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1. The four D’s of better strategic planning  

BY Jack Hagel
Instead of approaching business as a series of problems to be solved—say, how to cut down on spending, or how to keep employees from getting bored at work—organizations should take a more appreciative look at themselves. That’s the aim of appreciative inquiry, a change method that consultant Bill Swedish thinks can help businesses get out of a negative rut.The problem-oriented approach limits business thinking, and companies end up being reactive instead of proactive.

2. Move over, strategy: Compliance needs you  

BY Jack Hagel
The push continues for internal auditors to focus on strategic risks, but regulatory compliance duties are standing in the way, a new survey shows.Sixty-nine percent of 433 internal audit professionals in the United States surveyed by Grant Thornton said regulation is increasing internal audit costs in their organization, and 36% said regulation will prevent internal audit from devoting resources to higher-value activities.“You can’t walk away from your responsibility to address the compliance requirements,” said Bailey Jordan, CPA, an internal audit practice leader at Grant Thornton.

3. Strategic planning leads list of finance priorities   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Harnessing data for strategic planning, streamlining processes, and bracing for heightened regulatory concerns are the top priorities for CFOs and the finance function, according to a new survey report. Finance executives were asked to rate how different issues and capabilities ranked among their priorities in business consulting firm Protiviti’s 2014 Finance Priorities Survey.

4. Six techniques for building a strategic finance department   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Finance teams want to perform strategic duties in their organizations, but new research shows many of them are not building the right competencies to fulfill these duties.Typical finance teams are weak in the nontechnical competencies that matter the most, according to a white paper reporting results of a survey by member-based business advisory company CEB.A survey of more than 2,200 finance professionals at more than 75 global companies assessed hiring, training, and performance management programs, and asked finance managers to rate their direct reports on their likelihood to exhibit behaviors in CEB’s competency model.The model separated about

5. How finance and accounting can boost innovation   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Five years ago, Jimmy Keeter, CPA, was concerned about what he saw after performing a worst-case scenario analysis on the trucking operations of Daylight Donut Flour Co. of Tulsa, Okla., which he serves as CFO. The company, which provides ingredients and equipment to licensed doughnut shop operators in 38 states and a few locations outside the United States, carried insurance, of course.

6. The global finance function: Five focal points  

BY Jack Hagel
Finance teams at large multinational companies can expect more and increasingly sophisticated tasks to come their way. The majority of those teams will have to perform those tasks with the same or fewer resources.Companies are focusing more on reducing overhead costs and improving operating margins, cash flow, and customer satisfaction.

7. Embrace uncertainty to develop more business acumen   WebExclusive

BY Neil Amato
A mere accounting professional is not the same as a full-fledged finance professional. At least that’s how consultant David Axson sees it. The more evolved finance professional, Axson says, considers the business environment, embracing its volatility, and then adapting to it. “Being comfortable with uncertainty is, to me, the difference between an accounting professional and a finance professional,” Axson, a partner at Accenture, said in an interview with the JofA.

8. Boot the budget? Why rolling forecasts might make more sense   WebExclusive

BY Neil Amato
When it comes to budgeting, accountants should stop presenting the numbers and letting others analyze what those numbers mean. If accountants don’t change, warns consultant Steve Player, CPA, CGMA, they’ll lose relevance and possibly lose jobs. “It’s our process that’s broken,” Player said. “We’ve got smart people in finance doing dumb stuff.” Player, founder of management consulting company The Player Group, said traditional budgeting processes don’t work and that organizations must adapt by going to a model of continuous planning and rolling forecasts.

9. 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.

10. From CGMA Magazine: Flexing the strategy muscles  

BY Jack Hagel
Finance teams have long been tasked with gazing into the past. They were the ones with the answers about how the company has performed over time, how it did in the past month, and how it just did compared with how it used to do. But now finance professionals are being asked to turn the time machine around, using their skills to guide companies into the future.
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