Standout Stories

A CFO without an accounting background… A chief financial officer is responsible for the financial health of a company, from overseeing transaction-level data, to publishing financial statements, to investor calls. That’s a pretty broad range of responsibilities and skills. Often the focus is on the sexy parts of the job, like raising money and talking with investors. But that misses the more important elements of the job.

I get that raising money is the new party drug. Everyone is doing it or trying to do it. We live in the Shark Tank era. There are reality shows of companies raising cash and daily news about hot startups attracting mountains of money. Early-stage, industry-disruptive companies are judged as much by their ability to fundraise as their ability to operate effectively. Read article.

Leadership and strategy over accounting… That perspective is based on an insider’s view of the financial officer executive search process, the increased emphasis on CFOs by boards of directors as part of CEO succession plans, and the current cultural influences on business leaders’ overall decision making.

After nearly two decades of recruiting CFOs and having personally interviewed thousands of financial officers, I see a clear pattern emerge in what separates the highly successful from the mediocre. The big themes are perseverance through adversity, taking the initiative to architect important strategic projects, and consistent development of staff. Read article.

SEC and corporate subsidiaries… Riding a spike in Securities and Exchange Commission civil enforcement actions against corporate subsidiaries, the overall number of SEC enforcements against public companies and their units rose more than 50% in fiscal year 2015, according to a new survey.

In fiscal 2015, the SEC filed 52 actions against corporate subsidiaries compared with an average of 18 actions a year between fiscal 2010 and 2014, the report, issued by the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business and Cornerstone Research, found. Among its actions against subsidiaries, the commission focused mostly on financial firms. Read article.

Headlines

Companies Don’t Need CFOs to Be CPAs Anymore

The transition away from an accounting focus is profound and gaining steam: Russell Reynolds research.

 

A CFO With No Accounting Background? No Way!

A partner at a CFO services firm offers a fiery retort to those who play down the value of accounting skills for CFOs.

 

Desired CFO Skills Shift with the Times

At present strategic ability is the priority, but history suggests accounting know-how could circle back to the fore, a CFO says.

 

Leadership, Strategic Skills Leave Accounting in the Dust

Modern CFOs are value creators, says a longtime executive recruiter.

 

Why Accounting Will Always Matter for CFOs

The language of finance will forever be numbers, says Workday’s finance chief.

 

SEC Going After Corp. Subsidiaries

The Securities and Exchange Commission is particularly focused on the subsidiaries of financial services firms.

 

Is an Accounting Background Important for Today’s CFOs?

Five takes on how accounting stacks up against other CFO competencies.

 

U.S. Doubles Threshold for Overtime Eligibility

The Obama administration says its new overtime rule will strengthen the middle class but a business group calls it a “career killer.”

 

Fitbit Makes Move Toward Finance Technology

The company has acquired intellectual property from Coin as it prepares to offer mobile payments on its fitness trackers.

 

Target Shares Drop 7.6% on Comp Sales Miss

Same-store sales gained 1.2% in Q1, missing analysts’ estimates, and Target is expecting growth to be flat or lower in coming months.

 

Ag Firm Andersons Spurns $1B Buyout Offer

HC2 Holdings’ unsolicited $37-a-share bid “significantly understates the company’s true value,” Andersons’ chairman says.

 

SABMiller Profit Hit By $160M in Merger Costs

The beer giant reports an 18% drop in full-year profit ahead of its $108 billion merger with rival Anheuser-Busch InBev.

 

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