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1. 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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. How to do business abroad  

BY Sabine Vollmer
Infragistics is a 21st-century pioneer. The midsize New Jersey software developer has built its business by expanding into emerging markets—wherever it could find sales potential and outstanding software development talent. “If there’s a strategic business opportunity, if it’s kosher, we’ll go there,” said Chris Rogers, CPA, CFO of Infragistics, which was founded in 1989 and today has about 350 employees on five continents.

9. From CGMA Magazine: The merits of thinking the unthinkable  

BY Jack Hagel
You’re about to embark on an important project. You think it will be a success, but you can’t be sure. So you imagine that, a year down the track, your project has failed. Then you seek answers: What killed it? How could failure have been avoided? What other kinds of low-probability events could have shut down the project? Executives, spooked by devastating “black swan events” during the financial crisis, are increasingly examining these kinds of what-if scenarios to stress-test risks in a potential strategy or to refine contingency planning.

10. Treasury basics for an overseas expansion  

BY Brad Hardy, CPA and Ken Tysiac
Understanding regulatory requirements and standard operating procedures in international locations is essential for domestic corporations expanding into overseas markets. The following tips, compiled by Wells Fargo’s international banking division, can help companies establish an effective global treasury policy: Consult with key advisers early. Draft the overall scope and plan for international expansion with the help of tax advisers, bankers, legal consultants, and IT experts.
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