2021 Australian Business Assurance Report

November 10, 2021

The global pandemic presented many challenges for our business community since early 2020. Lockdowns, border closures, the health crisis and economic issues caused an increasingly complex risk and compliance environment. To understand the challenges currently facing businesses, SAI Global conducted a survey of 328 Australian executives. We found that to deal with the challenges facing them such as disrupted supply chains (21% of respondents), reduced business opportunities (14%) and high risks (13%), businesses have had to react in agile ways.

More than three quarters of businesses have made changes to survive. One in five had to change their product or service offering, while more common changes included adjusting health and safety procedures (42%), implementing new technologies (40%) and reducing budgets and resources (36%).

Our team also investigated the opportunities that will emerge in the post-pandemic recovery. Businesses will focus on initiatives to increase efficiency: 46% will streamline processes to drive their recovery, 39% will invest in internal capabilities, 35% will integrate management systems and 30% will implement new technologies to minimise disruptions.

The lessons learned since the first quarter of 2020 also present an opportunity for businesses to build resilience for other challenges.

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to our current way of life. The global fight against climate change is an issue facing us all: governments, businesses and individuals. Over the last few years, as Australia has been battling bushfires, severe droughts and record temperatures, businesses have increasingly started to prioritise sustainability initiatives. On a scale of 1 to 100, businesses, on average, will put 57% more budget, time and people towards environmental sustainability. Businesses are largely focused on improving waste management processes (57%) and reducing their energy consumption (48%).

Cybersecurity is another challenge facing our business community – and it is on the rise. In the last year, there has been a 60% increase in ransomware attacks against Australian businesses. The COVID-19 crisis caused a dramatic shift in the way we work, with government restrictions forcing many businesses to rapidly adapt to remote working models which, in turn, created a range of challenges for corporate cybersecurity. The digital transformation was fast-tracked to adapt to these changes, expanding cyber vulnerabilities for organisations. Alarmingly, 68% of businesses are vulnerable to a cybersecurity attack.

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About the Provider

SAI Global
SAI Global has the Standards you need to advance confidently and purposefully, in a rapidly changing world. Whether your business is large or small, we can provide an effective solution for all your Standards needs.


Australian businesses, Climate change, COVID-19, Cybersecurity attacks