Standout Stories

Future innovation in finance… Tomorrow’s business world will look different from today’s. And it logically follows that tomorrow’s finance teams will look different as well. Professionals joining the world of finance can look forward to a career that is more deeply engaged with, and contributes more value to, the businesses they support.

Those were key themes emerging from a recent global survey of more than 1,500 finance professionals in large and midsize firms, conducted by CFO Research and sponsored by SAP. Titled “Thriving in the Digital Economy,” the survey sought to gain an understanding of what finance professionals from all levels see as the source of their future success. Read article

Disclosure rethought… In December 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission sent a report to Congress on Regulation S-K, the disclosure rules for public companies. Although its JOBS Act mandate was to investigate ways to simplify the registration process for so-called emerging growth companies, the SEC concluded its report by calling for a comprehensive review of the disclosure regime for all public companies.

Today, while the agency continues to review the disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K and Regulation S-X, which addresses financial statements, a growing number of companies are pursuing disclosure improvement on their own — with the encouragement of the SEC. General Electric, Target, Honeywell, Intel, and American Express are some of the more prominent firms that are making their 10-Ks clearer and more readable, using more charts and graphs to present financial and other information, whether on a printed page or a website. Read article

Life insurance and the powers that be… Have you heard of “death pools”? They’re games, of perhaps questionable taste, in which participants pick, say, 10 famous people they think might die within the next year. The contestant whose tally is the highest wins.

Of course, there is an entire, very large industry — life insurance — whose economics are based in large part on predicting when people will die. Unlike death pools, there is no hint of ghoulishness at play. Unless a policyholder ceases paying the premiums or surrenders the policy to the insurer in exchange for a cash payment (normally a tiny fraction of what the eventual death benefit would be), the longer the policyholder lives, the better the insurer’s return. Read article

Headlines

Atlantic City Crisis Threatens Other N.J. Cities: Moody’s

New Jersey’s “posture toward Atlantic City reduces the likelihood that it would rescue other financially distressed cities,” the rating agency warns.

 

Red Skies And Blue Oceans

First-quarter results from the Duke/CFO Business Outlook Survey raise a note of caution.

 

Finance Innovation for the Future

A recent report from CFO Research suggests five actions to prepare finance professionals for the future.

 

Rethinking Disclosure

Encouraged by the SEC, companies are finding new ways to make 10-Ks and other disclosures more relevant and reader-friendly.

 

‘Life Settlements’ CFO Eyes Vast Potential Market

The company is banking on the aging population giving rise to a surge in market of seniors selling no-longer-wanted life insurance policies.

 

ConAgra Swings to a Profit, Beats Expectations

The food giant also reduced its debt load and improved operating margins.

 

Pacific Sunwear Joins List of Retail Bankruptcies

Strategic missteps, including creating too large a store footprint and having no cohesive e-commerce strategy, contributed to PacSun’s financial woes.

 

Initial Claims For Jobless Benefits Fall

Labor Department data show a jobs market that appears unwavering in its strength.

 

Las Vegas Sands Fined $9M Over China Dealings

The casino company violated the FCPA by failing to properly authorize or document $62 million of payments to a consultant in China.

 

JPMorgan Chase Urges ‘No’ Vote On Breakup Prosal

Would the divestiture of all non-core banking business segments enhance shareholder value? JPMorgan’s board of directors doesn’t think so.

 

A World of Tax

How much do you know about worldwide corporate income tax rates? Take our quiz.

 

Battles Brew over Climate Risk Disclosure

With Exxon Mobil and Peabody Energy in the crosshairs over their lack of disclosure, how much exposure do other companies face?

 

Stock Option Rules Simplify Reporting, FASB Says

Putting all stock option tax reporting on the income statement is a big change, a standard setter says.

 

CFOs on the Move: Week Ending April 8

FMR, Rx Savings Solutions, Eversource Energy, BGC Partners, NetApp, Visteon, Sungard Availability Services, LaSalle Hotel Properties, Navigant Consulting

 

FBI Warns of Rise in Business Email Scams

Scams in which fraudsters pose as company executives have caused more than $2.3 billion in losses to businesses since October 2013.

 

Fitch Downgrades Staples to Junk on Weak Sales

As a standalone company, Staples has “limited ability to reverse declines in sales and EBITDA over the forecast horizon,” Fitch warns.

 

California Leads the Way in Alternative Lending

Alternative lenders made $15.9 billion in U.S. loans in 2014, with California transactions increasing by 936% since 2010.

 

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