As our Business Continuity series ends, we look at everything we covered during the past few months.

We started with an introduction to business continuity, discussing the most vital aspects – business continuity planning (BCP) and management. Then, we looked at several forms of unplanned events and emergencies that could affect the continuity of a business. We discussed the aspects that needed to be taken into consideration to ensure that all crucial issues have been provided for. All core functions need to remain uninterrupted in the event of an unplanned event or emergency. Then we delved deeper, and spoke about the utmost importance of BCP in a business – covering a multitude of benefits, ranging from data protection and disaster recovery to quality control, organisational insurance, and many more.

 

In our last blog, we explained how to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA), which is the first step of drafting a business continuity plan. To reiterate – A BIA is a process of predicting, determining, and evaluating the potential impact and consequences of unplanned disruptions/disasters affecting your company’s systems and processes. It assesses which areas are vulnerable and where potential losses may occur.

 

Today, we go through the necessary steps when drafting your BCP to ensure maximum productivity and peace of mind, knowing that you have all the required arrangements in place if disaster strikes.

 

Conduct a business impact analysis

It is of paramount importance to be aware of which areas in your company are the most vulnerable in an emergency, such as high-risk areas, functions, processes, personnel, etc. This leaves no room for compromise and can calculate the loss or impact on your company in the event of unplanned downtime.

From your BIA findings and calculations, you can accurately predict which operations are critical in your company and need to be reinstated ASAP. You will also be able to project a sustainable amount of downtime and bearable losses related to revenue. This information is essential to be able to start plotting your BCP.

 

Create a backup and recovery strategy

In an unplanned emergency, disaster may strike in several forms – damaged equipment, loss of connectivity, uninhabitable premises, disruption in communications, etc. Each disruption to your routine impacts and contributes towards possible revenue loss. Therefore, recovery strategies function as the backbone of your BCP, providing alternate means to restoring critical business operations identified as priorities in your BIA.

Recovery strategies cover several areas in a company, such as resources and materials, facilities, staff, and IT (such as your business and customer information, sensitive data, and management of online processes relevant to your company). Therefore, it is essential to analyse and predict which resources will be necessary to close or secure any operational gaps between your current capabilities and your recovery requirements.

 

Develop your framework

Once you have identified your unique areas of risk, calculated manageable downtimes, and implemented strategies to provide backup and support regarding critical functions, you can start developing your formal business continuity framework. A BC framework consists of all the necessary documents housing your emergency plan, acting as proper procedural guidance to prevent, prepare, manage, respond, and recover a business from any unplanned event that may occur. The framework should include:

 

  1. Business continuity teams

Every company needs a team dedicated to the handling of all BC aspects. These include:

 

  • keeping all BCP documents relevant and up to date;
  • testing and ensuring the efficiency of the BCP; and
  • activating and managing all BCP plans and protocols in the event of an unplanned event.

The team can be hand-picked based on their position in the company, with every member managing their crucial role and responsibilities.

  1. Relocation options

If your premises become unusable or inaccessible, you need to plan and ensure that you have alternative, temporary options for a base of operations.

 

  1. IT backups

Your company data is one of the most sensitive and vital aspects of a company. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that all information is backed up – not only physically (in the form of alternative hardware) but online as well (backing up your personal data and network infrastructure via online cloud methods). It is necessary to maintain your servers and data in the case of a disruption to your usual IT solutions.

 

  1. Document alternative processes

Your research and analytics grant you the ability to plan around emergencies and have the necessary steps, protocols, and procedures in place as workarounds until normal business operations can resume. These procedures need to be documented step-by-step for personnel to be fully aware of what needs to be done in an emergency.

 

  1. Secure all third-party necessities

You may need extra help to get back up and running after an unplanned event or help with maintaining your core functionalities to keep your business functioning. Make sure that you have a list of third parties that can be used if the need arises.

 

Implement your BCP

Your BCP should be complete at this stage and ready to implement in your company. This includes familiarising and training all departments and employees regarding any processes and responsibilities they are involved in. Hard copies of the formal BCP need to be maintained for all staff members to access, and all IT-related assets and systems need to be reviewed and managed to ensure that everything is up to date.

 

Testing and exercises

Keeping your BCP up to date and relevant to your company is essential. Your BCP is custom-planned to help your company in the event of an emergency, and all data should be accurate if an unplanned event occurs. You can run mock exercises to test the efficiency of your protocols, update your BCP if necessary, and get employees and staff members comfortable and proficient with the procedures that are in place.

 

We hope that we have been able to help you with creating your custom business continuity plan, giving you peace of mind to know that your business is covered in emergencies and unplanned events.

Business continuity planning (BCP) has been our topic of discussion for the past few weeks. First, we explored the vital role it plays in an organisation, and then delved deeper into the subject. Finally, we discussed the vast number of benefits of having effective plans and processes in place in emergency or unplanned events like natural disasters, cybersecurity attacks and public health emergencies.

 

We discovered that a BCP is crucial, irrespective of how big or small a company is, to ensure that it can withstand any form of unplanned event. Each BCP plan should be customised for the specific company or organisation it covers to ensure that all significant areas of the company are covered and accounted for. Unfortunately, very few people know what a BCP entails and what needs to be considered when drafting the plan.

 

Suppose you are new to the concept of BCP, and you do not have any form of BCP in place. In that case, you need to start with the basics and do a full business assessment – covering all processes, vulnerabilities, potential areas of loss if impacted, etc. This is called a business impact analysis (BIA).

 

A BIA is a process of predicting, determining, and evaluating the potential impact and consequences of unplanned disruptions/disasters affecting your company’s systems and processes. It assesses which areas are vulnerable and where potential losses may occur due to a halt in everyday operations and unplanned downtime. Therefore, you identify the most critical business processes that will be necessary to keep your company afloat.

 

The primary purpose of a BIA includes gathering critical information, such as:

 

  • the critical business functions of your company, including service channels, physical storage infrastructure, distribution networks, data systems (physical and cloud), necessary operational utilities, and more;
  • identifying the necessary resources to ensure that essential products and services are still delivered;
  • identifying all contractual and legal obligations of the company;
  • estimating the amount of downtime that the company can afford; and
  • estimating the extent of the impact on the company.

 

The necessary elements contributing towards a successful BIA are as follows:

 

Executive input

Conducting an effective BIA relies on collecting the most relevant and accurate information. As such, you need the help of executives in your company, because no one knows the internal and external operations of a company better than they do. In addition, using the chain-of-command ensures that all tasks can be delegated and executed effectively and efficiently.

 

Organisational understanding

First establish and identify the vital functions and processes relevant to your company. To source the most accurate information, you need to go directly to the key personnel who excel in each important area of interest and who understand it the best. If you do not fully understand your organisation and the vital areas of importance, you will not be able to conduct an effective and reliable BIA.

 

Tools and software

An analysis means nothing without incorporating the correct software and tool usage to comprehend, break down, simplify, and portray the data in the most efficient way. Once you have a firm understanding of all the essential functions and processes in place that play critical roles in your company, you need to use tools. These include data flow diagrams, questionnaires, organisational charts, and the relevant software to analyse the extent of the impact on your business accurately.

 

BIA process

The BIA process is the step where you thoroughly analyse the data you have collected. List each function and process in your company, stating whether they are critical or non-critical, and list the personnel participating in each process.

 

When setting apart and focusing on all critical processes, it is essential to know who the relevant personnel are and precisely how each process works. Next, it is necessary to understand the impact on daily operations and finances of a process and the bare minimum needed to continue functioning if it came to a standstill. Lastly, compose a list of all internal and external dependencies of the company.

 

BIA findings

The last step is to present the findings to all the relevant parties concerned. This includes key personnel, managers, and executives, to ensure that everyone agrees that the data is accurate and specific to the company. Once the BIA has been completed, approval must be granted via executive management to use it to develop a tailor-made BCP.

 

We hope you have gained a better understanding of conducting a thorough, accurate, and reliable BIA. Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog, where we will discuss the inner workings and process of drafting a BCP.

We are exploring the topic of business continuity, and our previous blog revolved around business continuity planning (BCP) and its fundamental role in ensuring the overall continuity of your business during unplanned events.

 

As a reminder, BCP is a set of processes and procedures being put into action to respond to a threat, risk, or crisis that may affect your business and its operations to various degrees.

 

We touched on various forms of events and disasters that could cause interruptions to everyday business operations. We discovered that the only way to ensure that your business survives is to understand all potential risks and having the necessary plans and procedures to prevent any adverse effects caused by an unplanned event.

 

We also delved into the various benefits of a thorough and well-planned business continuity plan, which we continue discussing in our business continuity series:

 

BCP builds a company’s reputation

Implementing a formal, thorough and suitable BCP ensures that all members are aware of the necessary steps that need to be taken in the event of any unplanned emergency and are fully competent to carry out the tasks at hand. It cancels out the need to make hasty and poorly planned decisions in stressful and in-the-moment situations, which may not be the best option for your business in the future. Your plans and procedures form the backbone of your recovery plan and function as a shield to mitigate risks and ensure that your reputation and brand value stay protected and on par.

 

BCP maintains competitive edge

Business continuity relies on bouncing back as quickly as possible and continuing with everyday operations (i.e. restoring communications and networks, recovering vital data, and opening support channels to reconnect with your customers) to minimise risks, such as loss of revenue or dissatisfied customers. If you can restore your daily operations ahead of your competitors while they are still in the process of damage control and getting back onto their feet, you have a big advantage. This creates the opportunity for you to step up and shine – standing out as a business that can be relied upon to meet the needs of its customers, irrespective of the situation.

 

BCP facilitates quality control

As businesses, we make various promises to our customers to have a competitive edge and stand out above the rest. Unfortunately, sometimes it is not easy to deliver on a promise when disaster strikes. The problem is that customers take you at your word and expect you to deliver on that promise, irrespective of what might be going on internally – especially when they are entirely unaware of the challenges you face. Inconsistency in product or service delivery is one of the quickest ways to lose customers. Inconvenience and dissatisfaction force them to look at alternative options. BCPs smoothly pave the way to quickly and efficiently tackle affected areas within your company, minimising disruptions and downtime.

 

 

BCP is an investment in your company

We have no idea when an unplanned event might affect our business operations. However, it is vital to know what to do to minimise the fallout. A BCP is not only to protect your profitability, overall continuity, or to keep customers – it is a solid investment. A BCP requires a significant amount of effort, resources, time, and input from various members in your company, to ensure that you create a solid, long-term solution for unplanned events. It is an on-going investment that needs to be assessed regularly to ensure that it stays effective and up to date. Employees should know what to do in various situations. A BCP can be the difference between the success or failure of your company after an unplanned event.

 

We hope that we have inspired you to invest in a business continuity plan to ensure that you are always covered and ready for whatever situation might disrupt your business operations. It is essential to plan: protect your business.

In our previous blog, we introduced you to the concept of business continuity and lightly touched on the fundamentals surrounding it, nurturing a better understanding. If you are not familiar with the idea or lack the knowledge necessary to successfully implement it in your business, now is the time to learn. There is no way to foretell when disaster may strike or when unplanned occurrences and emergencies will have a massive impact on your business, potentially threatening your business endeavours’ success and longevity. Therefore, it is crucial to have a business continuity plan (BCP) to ensure and guarantee the best possible operational stability and recovery when unplanned events occur.

 

A BCP is a set of processes, including pre-drafted, predetermined protocols and procedures being put into action in response to a threat, risk, or crisis affecting your business and its operations.

 

Interruptions and unplanned occurrences can come in many different and unexpected forms, including:

 

  • cyberattacks and ransomware;
  • human error;
  • technological failure and errors;
  • infrastructural damage;
  • environmental disasters;
  • natural disasters;
  • sabotage; and
  • theft.

 

Many would say BCP is about protecting one’s assets, people, and property, and being able to continue functioning in the event of a disaster, and helping your business recover from unexpected business interruptions. However, business continuity planning offers several other vital benefits. It helps you plan, maintain, and carry out regular activities during specific events to get back on track with everyday business and minimise the impact. These benefits include:

 

Organisational insurance

It is vital to make sure you have the necessary protocols and planning in place to be ready, in control, and hands-on in the case of a possible emergency. This applies to everyone investing in your company – from employees, directors, and investors to customers, suppliers, and brand ambassadors. It is essential to assess the situation calmly in an unplanned event, with the necessary steps already drafted to take charge and take swift action. All the required steps and procedures must be communicated appropriately to minimise the setback and get back on track with normal operational activities.

 

Disaster recovery

The faster you can recover from unplanned events and disasters and return to your usual daily activities; the more likely your chances will be of recovering from the event and its consequences. Being prepared might not stop an unplanned event or disaster, but it will have a significant impact on how much or how badly it affects your business eventually. Unfortunately, many companies do not have the means or the stability to recover from a disaster, whereas the proper implementation of corrective protocols may have kept the business stable enough to recover sufficiently.

 

Minimising downtime

Minimising or eliminating downtime is essential for business continuity. Without the necessary plans or protocols in place to address this crucial factor, you may have to face your business coming to a complete standstill – putting the existence of your company at risk. Not only is it a significant risk, but it is also costly. The longer your downtime lasts, the higher the impact of lost productivity and great financial loss.

 

Protecting data

Irrespective of which field you are in or what services your business delivers, every company has private, valuable, and sensitive data. Some data belongs to customers, who expect data protection. Losing valuable data can be catastrophic for your company. Therefore, it is essential to have an adequate and reliable backup plan – like extra devices and cloud storage, and timely, well-organised data backup. This is necessary to ensure that all client data remains safe and secure and does not fall into the wrong hands.

 

We hope you have found this blog insightful and that it helps you protect and cover your business in the event of a disaster or unplanned occurrence. The benefits, as mentioned above, form part of a vast number of aids, which we will continue discussing in our next blog – keep your eyes peeled for Part 2!

Business continuity pertains to the processes, procedures, decisions, and activities that ensure that an organisation can operate and maintain its critical and essential business functions during emergency events/disasters or unplanned events. These events can range from minor to catastrophic, including natural disasters, pandemics (like Covid-19), cyberattacks, and other external threats. Provision should be made to prepare not only for events that will stop or hinder functions, but also for those that could potentially impact or affect services and functions adversely.

 

Two of the vital areas surrounding business continuity are:

 

  • Business continuity planning: The process of developing a system or plan, which, upon implementation, will be able to help with or prevent operational disasters, interruptions, catastrophes and emergencies. Furthermore, it includes identifying risks relevant to a specific organisation. Once these risks have been determined, the plan should also include how they will affect daily operations, implementing the necessary systems and procedures to reduce the risks. The plan’s purpose is to help an organisation to return swiftly to its normal business routines, despite the occurrence. Once a plan or system has been formalised, it needs to be tested thoroughly to vet its effectiveness.

 

  • Business continuity management: The continuous management and oversight of an applicable and relevant business continuity plan. The aim here is to ensure it is current and up to date.

 

Business continuity involves all planning, preparation, and organising to guarantee that an organisation will perform all vital business functions during emergencies and unplanned events. It identifies and plans for various aspects:

 

  • Providing the necessary means for products and services to still be available to customers.
  • Alternative options to bypass/replace the usually required technology when not available.
  • Identifying what technology is necessary and cannot be substituted via any other means to support crucial business functions.
  • A relocation plan for staff, should the business premises be impacted or classified as unavailable.
  • Constructing teams that will manage and help with the organisation should an emergency event occur.
  • Assuring that backup systems are in place to prevent loss of data and critical information – e.g. secure cloud storage, extra sets of hard copies, or backup hard drives.
  • Identifying core business needs and dependencies to continue functioning correctly, such as crucial staff members and materials/services.
  • Ensuring that an adequate number of staff will be available to assist in the event of a possible emergency.
  • Identifying and providing all necessary support to employees in the event of an emergency or disaster.
  • Establishing a timeline for the amount of time needed to restore the business to be fully operational.
  • Establishing a form of communication to relay vital information to customers and clients and provide the necessary support if a disaster or unplanned event occurred.
  • Frequently planned exercises to ensure that the systems and procedures in place are relevant and functional.
  • Official documentation covering all processes, procedures, decisions, and activities decided upon to plan for business continuity.

 

Any form of disruption of or interference with the daily functionality of an organisation carries the risk of loss of revenue or the threat of continued unsustainability in the long run, depending on the severity of the disruption. It is vital to have processes in place for any form of interference that might affect your company negatively. Being prepared can significantly shorten recovery time from an unplanned event. We hope you find this blog helpful.

In this week’s blog, I conclude the “Ask Me Anything” series. I hope you have found it helpful.

  1. What is the mission and vision for Okina?
Mission

To inform, guide, and educate.

Vision

To be the best at helping our clients to run effective board meetings, discharge their duties and implement sound corporate governance practices, and empower them through education.

  1. Why do clients need your services and which industries benefit the most from it?

Topics like ethics, risk, audits, compliance, information technology, and stakeholders in corporate governance, applies to business in all industries. In the past, business owners argued that corporate governance was only intended for publicly listed companies because public funds were invested, and it came with a level of accountability, transparency, and reporting. That is no longer the case. The consistent increase in corporate failures, state capture, corruption, bribery and the like across all entities highlights the need for self-regulated corporate governance. The King IV Report on Corporate Governance™ has incorporated sector supplements that apply to additional entities such as state-owned enterprises, non-profit organisations, municipalities and so forth.

So why do clients need Okina?

Price

We offer affordable professional services. At Okina, we know that the pandemic has affected most businesses and that we are all together in this. To support business and to build relationships, we offer a discount to new customers.

Reliability

With close to 20 years of experience, our clients can trust the quality of service they receive. At Okina, we take care of our clients’ needs and we collaborate with our clients to provide the best solution for their businesses.

Sustainability and convenience

Okina offers all its services online, which is convenient and reduces the carbon footprint and the impact on the environment and the planet.

Transparency

At Okina there are no hidden costs. What we provide in the proposal is what we deliver and what the client pays for.

 

  1. How successful can a business be without implementing any form of corporate governance?

Most businesses implement some form of corporate governance when they start, but they lack the awareness needed for good governance. Companies that have poor governance structures may fall victim to fraud, financial difficulties, and lack of procedural evidence. This can make it challenging when trying to salvage the situation. Okina can help with the documentation of the processes to build a corporate governance framework and procedural evidence that can stand them in good stead. Having this in place increases accountability, transparency, efficiency and good financial performance.

  1. What is necessary for becoming a successful leader?

Some people are born to be great leaders. Others believe that leaders are made. However, there is no manual or guide that will give you all the tips to become a great leader. What is certain is that leadership requires essential character traits. Check out the blog for the full list here.

  1. What are some of the biggest challenges you come across in companies that you assess?

Common challenges include a lack of director diversity, conflicts of interest issues, inadequate board composition, poor transparency, limited IT, poor sustainability, risk oversight, and no succession planning.

  1. What should be the key strategic priorities for the board of directors?

The board of directors should provide strategic oversight in the organisation. In doing so, directors should constructively challenge management’s strategies or their underlying assumptions, particularly where there are links between strategy and risks.

  1. How would you foster greater innovation?

As an entrepreneur, one must be innovative and cultivate the ability to pivot at any time or come up with new ideas. One of the great lessons the pandemic has taught us is that without innovation, we will not survive. The way I foster innovation in my organisation is by consistently thinking outside the box, treating my clients’ businesses like my own, having a flat structure, and being easy to access at the touch of a button.

 

I hope that the “Ask Me Anything” blog series has shed some light on my business and myself. Should you wish to make use of our services, please do not hesitate to contact us on info@website15.pixelreview.co.za.

1. Why did you start a business in the co-sec field?

Corporate governance is the field where I am most qualified and experienced, and I wanted to share the experience with businesses that might benefit from guidance on ethical leadership and corporate governance. It has also been a dream of mine to own a business and in many ways, this is my dream come true.

2. Which services do you offer?

Having been a company secretary, director, and chairperson, I experienced corporate governance from different perspectives. These positions overlap in many ways. In putting together the services for Okina, I wanted to be a one-stop shop for businesses that offers many related services.

Board portal software (online service)

This is an amazing tool that can change the lives of company secretaries, administrators, and directors. When I was sketching out the services, this was at the top of my list. I approached the providers in London and after sealing the deal in New York, I knew that this was the best product that I could bring to my clients, anywhere in the world. Having worked with it myself and introducing the directors and management to board portal software, I witnessed how much value it added when it came to saving time, and improving efficiency and accessibility. For directors who travel internationally, having access to the system makes their lives really easy. They can work online or offline and they have everything they need at the touch of a button.

We offer free demonstrations online to introduce clients to the software.

Board administration (online meetings and communication)

This is a crucial service as it addresses company secretarial and corporate governance advisory services, including the following:

Company secretarial services

• Appointing a company secretary
• Setting up boards and committees (board charters, terms of reference, checklists, and work plans)
• Planning annual board cycles (agendas and information coordination)
• Compiling board packs
• Managing meetings (meeting attendance, minutes, and matters arising)
• Compiling director induction packs

Advisory services

• Corporate governance framework
• Board evaluations
• King IV assessments
• Board governance advice and guidance

Board training services (online via Zoom)

This is an important aspect of the service because education is the key to success. Generally, people will steer clear of something that they do not know, simply because they do not want to ask. However, when you are in a situation where information is relayed in a safe space, you may get all the answers you need without having to raise your hand. I offer three important courses:

• Director induction

Every new director, whether experienced or not, needs an induction into the new role and the organisation. In the past where I have inducted directors, existing directors saw value in what I was doing with the new appointments and asked to be included. I welcomed it. The more directors understand about the business, the governance systems, and processes, the reasons for them and how to use them effectively as directors (to their advantage), the more effectively and efficiently the board will operate.

• Director fiduciary duties

I decided to develop this course because every director needs a refresher course on what their duties are. In general, directors work for years without having regular updates on the topic as a refresher and I wanted to make this readily available.

• Corporate governance for leaders

This course is important because as much as we talk about the overarching structure that governs us in business, we need to dive into ethical leadership and look at the theory and the practical aspects of implementation. This course can also be modified to fit middle and senior management to educate them about being ethical leaders in their existing roles, and build a strong management team in future.

3. How do you plan to grow with Okina going forward and what do you want to achieve?

For the first few years of business, most companies are focused on survival and that is where my business is currently. However, prioritising the growth of my company is one of the best ways to increase the chances of it not only lasting, but also contributing to my economic well-being and having a stable financial future. My focus is on retaining existing clients, attracting new clients, providing an excellent client experience, controlling costs, marketing consistently, and maximising social media.

Keep your eyes open for the second part of the interview

  1. How would you describe yourself and your work ethic?

I am a hard worker, I am loyal, I am a woman of my word and I have integrity, I am reliable, disciplined, and professional. In my work, I always go the extra mile. I can be “black‑and‑white” and rigid in my approach, yet flexible enough to accommodate situations when presented with them.

  1. Which direction did you want to go in your career originally?

My first choice was to work in media. If that were not possible, business or law. My parents did not agree with my first career choice, so I chose law. I worked in a law firm and I enjoyed litigation, drafting legal documents, instructing counsel, and representing clients in court. After being admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa, I continued working in the law firm. I then moved to a parastatal where I worked as a mediator before joining the corporate world, and there I began my career in corporate governance.

  1. What are your greatest achievements thus far?

My greatest achievements are being admitted as an attorney to the High Court of South Africa, graduating with my master’s degree in shipping, and starting and funding my own businesses.

  1. What are your biggest aspirations and goals?

I aspire to be an inspiration and an example to others both in business and in my personal life. My goal is to have a positive impact on business and broader society.

  1. What are your biggest challenges?

Challenges in life are a given, and they can be used to one’s advantage. Each one is an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement. Ultimately the goal is to use what you learn while growing to become the best version of yourself. Being a first-time entrepreneur is a learning and growth experience for me. It tests me in so many ways, like resilience, patience, determination, self-motivation, and self-reliance – to name but a few. Building a business during a pandemic while staying afloat financially has been super challenging, but there is a reason for everything. I believe that this situation will only help me grow and improve as a person, an entrepreneur, and a businessperson.

  1. What about corporate governance and company secretarial work appealed to you so much that you decided to make a business out of it?

I think I always understood the difference between right and wrong. In my starry-eyed world, I always believed that business was done in an ethical way, until one day my bubble was burst. In my life, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to both corrupt and ethical business practices. Initially, I thought that the companies were bad, but as I witnessed more corporate scandals unfold publicly, I realised that good corporate governance practice starts with ethical leadership. I also witnessed how persons were promoted to leadership roles without any context or tools to deal with the governance aspects of these roles. This presented two especially important opportunities. Firstly, to help directors in the boardroom with technology, administration, and education. Secondly, to go beyond the boardroom and educate middle and senior management to be better equipped when reaching senior and executive levels in their organisation.

  1. How do you think you can inspire others?
  • By being authentic and true to myself.

For me it means to embrace my ideas, strengths, and my happiness. It comes down to being the person I know myself to be, on my terms. Another way that I stay true to myself is to take myself out of situations that do not serve me or when I feel my heart is not in it. It comes down to choosing “me” every time.

  • Leading by example.

For me it means that you practise what you preach. You do not need to be an expert at it, but you do need to be passionately involved.

  • Working quietly and letting my success be the inspiration.

For me it means to focus on what I want to achieve without worrying what everybody else is doing or thinking. As the saying goes: “If you are good at what you do, love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life”.

  1. Where do you see yourself and your company in the next five to ten years?

Over the next few years, I want a sustainable business that is financially beyond the break-even point and turning a profit. In future, I wish to expand and diversify the business. I also want to explore and develop skills that could aid in unlocking opportunities towards reaching future goals.

  1. How do you handle situations where people undermine what you do?

I do not take these situations personally and I do not get emotional about it. I believe that the matter should be addressed in a mature way to resolve issues as soon as possible.

  1. Who and what inspires you?

I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I am inspired by people who are kind, humble, polite, intelligent, ethical, successful, achieved, firm, fair, yet ruthless when the situation calls for it. We need more people like this in business. More specifically, I would say the person who has inspired me most has been my mother. I also have a great respect and admiration for my previous long-standing chairman. If I had to choose a celebrity who inspires me, it would be Oprah Winfrey.

For the past several months, we have been taking our readers on a journey through corporate governance and everything it entails. We have covered everything about rules, responsibilities, regulations, and standards relating to organisations, their boards of directors, staff members, stakeholders, and more. We discovered that corporate governance implementation reduces the risk of unethical behaviour, fraud, and corruption, increasing accountability, fairness, transparency, and responsibility.

 

However, practicing good corporate governance is not an effortless feat. As business and technology evolve, we move into an era where boards of directors’ responsibilities have become more challenging than ever before. The pressure to perform, high client expectations, scarcer resources, and less staff all contribute towards the difficulty to handle and implement corporate governance effectively.

 

Fortunately, various advances in technology have provided the necessary means and methods to make the tasks of boards of directors much more manageable, allowing them to work at a higher level: fast, effective, and efficient.

 

Board portal software

 

Board portal software manages to enhance the board’s ability to meet the challenges of modern governance by providing it with the right tools, analytics, and insights to boost overall performance. The appropriate technological infrastructure in the boardroom provides boards with the necessary framework to meet and overcome governance challenges in a changing business environment. It provides them with the insights needed to act on opportunities and control risks.

 

Okina has teamed up with an international technology company and through this collaboration, offers board portal software with which you can compile, create, and publish board packs securely, quickly, and efficiently. Company secretaries, administrators, and boards worldwide use this software and the board documents can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Directors can sign resolutions, do declarations and nominations, and annotate their electronic format documents on any device through a dedicated app for iPad and Android or via a web browser using a Windows device.

 

The key benefits of the board portal software include the following:

 

  • It enhances collaboration and the rapid compilation of papers by administrators, reducing days of work into hours
  • It saves considerable time in creating and distributing board packs and other corporate governance information compared to traditional methods
  • It is flexible, being able to generate both electronic and print-friendly packs at the click of a button, available online or on the dedicated app
  • It improves governance, keeps the board informed in real-time with access to board communications, archived papers, and any other critical reference information

 

The board portal software includes a comprehensive set of features such as:

 

Adaptability and availability

The board portal product is available across various platforms, including a mobile app with offline access. Key features of the app include:

 

  • secure authentication and five-digit PIN lock;
  • document annotation including text notes, strikeout, highlight, and freehand and sticky notes;
  • director-specific access with one point of entry for all directorships with organisations; and
  • dedicated folder for past and archived meetings for each board/committee and a dedicated resource library for each board/committee.

 

Support

Support is provided 24/7/365 via multiple methods of contact, including phone, email, and a help desk ticketing system – also providing built-in access to a knowledge base with over 2 500 documents and videos.

 

Security

The team ensures that security conforms to world-class standards, including secure workrooms for boards and committees with workroom-level permissions and the implementation of secure authentication on the app.

 

Functionality

We provide a product with the necessary tools to increase performance and enhance the efficiency of your board, including:

 

  • online board packs;
  • dynamic agenda management;
  • full annotation capabilities;
  • clickable, searchable, and printable board packs;
  • event calendar and meeting scheduler;
  • RSVPs and attendance tracking;
  • calendar integration;
  • electronic signatures;
  • unlimited storage;
  • dynamic reporting;
  • user directories; and
  • polling and surveys.

 

By teaming up with the best, Okina offers board portal software that can provide you with all the necessary tools and features to support good governance practices. It is all contained in one convenient and easy-to-use board portal platform. To request a free demo, please feel free to contact us at info@website15.pixelreview.co.za.

In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of governing compliance within an organisation and the many factors involved when it comes to gaining a better understanding thereof.

 

Compliance (in a corporate or organisational environment) refers to following and complying with all relevant laws, policies, regulations, rules, and external and internal controls that an organisation must conform to. This is where a compliance framework comes in.

 

It is essentially a structured set of rules and guidelines to aggregate, coordinate, and merge all requirements for compliance applicable to your organisation. It is a cohesive collection of all relevant regulatory documents, procedures, manuals, policies, mandates, mission statements, and other compliance-related aspects.

 

It is crucial to implement a practical compliance framework. It serves to provide an established, professional standard to detect and prevent risks, and efficiently manage and control all compliance-related matters within your organisation.

 

The implementation of a compliance framework not only provides an effective way to monitor and manage compliance but also has many other benefits:

 

  • Operating under all applicable laws and regulations
  • Creating a culture of honesty and integrity while meeting high ethical and professional standards
  • Preventing fraud and unethical conduct
  • Detecting compliance issues early
  • Assuring prompt corrective action
  • Building employee trust and confidence with higher employee retention
  • Improving operations and safety – reduced legal problems
  • Improving public relations

 

Certain pivotal and essential elements are necessary to guarantee efficiency and overall success of a practical compliance framework. These crucial elements can be divided into three main areas:

 

Prevention

 

  • Implementing written policies and procedures

Written policies need to include and outline any expectations related to the compliance framework, including a code of conduct that applies to all employees. Essential documentation consists of a detailed description of compliance within the organisation – focusing on governance, company processes, organisational structure, and reporting.

 

  • Designating a compliance officer and compliance committee

A compliance officer (playing a senior role, reporting directly to the board of directors or CEO) needs to be appointed to harness effective control over all compliance matters. Once a compliance officer has been appointed, a compliance committee needs to be assembled. All committee members should be actively involved and meet regularly, with a charter detailing their responsibilities.

 

  • Conducting training and education

Educational programmes must be implemented to train and educate staff in all general compliance matters, including fraud, unethical conduct, favouritism, bribery, abuse, and anything that may put the organisation at risk for non-compliance. Training, as part of the onboarding process of all new personnel, needs to be documented for future reference if needed.

 

Detection

 

  • Developing effective lines of communication, i.e. a reporting hotline

Employees are often afraid of reporting a co-worker or even a manager or director. Therefore, an anonymous and confidential hotline needs to be implemented to encourage employees to report all compliance risks and issues.

 

  • Conducting internal monitoring, auditing, and reporting

Every organisation needs to have annual risk assessments – to review compliance challenges that surfaced in the past, corrective actions taken, and the outcome of challenges. Internal controls, policies, and accountability need to be reviewed regularly to ensure that compliance within the organisation remains efficient.

 

Corrective action

 

  • Enforcing standards through disciplinary guidelines/policies

Clear disciplinary policies must be in place for anyone who has engaged or is engaging in unlawful or unethical actions. The policies should apply across all organisational levels, irrespective of title or position – employees, board members, and third parties. Board members must be removed, and third parties and employees terminated if there is any misconduct.

 

  • Promptly responding to detected problems

Once a compliance issue is detected, it is crucial to respond quickly and effectively with corrective actions to ensure complete compliance and minimise all risk to the organisation. It is also essential to analyse these issues to determine where they stem from, why or how the problem was caused, the best way to solve the issue, and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.

 

In essence, a compliance framework consists of leadership, risk assessment, standards and controls, training and communication, and oversight. To learn more about implementing and establishing an effective compliance framework within your company, please feel free to contact us at Okina Company Secretarial Services.