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Early crisis detection for companies

15/02/2023 – In November last year, the participants of our CFO Roundtable were given a crash course on recognising and managing crises for companies. The two speakers Bozidar Radner and Harald Kam answered our questions. Radner is a partner and Kam is a director in the Turnaround & Restructuring division at Deloitte Germany.  

  • According to Bozidar Radner, the economy is facing major changes that will lead to a risk for the demand for professionals and managers. Disruption of existing business models is expected to take place in industries such as automotive, retail and healthcare. 
  • Harald Kam's presentation focused on the legal responsibility of business leaders in early crisis detection and emphasised the importance of early crisis warning and crisis management systems, with a high demand for trained professionals who can support the implementation and optimisation of such systems.


Disruption of existing business models in industries such as automotive, retail and healthcare.  

The future belongs to the one who hears it coming – David Bowie 

Bozidar Radner provided the audience with an exciting overview of the sometimes gloomy economic outlook. He locates the biggest challenges in the business between increased energy and raw material costs and the ongoing supply chain disruptions. In parallel, legal regulations in Germany are having an impact on a growing demand for specialists in the areas of compliance, data protection, internal auditing and risk management. Of particular note is the increase in internal compliance standards, which often also in the interface with IT, lead to an increased planning, organisation and control effort of compliance and control activities. Thomas Hartenfels, Director at Robert Walters, comments:  
,An enormous risk factor is the steadily increasing demand for highly specialised professionals and managers, which cannot be met due to the massive shortage of skilled workers. Particularly in positions that are unavoidable to keep the business going, precautions should therefore be taken as early as possible - those who build future-proof teams and the necessary knowledge now will be ahead of the game.’ 
There is a lot of disruption and structural change ahead for the economy. Radner estimates a total of about five million jobs will be lost in Germany.  
In this context, Radner sees a synchronous downturn of the economy in the Eurozone, the USA and China. While in Europe and North America the high inflation and the general tightening of the labour market are the main factors, in China it is the zero-covid policy, which lasts until autumn 2022, what is holding back the economy. Rising economic uncertainty has been noticeable since the financial and euro crises in 2010 to 2012. Brexit, Covid and the Ukraine war are further fuelling this uncertainty.  

I'm not going where the puck is, I'm going where it's going to be! – Wayne Gretzky 

Executives in Germany continue to expect a disruption of existing business models. These are the predictions of experts Radner and Kam regarding the jobs of the future:  

  • The structural change is most visible in large and employment-rich sectors, such as the automotive industry, retail or healthcare.  

  • In the automotive industry, topics such as shared mobility, autonomous driving and electric mobility will have the greatest impact on Germany's competitiveness.  

  • In the retail sector, this change will become even more visible – the shift from stationary to online retail will drive the extinction of city centres.  

  • In the healthcare industry, Deloitte Germany sees an advancing digitalisation of offerings and, at the same time, an overcapacity of the healthcare system. 

  • Other sectors of the economy are also struggling with this structural change. The two speakers see many signs of massive change in the energy industry, finance, accommodation and aviation. 
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail! –  Benjamin Franklin 

Prevention is the credo that was proclaimed. Entrepreneurs were presented with a colourful bouquet of different measures to consider or take during the event. Monitoring supply chains, setting up an early warning system or operating a functioning risk management system are among the duties of an entrepreneur. The speakers see the strengthening of alliances, the creation of sustainable innovations and the retention and motivation of employees as the freestyle in the respective entrepreneurial activity. Thomas Hartenfels remarks on this topic:  

,What should never be ignored is the added value of recruitment measures. First and foremost, sourcing employees from the competition is gaining in importance. In the increasingly competitive business environment, successfully fighting for the right employees is a true competitive advantage.’

Legal responsibility of managing directors for early crisis detection  

In his presentation, Harald Kam also pointed out the legal obligations of managing directors for early detection:

,In §1, the StaRUG explicitly obliges managing directors to constantly monitor possible threats to the continued existence of the company on the basis of an early crisis detection and crisis management system, to take appropriate countermeasures and to report to the supervising bodies in a timely manner.’ 
The greatest leverage is attributed to the early crisis detection system and the associated crisis management. Both the implementation and optimisation of early crisis detection systems are highly relevant for companies, which is why there is also a great demand for trained professionals in this area. Operational teams in particular need support in implementing suitable measures to minimise risks and identify weak points. Thus, Thomas Hartenfels, Senior Director South at Robert Walters, notes from his experience: 

,For many of our clients, we are currently increasingly recruiting candidates who further develop the risk management systems and the associated IT tools and who are also responsible for other topics, such as the monitoring of non-financial reporting, sustainability risks or the implementation of the Supply Chain Act.’ 

The electric light was not the result of the continuous improvement of candles – Oren Harari 

Even though for many companies and entrepreneurs the future may look scary and gloomy - the two speakers Harald Kam and Bozidar Radner showed ways and presented tools how one can and above all should successfully counteract in this area. Monitoring, surveillance and the early detection that goes with it will be crucial to the success of crisis management. 

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Thomas Hartenfels

Senior Director South
Telefon:  +49 211 30 180 002

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