Stock to Employees—Not Always Such a Good Idea!

Two of the common questions we field from our clients while advising them on a number of matters are “What should I be looking for?” and “What are my blind spots?” When we get those questions, we often talk to them about items like succession issues, terminating unprofitable customers, and streamlining operations.

But there are a handful of topics that are a little less strategic, yet still critical to an organization’s success and well-being. A few questions we often ask are:

  1. Have you adequately evaluated your cyber risks via vulnerability and penetration testing?
  2. Do you periodically test and restore backup files to ensure the backup information is retrievable if needed? We have seen too many situations in which client information was backed up, but when needed to be restored it was not available, which resulted in adverse consequences for the company.
  3. Have you determined the top threats to your reputation and planned how such risks can be mitigated? Is there a more valuable asset than your reputation?
  4. Have you anticipated your customers’ futures and how they may impact your business? Will you remain relevant 25 years from now?
  5. Is your digital strategy for marketing, sales, and hiring in line with best practices? Many companies are falling woefully behind and do not recognize it.
  6. If a key person in the organization unexpectedly does not show up for work one day do you have an action plan to follow that morning? Better decisions are made during calmer times than when tragedy strikes.
  7. Do you have a clearly documented and articulated plan regarding what happens if a disaster strikes your operating facility? This is an important exercise in which to engage your team.
  8. Are controls over cash, wire transfers, and inventory periodically reviewed? Too many companies rely on their confidence in employees rather than implementing sound, easy controls like call backs on wires and dual signatures on checks. In today’s world of internet shopping almost any company’s inventory is marketable.
  9. Do you have the right people on the team to help you accomplish your goals? Imagine you are starting over—create your ideal organization chart, evaluate the required skills for each position, and then perform an analysis of the gap between what you have and what you need.
  10. Are the members of your team all pulling in the same direction or are they functioning in silos? The most successful companies operate in an environment of company first and department and individual successes second. Do you promote and reward team behavior?

Effective leaders plan for everything and serve as chief risk officers. The items discussed above are certainly not all inclusive, but are topics that need to be considered for every organization. How are you doing?

Stephen W. Christian, CPA

Stephen W. Christian is a director at Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email or 215.441.4600. 


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