Global Execs Zero in on Technology, Compliance and Geo-Political Threats – BDO Global Risk Landscape Study

2017 Global Risk Landscape Study infographic (Graphic: Business Wire)

CHICAGO--()--Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of global business leaders say they’re operating in a riskier world, spurred by increasingly regulated industries, advanced technology and rapid digitalization. That represents a drop of 15 percentage points from 2016, when 87 percent of global business leaders felt the world was a riskier place, according to the 2017 Global Risk Landscape Report from audit and assurance, tax and advisory organization BDO USA.

The drop could indicate businesses feel more confident in the macroeconomic environment, and may reflect improvements in governance, risk management and business continuity planning. The macro risk trends executives expect to have the most impact in the next 10 years include regulatory risk (19 percent), technological changes (16 percent) and increasing competition (13 percent).

“Executives are adjusting to a faster rate of change and more complex changes in their businesses,” said Vicky Gregorcyk, leader of BDO’s Risk Advisory Services practice. “Threats that were once blips on the horizon are now front and center. To manage them, risk management professionals will need to balance the pace at which they adapt business models to seize new opportunities with their implementation and oversight of risk management practices.”

Turbulence in the environment and geo-political sphere

The past year’s rise in populist sentiment and political agendas across the globe, the election of President Donald Trump in the U.S. and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom are leaving waves in their wake. Three-fourths of American respondents said the unpredictable geopolitical and economic environments would impact their business this year. Almost 8 in 10 (78 percent) of European respondents said the same.

Similar turbulence is rocking the natural world. While last year was relatively benign in terms of the number of major catastrophes, natural and man-made disasters caused total economic losses to the tune of $158 billion, according to Swiss Re sigma.

Disruptive technologies

Eighty-five percent of global business leaders say they are not ready to tackle the challenge of technology changes and development. Almost 9 in 10 CEO respondents (88 percent) say innovation and the ability to embrace technological change are the two areas for which their businesses are most unprepared.

While new technologies serve up a buffet of opportunity for companies to improve their products, build efficiencies and drive profitability, arguably the biggest challenge to implementing new technologies is managing cybersecurity risk. According to IBM Security, there was a staggering 6,000 percent rise in ransomware attacks in 2016.

To see the implications across national borders and industry lines, look no further than June’s WannaCry attack, which comprised 75,000 ransomware attacks in 153 countries and an estimated 3,300 infections in the U.S. And the fallout can be severe: IBM and Ponemon estimate a data breach costs companies $4 million on average.

Governance woes

Nine years on from the height of the global financial crisis, business leaders remain concerned about their ability to adapt to compliance pressures. With regulators addressing a variety of issues related to the conduct of financial services firms, 85 percent of leaders in the financial services sector identified regulatory risk as the biggest risk for which their firms are unprepared.

The theme of business resilience continues, and with new corporate governance codes raising the bar on risk management, there is growing recognition that responsibility for risk management ultimately comes from the top.

“The risks we’ve identified require a multifaceted and agile approach with a unique sensitivity to the numerous players involved in each discussion,” said Nigel Burbidge, Partner and Global Chair for Risk and Advisory Services at BDO LLP. “By starting the discussion, we come a step closer to finding the right road ahead, working together to become more resilient to risk and securing success for our future.”

The 2017 BDO Global Risk Landscape Report asked 500 C-suite leaders, board and audit committee members in all major industries in 55 countries, including the U.S. and across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, what they see as the biggest risks facing their businesses now and into the future.

About BDO

BDO is the brand name for BDO USA, LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For more than 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through 63 offices and more than 450 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of 1,408 offices in 154 countries.

BDO USA, LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. For more information, please visit:


Bliss Integrated Communication
Kathryne Hunter, 212-840-1661

Release Summary

BDO USA releases Global Risk Landscape Study surveying 500+ C-Suite executives across industries.


Bliss Integrated Communication
Kathryne Hunter, 212-840-1661