How the risk of a pandemic might affect your company

A few days ago, probably through Twitter, I found an interesting site for auditors and other risk and compliance professionals called Compliance Week. Based in Boston, they publish a monthly magazine, a weekly email newsletter, and host several blogs and forums on the web.

What led me to the site was a link to a blog post on the risk posed by the swine flu virus, and the observation was made that companies are beginning to include this risk in their disclosures to regulators.

The outbreak is more likely to impact the disclosures of companies in certain industries, such as those in the retail, hospitality, travel, restaurant, or gaming sectors, as well as cruise ship, theme park, and mall operators… For some companies, the pandemic could potentially affect customer traffic, while for others it could affect their ability to staff their own locations or their supply chain.

One of the most interesting projects I’ve worked on since leaving public accounting was a risk assessment, because it encompassed not just the types of risks that I was comfortable with such as reporting and compliance risks, but also more operational and strategic risks. The risk posed by a pandemic wasn’t one that I had thought of at the time, which is likely because my business isn’t in any of those industries mentioned in the article. recently posted on the topic as well, noting that Starwood Hotels & Resorts included pandemics and specifically swine flu in their first quarter 10-Q, and in doing so have joined other companies such as American Express and Expedia.

How would a pandemic affect your company’s business?

2 thoughts on “How the risk of a pandemic might affect your company

  1. I sure hope another Pandemic does not hit our world again. I can’t bear to see that many people die!! Hopefully it will stay out of the US again.

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