health insurance, information, information systems, investment and reputation risk management have all crossed my path as areas of expertise tied to risk analysis services in the past week.

A sales call offering an “equipment risk analysis” to save OSCPA money on facility utility expenses drew my attention to the high leveraging of this term as businesses take a hard look at controlling costs in the current economy.

At least one accounting/consulting firm’s marketing department has tuned into increased interest in risk – a search for “risk management” attached to various terms above on one of my favorite business news sites returned a number of different bios from that site’s user community. Each was from the same firm identifying an individual who specializes in that area of practice – a great way to make use of online networking to promote their business.

How can you best manage this opportunity? While written before the full impact of the credit crisis was known, a Fast Company article from December 2007 provides tips that are still relevant today on “How to Help Your Company Focus on the New World of Risk”.

Stealing a quote from an interview with Ron Dembo, CEO of Algorithmics Inc., “If you’re not managing risk, you can’t claim to be managing your business.” CPAs specialize in helping companies make sense of a changing and complex world. Stepping up our skills in risk management is a critical part of focusing on that future.


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