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1. From CGMA Magazine: Finance's role in fostering innovation  

BY Jack Hagel
The finance function is rarely expected to be the originator of a breakthrough product or technology. But it has an important role in ensuring that great ideas are spotted, encouraged, financed, and delivered efficiently to the market. “A finance function needs to be able to understand the business well enough to know what is a worthwhile activity but also, in this part of the business, to have a bit more of an open mind,” Royal Dutch Shell CFO Simon Henry, CGMA, explains in the CGMA report Managing Innovation: Harnessing the Power of Finance.

2. A nontraditional approach to finance management   WebExclusive

BY Neil Amato
Tom Steiner would like to get CFOs to stop thinking so logically all the time. He contends that the world is emotional, not logical, and that “linear, logical people that concern themselves with numbers” are too focused on tasks instead of the people performing those tasks. Steiner, nicknamed “Dr.

3. MD&A reporting tips  

BY Ken Tysiac
Deciding what to include in the management discussion and analysis (MD&A) section of a financial report isn’t always easy. During a session at the AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments, Katherine Gill-Charest, CPA, the chief accounting officer at Viacom, and Brian Lane, a corporate securities lawyer at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, offered tips on crafting an effective and compliant report.

4. CPAs continue to forecast storms ahead for U.S. economy   WebExclusive

BY Neil Amato
Economic optimism, which started the year on an upswing, has fallen to a 12-month low, according to the latest AICPA Business & Industry U.S. Economic Outlook Survey, which was released Thursday. A big reason for the gloomier mood: Washington. “The overwhelming majority of comments this quarter focused on the fiscal cliff and government or politics,” said the report, which polled CPAs who hold executive positions in companies across an array of industries.

5. Private-company financials often shielded from employees   WebExclusive

BY Jack Hagel
Employees at publicly traded companies have an advantage when it comes to understanding the financial health of their companies. After all, public companies are just that: public. And they release detailed financial results each quarter for the world to see. Employees at private companies, however, aren’t as plugged in.

6. Execs less optimistic about hiring, U.S. economy, AICPA survey shows   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Lower hiring expectations and a steep drop in optimism about the U.S. economy summed up the uncertain mood of CPA financial executives who took part in the AICPA’s Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2012. Optimism about the U.S. economy dropped significantly after rising for two straight quarters.

7. CFO round table: Managing uncertainty  

BY Jack Hagel
Business was about as good as it could get for A&A Manufacturing in early 2008. The New Berlin, Wis., company was busy cranking out custom-engineered protective covers, cable carriers, and those roll-up doors you see on the sides of fire trucks. The workforce couldn’t keep up with the orders.

8. Eight steps for implementing a technological overhaul   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Author, venture partner, and consultant Geoffrey Moore made a pitch for a technological revolution Friday afternoon in the closing speech at the AICPA’s spring Council meeting. Consumer-facing business processes in professional services need to be re-engineered to accommodate the digital needs of clients and employees who already are using consumer technology, Moore said.

9. From CGMA Magazine: Executives turn data into internal insight  

BY Jack Hagel
Prolonged economic sluggishness—which has limited organic growth and stymied mergers and acquisitions the world over—has given many companies something they didn’t have when things were busier: time, and reason, to think differently about new ways to build value. One place they’re increasingly applying the magnifying glass: their own ranks.

10. Finance executives’ outlook on U.S. economy improving, survey shows   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
CPA financial executives displayed a more positive but still wary view of the U.S. economy in the most recent quarterly Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey, released Thursday by the AICPA. Those indicating optimism for the U.S. economy increased from 19% in the previous quarter to 43%. Optimists outnumbered pessimists by nearly 2 to 1, and optimism was just five percentage points short of the 48% measured in the first quarter of 2011.
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