Concerns About Risks Confronting Boards - 2016 Survey Results

March 20, 2017



For the greater part of the past decade, EisnerAmper has published its Concerns About Risks Confronting Boards survey results. Our 7th edition continues our examination of the trends, changes, and issues faced in American boardrooms today.

This past year has been particularly interesting for the United States regarding change and potential crises that can affect even the largest, most seasoned organizations. This year's report delves into last year's theme of talk about risk paired with no (or little) action, directors' lack of confidence in risk and crisis management and of course, cybersecurity risk.

A surprising standout risk, for the first time since this survey began, is senior management succession planning. We've also profiled some new risks: geopolitical volatility, key skills deficits, competition, and emerging markets upheaval.

As always, we evaluate and analyze the common and unexpected trends of more than 200 boards through the survey responses of their directors. In this edition, however, we are providing a comprehensive and in-depth look at the findings, breaking down the results of each section, contrasting the responses those serving on public, private, and not-for-profit boards. Furthermore, we evaluate
the responses of past data to better understand the trends that have been evolving.

This report delivers insight based on the survey results, professional expertise, current news, first-hand stories from veteran directors and the conversations we have with clients and contacts. As always, we welcome the opportunity to discuss these discoveries in detail with you.


This year marks the 7th time directors across the Unites States were polled via EisnerAmper's Annual Board of Directors web-based survey. This survey is designed to gather various perspectives into the risks being discussed (or not) and addressed (or not) in American boardrooms.

More than 200 directors from public, private, and not-for-profit organizations spread across a variety  of industries and with revenues ranging from less than $1 million to more than $10 billion participated. Their responses enabled us to deliver this report and offer key insights and observations into the  trends and concerns that organizations face at the board level. Additionally, with so many years of data collected, this benchmarking resource can illustrate how your organization stacks up against your peers or, in some cases, the competition.

Here is the breakdown of the types of boards and the revenues of organizations represented in our survey:

Types of boards and the revenues of organizations represented in our survey

In order to delve deeper into our understanding of and perspectives on the risks, we also asked directors on which committees they serve.

Are you a member of the following committees?

The audit committee is the most popular committee for our directors; more than half of the directors who participated in the survey serve on their organization's audit committee.

We asked directors an open-ended question about what the audit committee feels is the most significant risk it governs. For directors on audit committees at public and private organizations, financial statement accuracy is the most significant risk, while financial risk is the most cited risk for not-for-profit audit committee members. Directors on private boards' audit committees also identified cybersecurity, while not-for-profit directors included internal controls.

EisnerAmper Intelligent Data

EisnerAmper Intelligent Data (EisnerAmper ID) uses proprietary market research conducted by EisnerAmper and leading market research firms, along with analysis from EisnerAmper's partners and principals, to produce insightful articles, events and data designed to educate and stimulate discussion on the issues of most interest to business leaders today.

EisnerAmper analyzes and presents the survey results; they are accompanied by EisnerAmper professionals' observations of industry trends and issues. While EisnerAmper believes the information is from reliable sources, it should not be relied upon as, or considered to be, investment or legal advice.


  • Percentages throughout this report are rounded to the closest whole number.
  • Not all of the survey participants answered all of the questions.
  • Select questions provided the opportunity for respondents to choose more than one response.

Concerns About Risks Confronting Boards - 2016 Survey Results

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