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The ABCs of Financial Risk Management: Assessment, Budgeting and Controls

This article is part of an ongoing series published by CBM’s accounting and advisory group. Click here to learn more about how the group’s consultative approach to serving for- and not-for-profits can help grow your business.

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In today’s fast-paced and uncertain financial environment, financial risk management is a crucial discipline that can mean the difference between success and failure. Financial risks can come in various forms, from market fluctuations to unexpected crises. Organizations should always be well-prepared to identify and have a plan to mitigate these risks. Fortunately, there are several steps a company can take to address potential financial risks, which operate according to the ABC model: Assessment, Budgeting and Controls.
Review these steps to help prepare for the future:


The first step in effective financial risk management is to assess the potential risks your organization may face. Risk assessment involves identifying, analyzing and prioritizing the various financial risks that could affect your company. Here’s what you should consider when assessing financial risks:

  • Identify Risks: Start by identifying the relevant types of financial risks. These may include market risk, credit risk, operational risk, liquidity risk and others.
  • Quantify Risks: Once identified, assess the potential impact of each risk in terms of financial loss, market value or reputation.
  • Prioritize Risks: Not all risks are of equal importance. Prioritize them based on their potential impact and likelihood, ensuring you focus on developing an action plan to manage the most significant ones.


Budgeting is the cornerstone of effective risk management and plays an integral part of risk management for organizations. A well-structured budget allows you to plan for uncertainties, further identify areas of potential risk and allocate resources effectively. Here’s how budgeting plays a role in managing financial risks:

  • Financial Planning: Your budget helps you forecast revenue and expenses, enabling you to understand your financial position and anticipate shortfalls or surpluses.
  • Contingency Planning: Incorporate contingency plans within your budget to outline responses to financial risks as they unfold.
  • Resource Allocation: Use your budget to allocate resources strategically, ensuring that you are adequately prepared for unexpected financial challenges.

Regular review of your budget is crucial to ensure you’re staying on track. Adjust the budget (reforecast) as needed to accommodate changes in financial circumstances.


The implementation of robust financial controls will help you manage financial risks effectively. Strong controls are critical in preventing and mitigating risks. Key elements to include in your financial controls are:

  • Internal Controls: Checks and balances provide reasonable assurance regarding financial compliance and reporting. Establish and enforce internal controls that safeguard your financial assets, minimize the risk of fraud or mismanagement, and ensure compliance with financial regulations. Examples include the separation of duties, reconciliations, audits, approval systems and employee training.
  • Financial Policies: Develop clear and comprehensive financial policies and procedures that cover areas such as cash management, spending authorization and financial reporting. Examples include savings and reserve funds, credit card acceptance, reimbursement policy, expense reporting, methods for choosing new suppliers, management of customers and stock resupply determination.
  • Monitoring: Implement regular activities to produce and monitor financial reports that will allow you to identify any deviations from your budget and take corrective action promptly.

By following the ABCs of financial risk management—Assessment, Budgeting and Controls—organizations of all sizes in any industry can strengthen their financial stability, protect their bottom line and confidently navigate financial challenges to achieve long-term financial goals.

Please contact Dominick V. Bellia via our online contact form for more information.

Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell (CBM) is a professional services firm delivering tax, accounting and business advisory expertise throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from offices in Bethesda, MD and Washington, DC.

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