Let me start with the basics..
What is corporate governance? Well, corporate governance can simply be defined as the systems by which companies are defined, directed and controlled. As the name suggests, it is the practice that governs the corporates to comply with legal, regulatory and risk requirements and meet the business demands. And it is mainly the responsibility of the Board of directors. It is important that the board takes on board (pun intended) the intertwined roles, relationships, and interests of the company’s various stakeholders.
A corporate has both internal and external stakeholders. The internal stakeholders include the company owners, management, executives, board of directors, shareholders, and employees. And the external governance stakeholders include the society and community, customers, suppliers, vendors, and debt holders.
Because the corporates ( with the exception of s non-profit organizations) operate for profit, one of the main focus areas of corporate governance is to make the business leaders manage the finances in the most effective way, and in the best interest of their internal and external stakeholders. There are several laws and external regulations that monitor this aspect of corporate governance. However, many companies establish their own internal framework and regulations to ensure smooth and ethical operations of the organisation.
Regardless of how big or small a company, it is important to have an established set of practices that dictates good corporate governance. It also looks good on the part of the company that their finances are well accounted for, and they have done some good deeds for society.
Now many argue that corporate governance does not affect the bottom line of the business and is not ‘necessary’ for running the business, as it does not affect the operational or financial performance of the company. It is difficult to put together and implement a customised corporate governance plan. The additional practices cost a lot of money and time going through the administrative procedures of organization’s bureaucracy.
The other side of these arguments, however, stresses the importance of corporate governance practices and the impact they have on the successful running of a business in the long term.
How corporate governance benefits a company
Corporate governance is the foundational stone of any good business. There is a direct correlation between good corporate governance and enhanced shareholder value in the long term. It is an important tool in managing the business in an ethical way, and leading to its growth.
Some of the key benefits of good corporate governance are as follows:
1. Power packed board of directors
As I mentioned above, the board of directors are responsible to oversee how the corporation runs. Good corporate governance focuses on establishing a strong board for the company, comprising of directors who are knowledgeable, competent, qualified, matter-expert and who hold strong ethical values. The board will then be able to provide strong and dedicated leadership, and vision to the company.
2. Promoting ethical culture and corporate integrity
Good corporate governance practices lay much emphasis on integrity in all business dealings and ensuring the company is socially responsible. They ensure compliance with the law, and an ethical business code of conduct.
3. Enhanced public image
In todays competitive business environment, having good corporate governance can prove to be a differentiating factor working in favor of the company. Being socially responsible, contributing towards the environment, implementing sustainable practices, and other societal benefits, paints a good image for the company and builds confidence for both the internal and external stakeholders of the company.
4. Boosts new investment
The venture capitalists and investors feel more confident in investing in a company with good corporate governance practices. They ensure good return on investment for the investor. Increased investments mean expansion of business, and create more employment opportunities.
5. Effective risk management
A board of directors with a strategic vision is imperative in identifying potential risks faced by the company, such as industry specific risks, global markets, operational, legal, and financial risks. By evaluating risks, and implementing timely plans, good corporate governance practices can help mitigate risks for the company.
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