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Corporate governance is a key area of corporate law. It involves the standards of conduct and procedures for managing a firm. It provides the legal framework for efficient operation and maximum shareholder value. A well-designed system leads to a robust environment that allows companies to flourish.

But is it really vital to have good corporate governance? What is corporate governance and why is it important for a business? This article will attempt to answer all these questions and more.

What is Corporate Governance?

Let's start with the basics. By definition, it's the management system that a company follows. That means its rules, practices, and processes. 

This system should not only be clear to all the shareholders. Rather, it must also be shared with other stakeholders. This can be employees, customers, and other partners.

Why is Corporate Governance Important? 

A business can benefit from corporate governance in many ways. It can help improve revenue and profit. Yet it can also show the integrity of the business. With it, shareholders and clients can put more trust in a company.

Common Corporate Governance Procedures

Corporate governance can manifest in many different ways. Examples are risk management and a code of conduct. Even reducing carbon footprint is a good example. In short, a good system of rules can mitigate risks and prevent losses. 

How to establish it? You need to have structure. This means deciding the structure of your board. It also refers to the rules that govern how your business runs. Essentially, your business must have a clear picture of who's in charge. It also means knowing the right way of doing things. That way, your organisation can operate more efficiently.

The Principles of Corporate Governance

Corporate governance must act on a solid system of principles. These include:

Accountability

The board of directors must be held accountable for their actions. They must always act with the company's interest as a priority. However, that's not all. They must also be able to take into account stakeholders' interests. This is key to maintaining their trust.

Transparency

Another code of corporate governance is transparency. A company must provide shareholders with as much information as possible. This can be done through annual reports, stockholder meetings, and financial reports. Always keep everyone in the loop! Good news can be celebrated, of course. But also, be ready to share the bad news as soon as they come.

Security and Reliability

Corporate governance also demands that a company must be secure and reliable. Data breaches and attacks are two common risks. After all, sensitive data may be stored in the database. So, your business strategy should take into account all of these risks.

The Importance of Corporate Governance

Corporate governance frameworks are an important part of any business. Many law firms offer legal services for the sole purpose of assessing and improving a company’s governance. A proper management system guarantees continued success. Without it, you're at risk of losses, liabilities, and even legal issues.

Whether you're a small firm or a big corporation, you must do your best to manage your business efficiently and effectively. This is the essential purpose of corporate governance.

The Benefits of Good Corporate Governance

Good corporate governance should let you:

  1. Minimise the cost of the company’s capital.
  2. Increase the efficiency of your operations and build up morale.
  3. Improve the value of your shares and attract more investors.
  4. Improve the quality of your products and services.
  5. Promote and improve the reputation. This means among clients, employees, and other stakeholders.
  6. Optimise the decision-making process that happens within the company.
  7. Create potential. Give your company an edge over others!

The Dangers of Improper Corporate Governance

Poor corporate governance can lead to a lot of issues. It can also affect the reputation of a company and its shareholders.

An obvious red flag of bad corporate governance is nepotism and corruption. For instance, if, the executive officers of your company are skimming money from the company. Another example is when your executives are ignoring expert opinions. Poor leadership skills from your board members is another big red flag.

With well-designed corporate governance, the company will grow and flourish. It will also ensure that clients are satisfied with your services and products.

How to Achieve Good Corporate Governance

It is clear that good corporate governance is key to an organisation’s success. But how do you achieve it for your business? Here are some pointers on how to reach corporate governance excellence:

1. Keep Your Board Balanced

The right system of rules is important. But you won't achieve good corporate governance without a good board. After all, the board of directors will be in charge of implementing the rules.

So, your board should be composed of the right people. Make sure they have the right experience. Hire professionals with good skills and knowledge in their field. You should also prioritize diversity. Sometimes, it may be better to bring in someone who brings in a fresh, new perspective.

2. Think Short and Long Term

Your board of directors should also be able to think short and long-term. Aim for sustainable value creation. Just because you’re doing fine now doesn’t mean this will prevail.

They should know to keep up strong relationships with stakeholders, clients, and other partners. It can also mean creating a solid foundation. The company's foundations should strive to eliminate any oversight. Legal services such as Holmes are great at optimizing this.

3. Maintain Risk Management

Risk control is a key part of corporate governance. It is the process that a company uses to prevent loss. A good risk management system should be able to detect risks early on and be capable of eliminating them before they get out of hand.

An example is a disaster recovery plan. Such a plan should be able to detect and mitigate any threats that may occur. Implementing such strategies and contingency planning is a core part of building good corporate governance.

Corporate Governance Best Practices

Here are some key best practices when implementing corporate governance within your organisation:

  • The most important thing is to practice a high level of ethics. Maintaining your company's integrity is a key part of corporate governance. This means to do things the right way.
  • Be aware of potential risks and vulnerabilities. Look at how your business operates and decide if there are any holes in your system. That way, you can avoid any risks that could jeopardize the company's reputation or even your bottom line. 
  • Keep your goals aligned with your business strategies.

Corporate Governance in the Public Sector

It is no secret that the government and other public bodies play a major role in shaping the modern world. This is why corporate governance in public sector is crucial. They are vital for businesses. But they are also crucial for the public sector.

How does corporate governance help in this area? In short, it's vital for transparency and accountability in the public sector. It can prevent potential scandals and keep things running smoothly at all times. It will ensure that public entities can keep fulfilling the public's needs. This is why audit committees are strongly recommended for public bodies.

How Holmes Can Help Your Corporate Governance

Good corporate governance is vital to protect the company from these problems. Optimising it supports the continued success of your business. 

Are you still having trouble reaching good corporate governance? You may want to consider third-party legal advisory services, such as Holmes.

We are trusted advisors to Irish led and Irish owned, globally scaling companies and government entities on corporate governance and companies act compliance. We been a part of many recent projects aiding Irish companies in matters of corporate governance. 

Our expert team of solicitors are adept at providing a full spectrum of assistance with respect to the statutory responsibilities and obligations of companies, directors, and officer and can help you build a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy to promote the success and growth of your company. 

Start taking the steps to better corporate governance for your business with our Corporate Governance and Advisory services.

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Holmes O’Malley Sexton's managing partner Harry Fehily is involved in a wide range of disputes on behalf of corporate clients, being particularly active in the construction and insurance sectors. Clients say that he is "commercial and communicates clearly and concisely."

Harry Fehily

Dispute Resolution | Chambers Global 2021

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Up and Coming. George Kennedy regularly handles sales and acquisitions on behalf of clients hailing from a range of sectors including pharmaceutical, technology and aviation.

George Kennedy

Corporate/M&A | Chambers Global 2021

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According to market sources, Stephen Walker "is a pleasure to deal with." He has experience in corporate and capital markets transactions.

Stephen Walker

Corporate/M&A | Chambers Global 2021

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Next generation partner: George Kennedy

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2020

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Based across the firm’s offices in Dublin, Limerick and Cork, the ‘strong’ team at Holmes O’Malley Sexton is especially active in M&A transactions, although it also advises on corporate investments, group restructurings, joint ventures and corporate governance. The t...

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2020

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‘Excellent client service and a professional and experienced team’. Practice head: George Kennedy

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2020

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‘George Kennedy and associates Shane Costelloe and Neil O’Gorman are professional, flexible and show a passion for the ultimate success of their client’s business’. Practice head: George Kennedy

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2020

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Very capable' team strong at advising growing Irish companies on inbound M&A and private equity investments. It also provides a ‘legal health check’ risk identification and mitigation service. George Kennedy leads the practice, which was bolstered in July 2020 by the arr...

George Kennedy

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2021

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Very capable team strong at advising growing Irish companies on inbound M&A and private equity investments. Provides a ‘legal health check’ risk identification and mitigation service. George Kennedy leads the practice, which was bolstered by the arrival Stephen Walker.

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2021

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A very capable firm with progressive people on board. They have a very dynamic and forward-looking view on business. Their approach is clear and the work they do is detailed but translated so that clients can understand the pertinent issues.

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2021

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They have a learning culture that is unique and I experienced trainees sitting in on meetings as observers (with prior clearance) purely for the purposes of honing their skills. I haven’t experienced this overall focus from other firms in the region.

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2021

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I feel the partners and associates always demonstrate empathy, vision and are solution driven where possible. The firm as a whole has a stamp of professionalism running through it and this comes from the people at the very top.

Corporate, Commercial and M&A | Legal 500 EMEA 2021

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