No question about it! In economically uncertain times, many companies are susceptible to crises. Now is the time to take special care in risk management. In times of energy crisis, Ukraine conflict and supply bottlenecks, very few companies know what tomorrow will bring and drive on sight. However, anticipating the development of one’s company is crucial, especially in volatile times, in order to recognize crisis indicators in good time and largely avoid a crisis that could threaten the company’s existence. The StaRUG has made this a corporate duty. The Stabilization and Restructuring Framework Act, which came into force on January 1, 2021, aims to protect companies from insolvency and support them in a restructuring process through various instruments. Permanent planning and transparent risk management are mandatory components in the entrepreneurial toolbox. This enables management to assess how the company is developing at any time and to identify crisis indicators before the crisis makes big waves.
The world of work is changing dramatically and is challenging HR managers. Whether it’s the shortage of skilled workers, succession management or digitalization: there’s a lack of personnel here, a lack of sufficient skills there. These dynamics have led to an increasing professionalization of HR management. State-of-the-art planning of personnel requirements forms an important and valid basis here.
There is no doubt that the global economy is currently facing major challenges and upheavals. But no matter how global trade and economic relations develop: For all companies with plans for growth, internationalization is on the agenda sooner or later. Opening up new markets is as exciting as it is challenging. A smart approach is the key here. We have already supported many companies in their internationalization and know the enormous opportunities. And also the hurdles.
Succession is everything. Sooner or later, every company will have to face it. And for many SMEs in this country, in the not too distant future. According to estimates by the Bonn Institute for SME Research, around 190,000 company successions are due to take place between 2022 and 2026 because the management is leaving. The figures vary greatly from state to state – Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg are most affected. Due to demographic factors, the number of handovers per year tends to increase. Since most companies are family businesses, the internal family handover is the number one succession solution. But what happens if there are no competent descendants willing to lead the company? Then there are two options: Management buy-in (MBI) and management buy-out (MBO). What sounds complicated is actually quite simple: In an MBI, the company is sold to an external management, i.e. to a third party. And in the case of an MBO, the company is sold to management from within the company, for example to the management or employees. Whether the succession can be arranged within the family, within the company or outside the company, and which succession solution is best in each case, depends on the individual factors of the company.
Strategy, liquidity, earnings: a company crisis can have various causes. Well-established crisis compliance shows the right steps to take in the individual situation. The risk of a crisis has increased significantly in recent years and more recently against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Ukraine war – even for seasoned companies. Moreover, in times of numerous high-profile corporate scandals, the liability claims of boards for misconduct have come into focus. Against this background, crisis compliance management is currently experiencing a strong upswing.
Introducing new processes, mastering transformations, overcoming challenges: A company that is intensively concerned with itself can be highly satisfied with its performance. But where is the customer? The needs of customers change at least as fast as the markets. A company must keep up if it does not want to be left behind by the competition. This calls for a consistent change of perspective from time to time: the focus is not on the company and its products, but on the customer and his or her needs.
“Of course, we want to grow. We know our markets and we know which buttons to push” – this is a typical reaction of owners and managers of small and medium-sized companies when it comes to the planned development of their own company. After all, entrepreneurial success up to now has been based precisely on knowledge of the markets and has often been successfully implemented in the niche. But what happens when the company is faced with growth options that hold as many opportunities as risks?
Some companies take what feels like an eternity to prepare their annual financial statements. Other companies have prepared their annual financial statements one month after the balance sheet date – often also certified by the auditor. The “fast close”, i.e., the rapid preparation and – if necessary – the audit of the annual financial statements, provides stakeholders with timely information on the company’s assets, financial and earnings situation. Whether banks, suppliers, or management – up-to-date reporting is a competitive advantage and thus a real SME issue. How do you achieve high speed for your annual financial statement?
Up and down the country, companies are rumbling. There are already too few skilled workers and in the coming years masses of baby boomers will leave the labour market. The large vacancies that will arise here cannot be covered by the next generation by a long shot. In parallel, current topics such as digitalisation, sustainability or supply chains demand fundamental transformation processes from companies. New structures and competences are needed for all these challenges. This presents HR managers with the task of mastering the balancing act between the changed labour market and the changed corporate world. To do this, they need a systematic and structured approach to competences. Thus, competence management is increasingly moving into the focus of many companies. Never before has it been more urgent to know the competencies of employees and to develop personnel in a targeted manner in order to secure the company’s ability to act and innovate.
It’s the combination that makes the difference! Different skills, practical knowledge and solid expertise are the basis of our business. As diverse as our team is, our common basis is our affinity for medium-sized businesses and for the people who shape them.
Our Consulting Partner Karin Scherer
“If you want to know something, ask an experienced person and not a scientist” – Chinese wisdom