Becoming a Risk and Control Specialist

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The dictionary meaning of managing risk is the technique or profession of assessing, minimizing, and preventing the accidental loss to business with the use of safety measures and insurance. A career in Risk Management and Controlling has never been so lucrative. The economic meltdown and the cash crunch have put the function of a risk manager and controller in the forefront.

Research shows that most companies across different industries are focusing on minimizing their losses and managing funds in the optimum manner to survive the crisis. Cash is the heart and the bloodline of any business and if managed professionally, is the key to the survival of any organization.

As the world economics grew so did the need to develop international guideline to manage businesses. There were many parameters laid down to measure and differentiate good businesses, following industry guidelines. Companies following good governance policies stood high and qualified as ethical. To achieve this position, the business needed to be transparent and manage risks competently. The risk management function has acquired a more concrete definition.

Also in the wake of corporate financial scandals like Enron, tighter business and accounting laws were laid down, thus highlighting the Controlling function. It was vital to ensure that businesses followed stringent industry laws if they wanted to continue as legitimate entities. The job of a Controlling Specialist is to ensure that the business is abiding by all financial norms and the resources of the companies are appropriately used.

Business faces risks from different areas. But if forecasted in advance and controlled efficiently, it can be minimized or even be prevented. Risk could be in the form of competition, change in government policy, shift in demand, product replacement, fire or natural calamities, or financial meltdown. Many of these risks can be insured thus giving the business a buffer to survive and most of the others can be mitigated with judicious control.

While Risk Management and Controlling can be taken up as a generic career, there are individuals who can specialize in different aspects to work for a specific industry e.g. Medical & Research, IT, and Service.

Risk Management and Control functions involve day-to-day support to different departments to design and control processes and procedures to protect people, property, environment, and company assets. Implement quality systems and loss minimizing plans. Identifying potential liabilities, regulatory compliance concerns, and evolving mitigation strategies are some of the key functions. Support special projects and provide recommendations to provide optimum and effective output.

A risk manager and control professional can work as an Advisor, Analyst, or an external consultant assisting the business and diminishing losses. He could also be a specialist in a particular field advising the management to take the right decision.

An individual must hold a degree and diploma in risk management and have a fair understanding of the finance and economy, geared with computer skills and also a good understanding of the global economy.

A specialized degree in a particular industry or extensive experience in an industry also qualifies an individual as a Risk manager or Controller. A veteran from the Service industry or an experienced Engineer in a production plant qualifies as a Risk Manager and Controller.

The key recipe for success in this field is analytical skill, a deep understanding of the field, patient, excellent communication skills, and effective people skills. A constant thirst to update oneself with global events and technology know how gives one an edge over others.

The Risk management schools include extensive training programs and workshops in its syllabus for the students. Real case studies and hypothetical scenarios are given as solution projects to train them for the future.

Usually the business schools and risk management universities provide ample practical exposure to their student before they step into the real world. However, initially working as an assistant in a risk management project or work in the Accounting and Treasury department give great initial experience.

In this risk prone economic world and its drive to rectify the losses of the world, the need for a risk manager and controller will always be there. The scope and the job options are high for individuals pursuing this career.

The salaries scale begins at $50,000 and the upper limit depends on the experience, the industry one is working for and the profile (consulting or in-housing). The upper limit can go higher than $117,000.

Risk Management and Controlling careers emerge from the very urge of businesses to survive in the long run and continue to make profits. The life of this profession is as long as the life of business and economics itself.
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