Each year, there are a handful of survey-based research reports that are highly anticipated for those of us who like to peer into the risk horizon. In September, I shared insights on the ECIIA’s 2022 Risk in Focus report, which surveyed European chief audit executives on vulnerabilities facing their organizations in the year ahead. The blog, which was posted the same day the report was released, generated more readership than any blog I’d written in 2021.
Today, another highly anticipated report is being released. The 10th annual Executive Perspectives on Top Risks is a joint undertaking by North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative and Protiviti. Based on a survey of more than 1,450 director and executives worldwide, this report offers insights on risks in 2022 as well as 10 years from now.
I always expect reports like Top Risks to illuminate the risk outlook through the lens of the C-suite and boardroom, and this year’s report doesn’t disappoint.
Executives believe the top seven risks their organizations will face in 2022 are:
The list makes it clear that executives believe COVID-related risks could still present major obstacles for their organizations as the third year of the pandemic unfolds. That contrasts with recent 2022 risk surveys of chief audit executives that do not include COVID-related issues among their top five risks. When gaps are evident in how risks are seen, it is a good idea for internal auditors to sit down with their most critical stakeholders to better understand why their views are not aligned.
This is the second Top Risks report that also prompted executives for an assessment of what their organizations could face 10 years out. When asked how risks could affect their organizations in 2031, the top five were:
The most striking difference in this year’s report versus last year’s is where executives cite the emergence of “economic conditions including inflationary pressures” as a potential challenge in 2031. The sudden resurgence of inflation in a number of developed countries has clearly spooked executives, and this is a risk that clearly should be on internal audit’s radar.
As the report notes, “People and culture are at the top of the (risk) agenda.” In discussing themes for the decade ahead, I believe the report summed it up best with these words:
Buckle up; a disruptive and volatile decade lies ahead. The rapid speed of disruptive innovation, threat of substitute products and services, and ease of entrance of new competitors into the industry are all top risks looking out 10 years.
The Top Risks report is far too comprehensive for me to summarize it all in this blog. There are insightful discussions on topics such as:
The report also contains great analysis by industry, geographic region and more.
As with ECIIA’s 2022 Risk in Focus report, the only way to truly appreciate the extraordinary insights in this report is to make it a priority to read it thoroughly.
Finally, congratulations to my friends and colleagues at NC State and Protiviti on another outstanding and timely report on the top risks that lie ahead.