Here in part two of our ‘Deep Dive into Consulting’ series Aoibhín Byrne, Senior Associate, with our Dublin team and an expert in recently qualified practice and tax and careers, takes a closer look at risk advisory.
In a corporate landscape of increased regulation and demand for transparency, assessing, minimising and effectively managing risk is pivotal to business success. Failure to comply with regulations can result in hefty sanctions and legal action from regulators, as well as a tarnished brand reputation and public humiliation.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen advisory firms significantly increase the size of their risk consulting teams; a reflection of the growing need for their services in the market.
To start we’ll take a deeper look into some of the different areas that risk consulting teams specialise in:
Globalisation has created an inter-connected, fluid business community, regardless of geographical location. Many organisations have their headquarters in one country, their manufacturing plant in another as well as multiple business units scattered in various locations. This means that these organisations have to comply with both global and local regulations.
Regulatory risk consultants are subject matter experts in regulatory standards and work with their clients to anticipate and adapt to regulatory changes. This can range from differences in financial reporting requirements from region to region to ensuring data is managed in accordance with data privacy regulations to FS firms ensuring they are compliant with prudential regulations.
An internal audit function performs objective evaluations of the controls put in place in an organisation to effectively manage its risk and comply with regulations. Whilst many large organisations have their own, dedicated internal audit team within the business, some organisations opt to outsource this function to external risk consulting teams. Thus, many risk consultant teams have long-standing internal audit engagements with clients, which can lead to consultants being an almost permanent fixture in their client’s organisation.
Risk consultants also act as strategic advisors to their clients. They carry out assessments of internal audit functions or various controls used by the client, identify areas for improvement and help to implement best-practice processes to ensure the organisation is fully compliant with standards.
IT & Cyber Risk
As technology continues to develop, data has quickly become the lifeblood of business operations, a key contributor to devising strategies and as a means to identify opportunities for growth. Thus, IT risk has become a matter of priority for organisations. IT risk consulting teams offer services on both sides of the coin, so to speak.
As organisations collect and hold an increasing amount of sensitive data, their risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks increases, as outsiders attempt to gain unauthorised access to this data. Risk consultants work with their clients to identify and monitor potential IT threats, ensuring their data is stored, protected and utilised correctly.
On the flip side, these consultants also help their clients to stay up-to-date with the constantly evolving regulatory landscape with regards to data privacy. IT risk teams will often work closely with internal audit or regulatory risk consulting teams to ensure the systems used, and how data is managed in these systems, are compliant with regulations in these areas.
In this article, we have just tipped the iceberg in terms of covering the full breadth of services offered by risk advisory teams. We have no doubt that is in an area of consulting which will continue to grow and we expect teams to become even more specialised and offer very niche services to their clients. In light of the recent global COVID19 pandemic, organisations are likely to want to further strengthen their resilience to risks of all kinds, so it could be an opportune time to make a career move in this space.
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