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Finance & related services

Financial factors rank top of risks worrying Polish business

By Mariusz Pepłoński, business development director in the Financial Risk Department at Aon Polska
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Aon’s Polish Risk Management Survey is conducted every two years to identify the challenges faced by organisations and how they assess and respond to threats.

The results of latest Polish ranking of key risks vary greatly from the global or European rankings. As in previous years, the Top Ten in Poland is dominated by financial risks, which occupy half of the positions. This proves the current problems with payments from counterparties, or uncertainty related to obtaining loans, which is significant in certain industries.

The number of bankruptcies on the Polish market has increased significantly over the last two years. This is most visible in the transport, wholesale and construction sectors, although the food industry is also in the infamous forefront.

Top Ten risks facing Polish companies, 2019:

  1. Commodity price risk

  2. Counter-party credit risk

  3. Economic slowdown/slow recovery

  4. Cashflow/liquidity risk

  5. Accelerated rates of change in market factors

  6. Increasing competition

  7. Workforce shortage

  8. Absenteeism

  9. Exchange rate fluctuation

  10. Capital availability/credit risk

The three risks in the ranking belong to a group of external factors: economic slowdown, accelerated rates of change in market factors, and increasing competition. The second one, change, has appeared in the Top Ten in Poland and in the world for the first time. Entrepreneurs have noticed that it is increasingly difficult to predict the development of events in today's world, and the organisations managed by them are increasingly exposed to the influence of external factors – and of global dimensions.

Two of the Top Ten risks in Aon's ranking are human capital risks. Both are relatively new in the ranking. The risk related to the workforce shortage first made it into the Top Ten two years ago; this year it maintained its position. However, the risk of absenteeism from the 27th position in the previous edition to eighth position is interesting, as its position in the global (32nd) and European (27th) rankings indicates that this is our local problem.

Łukasz Konotopski, smart benefit manager at Aon, says that companies cope with the risk of absenteeism in a number of ways. Employers are increasingly offering employees attendance bonuses of 3%-8% in addition to the remuneration for not taking advantage of medical leave. Wherever possible, home-office solutions are becoming more popular.

Other key findings:

  • Accelerated rates of change in market factors is the risk that has gained most importance – in Poland it moved from the 31st to fifth position, in Europe it was ranked first and globally third.

  • An important issue is cyber risk, and the difference in understanding its importance in Poland and in the world. Entrepreneurs in our country placed cyberattacks and data breaches in 23rd place, while globally this risk maintains its strong position in the top ten. It might seem that Polish companies will start to pay more attention to cyber threats in coming years, but it turns out that their importance is becoming less relevant, which may be a sign of lack of awareness, or a belief that the company is well prepared.

  • Environmental risk in Poland is much further than in the world – in 33rd place (compared to 22nd globally). Despite the loud public discussion on environmental issues, entrepreneurs do not consider this issue to be particularly important in the context of risk for their business.

Dominika Kozakiewicz, president of the management board of Aon Polska, notes that the risks related to climate change, limited availability of natural resources, or corporate social responsibility are all on very distant positions in the ranking – both in Poland and worldwide. Issues that have a direct impact on the conduct of business obscure those whose effects are somewhat postponed. Now, however, is a good time to reflect on and nurture existing resources.

Polish Risk Management Survey 2019/2020 contains a ranking of 55 risks identified by Polish entrepreneurs together with a comparison to global results and to the previous edition of the survey. It also discusses trends and perspectives in areas such as a formal action plan, financial losses incurred in connection with the materialisation of threats, methods of identifying and assessing risks and how to organise risk management and insurance. In addition, Aon experts comment on legislative change and their impact on management boards, the situation in the construction industry, record-breaking years in terms of bankruptcy, and the problem of human resources as a special risk area.

The profile of respondents in the Aon survey includes small, medium and large companies with different types of activities and representing different industries. The full report is available at www.aon.pl.

About Aon
Aon Poland is a part of Aon plc – the leading global professional services firm providing advice and solution in risk management, retirement and health, at a time when those topics have never been more important to the global economy. Aon plc through its more than 50,000 colleagues worldwide, unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries.

Aon began its operation in Poland in 1992 and today engages over 1,500 employees working in offices around the country: in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Poznań, Szczecin and Wrocław.

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