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Taking the long-term view more important than ever for boards says new Deloitte report

2019 Directors’ Alert identifies board responsibilities and focus areas that benefit from long-term thinking.

Auckland, New Zealand — 7 February 2019  — A new report from Deloitte examines how boards of directors can inject long-term thinking into their oversight role in an age of disruption and uncertainty.

The 10th edition of the Deloitte Directors’ Alert, entitled “Taking the long-term view”, canvasses the views of business leaders and non-executive directors from around the world. It identifies board responsibilities and focus areas that benefit from the application of a long-term lens.

Deloitte partner Brett Tomkins says the requirement for greater transparency in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting is one of these areas.

“For example, guidance from the NZX asks listed companies here to ‘report or explain’ their ESG opportunities and risks. This greater transparency in ESG reporting has the ability to influence reputation, talent acquisition and business value for public and private companies alike,” says Mr Tomkins.

“Business activities have both positive and negative impacts on society as a whole. They provide jobs for local communities and goods and services desired by their customers. However, they use scarce resources and their activities almost inevitably have social and environmental impacts. The importance of governance in this paradigm is vital. Boards make decisions today that reach far into the future and as such need to ensure they assess, reimagine and challenge their organisation’s impacts.”

Other areas that benefit from the application of a long-term lens include:

  • Understanding the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) – The fourth industrial revolution, often referred to as Industry 4.0, is driven by new technologies and relentless digitalisation. It will require boards and management teams to plan for the long term and do so in new ways. The novelty and speed of Industry 4.0 may appear to demand snap judgments and rapid responses. But that very urgency requires the board and management to grasp the long-term implications of this massive shift.
  • Navigating tax strategy in a digital world – Tax has become a high-priority agenda item for boards as government and businesses work within well-established tax frameworks not designed for a digitalised world. Amid tax rate and policy changes and reviews, organisations should be consciously shaping their tax strategies to ensure they are fully engaged with tax policy makers and prepared for the opportunities and risks that tax modifications can bring.
  • Investor engagement and activist shareholder strategies – No industry or public company is immune to shareholder activism – whether this is constructive or confrontational. Operating in an environment of intensifying shareholder activism and rising interest in corporate governance, organisations need to be prepared to engage with shareholders proactively and to have a robust and long-term plan for shareholder engagement.

“As the ultimate stewards of the organisation’s long-term value, the board must look beyond the immediate future and guide management to do the same,” says Mr Tomkins.

“The board should also urge management to take steps now to understand and address conditions, risks, and opportunities that are likely to emerge in the years ahead. There are too many examples of companies that are focused on short term horizons and returns rather than directing attention to the long-term impact of their strategies, decisions, and initiatives,” he concludes.

Directors’ Alert 2019: Taking the long-term view can be downloaded or read here.

About Deloitte in New Zealand

Deloitte New Zealand brings together more than 1300 specialist professionals providing audit, tax, technology and systems, cloud and innovation, strategy and performance improvement, risk management, corporate finance, business recovery, forensic and accounting services. Our people are based in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown; serving clients that range from New Zealand’s largest companies and public sector organisations to smaller businesses with ambition to grow. For more information about Deloitte in New Zealand, go to our website www.deloitte.co.nz.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

Deloitte provides audit & assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. To learn more about how Deloitte’s approximately 264,000 professionals make an impact that matters, please connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Media Contact:

Alexandra Grace
Communications Manager
Deloitte New Zealand
04 470 3770

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