Business Leaders' Conference day 4: Kilkenny

PwC Kilkenny hosts its inaugural Business Leaders' Conference this afternoon at Mount Juliet.

The event addressed the need for clear and decisive leadership to help businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’. Key points noted were:

  • Resilient leadership is about having the agility to create and seize opportunities
  • Winning organisations will be those that can drive rapid creativity
  • One of the best tools to become more resilient is effective risk management

Addressing the conference, Billy Sweetman, Partner, PwC South-East Practice, said:

"With unprecedented uncertainty and change over the last few years, there has never been a greater need for clear and decisive leadership - so that the business can seize opportunities and adapt quickly to changing circumstances. The early adaptors are the winners. This requires staying very close to customers and having a culture of open communications so that the right decisions can be made on time. It also requires having the right people in the right jobs with the right skills. Such leadership will ensure an organisation remains resilient, having the capacity to survive and ultimately delivering growth."

Gavin Duffy, Media Coach and Dragon’s Den Presenter said: "There is never a bad time to set up a good business but in a recession a good idea with the right price point will always sell. This is because in a recession, if successful, people are less likely to copy the idea."

Gavin advised businesses not to waste the crisis. "Use the recession to re-engineer your business and prepare it for the 21st century."

Commenting on tax matters, Ronan Furlong, Tax Partner, PwC South-East Practice added: "With over €1 billion Euro in tax adjustments planned for Budget 2013 and commitments made not to increase income taxes, Budget 2013 promises to be a mine field for the Government to navigate. In addition, as International tax competition is becoming an increasing area of focus with many competitor jurisdictions amending their tax regimes to attract increasing amounts of Foreign Direct Investment, great care needs to be taken not to place obstacles in the way of job creation or direct investment into this country."

Commenting on the economy, Austin Hughes, Chief Economist, KBC Bank added: “From a business perspective, there have been some encouraging developments in the Irish economy of late that may have been overshadowed by a gloomy international picture. First of all, there are signs that Irish exports have held up reasonably well in the face of weaker global conditions. In addition, there is increasing evidence that domestic activity has begun to stabilise, albeit, at fairly weak levels. As a result, economic growth should be around 0.3% in 2012 and about 1.5% next year. While this might seem fairly modest, Irish GDP growth is likely to be stronger than the Eurozone average both this year and next – the first time this has happened since 2007.

“A difficult external backdrop and another tough budget means the turnaround we are now seeing in the Irish economy will remain uneven and hesitant will into 2013. However, numbers at work should level off after five years of decline and unemployment may begin to edge lower. With a little luck, even a modest improvement should prompt a gradual easing in a deeply entrenched ‘fear factor’ that is curbing consumer spending and leading companies to postpone investment and new hiring. That, in turn, would cause the recovery to become broader and stronger.”

Martin Freyne, Partner, PwC South-East Practice added "The early adaptors are the winners. This requires in particular staying very close to customers and having a culture of open communications so that the right decisions can be made on time. It also requires having the right people in the right jobs with the right skills. Such leadership will ensure an organisation remains resilient, having the capacity to survive and ultimately delivering growth."

Billy Sweetman concluded:

"One of the best tools business leaders can use to address the challenges they face – and to become more resilient – is effective risk management. The most important areas where greater value can be derived from risk management include more accurate assessment of organisation culture, defining the organisation’s appetite for risk, reporting of risk information to the Board and better management of emerging risks."

ENDS

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