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Why cutting expenses is no longer the only answer

By James McKenna, Director of Infrastructure and Administrative Systems, Morrison & Foerster

4 February 2014

Whenever markets become more competitive, growth slows or prices have risen to a maximum, it becomes much more difficult to increase profits. There is no single solution to this challenge, but there are some options which have greater long-term potential.

When faced with potential margin erosion, the natural first reaction is to cut costs. This is a positive strategy and can indeed drive efficiency. It also has a realistic end so, at some point, the amount of effort to cut the next dollar of expense is not worth the actual savings.

A metaphorical example could be: what if we do not replace the burnt-out lights? We all know we need to 'keep the lights on'. In assessing our organisations and their operations, we can all successfully create a spectra ranging from easily achievable cost-cutting endeavours to 'only possible with rigorous and continuous oversight'. Broadly, we start with the easy ones and work our way up from there.

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