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BDO Global Risk Landscape Report 2021 - The Art of the Unknown

09 July 2021

Nearly half of global businesses say COVID-19’s impact was worse or much worse than expected.

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 July 2021 – The newly released Global Risk Landscape Report 2021 by BDO highlights the pressures that companies have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the result that risk management frameworks are under necessary scrutiny.

Nearly half of global businesses found the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to be worse or much worse than expected, according to the sixth annual BDO Global Risk Landscape report, The Art of the Unknown.

A survey of 500 C-suite executives across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas shows that nearly half (48%) of companies found the pandemic to have been worse or much worse than expected.

Of the businesses that participated, 90% are completely re-evaluating their risk frameworks. Businesses that welcomed risk coped better during the COVID-19 pandemic than risk-averse organisations.

Only a quarter of businesses reacted by welcoming and adapting to risk, while double the number (52%) of risk-averse firms said they had experienced worse impacts than anticipated.

The environment of prolonged uncertainty and rapid change created by the pandemic also challenged existing risk management practices: 90% of executives say the events of 2020 have triggered their organisation to re-evaluate its risk framework entirely.

Sanjay Sidhu, Executive Director, Advisory at BDO in Malaysia, says:

"Risks linked to the COVID-19 pandemic imposed numerous pressures on companies, particularly in relation to the inadequacy of technology or lack of digital transformation.

“Companies with an agile mindset and a risk-welcoming attitude tend to cope better. While this has been seen in the environment of Covid, it nevertheless remains a reflection of how corporate attitudes to risk flow through to their wellbeing in general. 

“The best way to deal with risk is to understand your company and its strengths and weaknesses. Companies must learn to live with uncertainty and unexpected crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The more you improve your understanding of risks through agile recognition of changes in circumstances and environment, and the use of new technology and accurate data, the more you can improve your ability to adapt when the next crisis occurs.”

To read the full report, visit the BDO website at:


BDO in Malaysia is a member firm of BDO International, the world’s 5th largest network of professional firms providing audit & assurance, advisory and tax services to businesses ranging from established multinational conglomerates to growth-oriented organisations, whether public or private.

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