Strategy

The Top 10 Stories of 2012

While the biggest news concerned Obamacare, perennial CFO subjects like budgeting and planning and the use of spreadsheets were highly popular.
David KatzDecember 28, 2012

It’s health care, stupid. As the economy was for voters during the Clinton era, so was Obamacare and its fallout by far the most pressing matter on the mind of CFO’s audience this year. From April 4 through December 19 of this now fast-fading year, in fact, fully 3 out of the 10 most popular stories appearing on CFO.com were focused on health care.

That’s not to say the economy as a whole was not a preoccupation among our readership. The article “Healing America’s Economy” focused on the Obama-Romney Presidential election. And such perennial concerns of finance chiefs as budgeting and planning and the use of spreadsheets were also highly popular reads during 2012. Here, Dear Readers, are the stories you turned to most:

1. Freed from the Budget. Many companies see budgeting as a time-consuming exercise of limited value. Some are resorting to a radical fix: getting rid of the budget.

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2. “Private Exchanges” Could Trigger Health-Benefits Revolution. To what extent Corporate America will embrace this emerging method of delivering employee health care is not yet clear — but a vast transformation appears quite possible.

3. Company Hit for $35 Million in 401(k) Fee Case. Among other breaches of fiduciary duty, ABB Inc. failed to monitor recordkeeping fees and revenue-sharing payments to its retirement plan’s trust company.

4. Stunned CFOs Now Must Focus on Complying with Health-care Act. The Supreme Court opinion was not the one most of them wanted. But now finance chiefs need to work on compliance and make some tough decisions.

5. Will Big Companies Drop Health Benefits? Once the dust settles on the forthcoming state insurance exchanges, small companies may not be the only ones seeking to shed employee health plans.

6. Internal Audit: a Dead-end Job? A new study reveals that new entrants to the corporate-accounting profession have second thoughts about entering internal audit.

7. Healing America’s Economy: Obama vs. Romney. Which Presidential candidate has the better plan for reviving the economy? We asked economists what they think.

8. Risk Takers, Career Makers. How are women making it to the top in finance? Sometimes by making unconventional, even risky, career moves.

9. Spreadsheets: Moving Data from PDF to Excel. Converting a PDF “data dump” into Excel or Access is made easier with a third-party tool.

10. Excel — Forecasting Seasonal Data. Production forecasting with Excel usually entails using straight-line regression. But you’ll need to tweak your formulas if you want to incorporate seasonal sales data into the mix. Here’s an easy way to run the numbers.