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1. Examine clichés in approach to innovation   WebExclusive

BY Neil Amato
Spot-and-react strategies are better than no strategies at all, but organizations should have a “rebellious instinct for change” in approaching innovation, entrepreneurship expert Luke Williams said. Williams, speaking Monday at the AICPA’s fall Council meeting in Boston, said entities should challenge their common practices in order to be leaders in disruptive change.

2. Nimble thinking takes the lead  

BY Jack Hagel
The past few years have seen unprecedented uncertainty. The ever-increasing rate of change in global trade, the regulatory environment, and technology—even social expectations of businesses—have set strategies in new directions and confounded those charged with developing credible forecasts and setting capital investment priorities.The dynamics also have prompted people to think differently about finance, forecasting, and the role of financial planning and analysis.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.
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