It’s not easy for anyone to do more with less, but in the case of the CFO’s team, there’s little doubt their impact is only going to grow.

There are some who mistakenly believe working in the finance department is an ongoing exercise of figuring out where to chop next. Those people might be surprised to realize that even those on the CFO’s team aren’t immune from the axe. Continue reading The Bright Side of All Those Finance Department Budget Cuts

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There’s no shortage of certifications that finance professionals can pursue, but they need the right tools to go along with them. 

It’s been a long time since anyone walked into a business meeting (or even a party) and introduced themselves as “John Smith, esq.” Instead, we tend to reserve suffixes for professional credentials that show you’ve got the background and credentials necessary to do a particular job.

For CFOs and their teams, it may be getting more difficult to know for sure what those credentials should be.  Continue reading CPA, CMA, CFA … the List Goes On

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Accounting has traditionally been a key skill for financial leaders, but the ability to get insight from data and act may be even more important.

It must sometimes feel like leading a modern-day finance department requires not only a good knowledge of numbers but a degree in computer science, psychology and fortune-telling capabilities.

Given the demands of the job, it raises the question of how important an accounting background is to become a strong CFO. This has actually been explored in a paper that will be published soon in the Journal of Accounting and Economics which studied more than 5,000 finance execs between the years 2000 and 2010. Bentley University, which lead the research, summarized the results: Continue reading The Relationship between Company Growth and CFO Performance

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By now, most organizations would know better than to characterize those working in their finance departments as “bean counters,” but the rise of management reporting may force them to be even more deliberate about the unique skills they need in specific members of their team.

A few months ago, recruiting firm Osborne Financial Search published a blog post to help clients understand the difference between those handling financial reporting and management reporting. Although there are some small and medium-sized businesses where one person handles both areas, Osborne suggested large organizations are so complex they need individuals dedicated to each. And unlike financial reporting that might adhere to specific accounting standards, a considerable amount of creativity can be involved on the management side:

“Since there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what ratios or measures to use in this type of reporting, a management accountant must have the ability to understand business processes, break down operational steps and think creatively to come up with appropriate performance indicators.” Continue reading The Management Reporting Mandate Coming to Finance Execs Everywhere

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Recently I read an article that asked the question, “Is it time for your company to move away from spreadsheets for financial consolidation?” It’s a question that has been asked multiple times before, driving many software vendors to develop solutions that take you away from spreadsheets. In fact, if you look at the consolidation systems landscape, this has become more of the norm than the exception.

This led me to think of all of my experiences with such software solutions and my experiences with spreadsheets. If you think about it, taking a spreadsheet program away from an accountant would be stripping him of what is arguably the most powerful tool in his number-crunching arsenal. That being said, spreadsheets on their own aren’t the best solution forever. They can be cumbersome, difficult for data centralization, and can lead to version control issues—it is also quite a chore to consolidate data across spreadsheets.

While all of these things may be true in the context of separate, disparate spreadsheets, the fact is that  no accountant or finance person is ever going to give spreadsheets up. Continue reading It’s NEVER the Time to Move Away from Spreadsheets in the Consolidation Process

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