Human Capital

‘Quiet’ Trends, a Navy Submarine CFO, and Eyes on Inflation: Trial Balance

This week's Trial Balance previews continuing work trends, CPI, and a CFO's journey from a sub to the C-suite.
April 10, 2023
‘Quiet’ Trends, a Navy Submarine CFO, and Eyes on Inflation: Trial Balance
Photo: Kanizphoto

As Wall Street’s quarterly earnings are expected to be underwhelming, JP Morgan faces new scrutiny from regulators after a recent audit from office of the comptroller of the currency (OCC), and Glass Lewis is advising Barclays’ shareholders to withhold their former CFO’s bonus. Q2 is in full swing.

Contributor Perry Wiggins’ metric of the month, which highlights the importance of employee learning days, combined with reporter Adam Zaki’s story on the feasibility of a four-day work week, highlights how the human element plays into the way we work. As talent issues continue to persist, leaders who are trying to keep up with the latest news on down turning markets should do their best to keep employees top-of-mind as well, regardless of how the economy is performing.

Speaking of matchmaking, this Friday is already two months after Valentines Day, or National Ex-Spouse day. So if the news around the economy isn’t enough to drag you down, maybe you can revisit why that first (or second) marriage didn’t work out.

How Startup CFO Grew Food Company 50% YoY

How Startup CFO Grew Food Company 50% YoY

This case study of JonnyPops’ success highlights the unusual financial and operational strategies that enabled rapid expansion into a crowded and highly competitive frozen treat market. 

 (The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.)

Part 1: A Quiet Place

This week, Zaki  takes a look at the continuing development of “quiet like” workplace trends. As some make traction more than others, the balance of employee wellness and productivity continues to drive talent searching and retainment efforts. Although the ideal work/life balance is dependent largely on both location and industry, new terms provide an opportunity for executives to better understand how their employees, particularly younger ones, approach work. (April 14)

Also, the corporate tax deadline is next week. With hackers hard at work this time of year, Zaki’s recent conversations with cybersecurity experts about transitioning to the cloud highlights the importance of cybersecurity, and how hackers can leverage tax season to steal corporate data. (April 13).

Part 2: Economic Calendar

Monday — Central bankers and finance ministers huddle for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington D.C. The IMF will publish its latest global economic forecast on Tuesday. Monday features a webinar on the future of interest rates and managing high public debt.

Tuesday — The National Federal of Independent Business releases its April small business optimism index. Optimism has been low the past 14 months, with small business owners doubtful business conditions will improve soon, and historic inflation and labor shortages still holding back growth, according to NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

Wednesday — The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the consumer price index for March. Economists forecast a monthly print of 0.4% in headline CPI, and year-over-year headline CPI to fall nearly 1 percentage point to 5.2%, down from 6% in February. Core CPI is expected to have been a little more stubborn, increasing 5.6% year-over-year last month.

The Federal Open Market Committee releases the minutes of its March 21-22 meeting, at which, according to chair Jerome Powell, members considered pausing the Fed’s campaign against inflation in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Vice Chair Travis Hill will discuss the FDIC’s role in recent bank failures at an event held by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Thursday — Economists are also expecting a near 1 percentage point year-over-year drop in the the March print of the core producer price index (PPI) — the measure of prices that domestic producers receive for their goods and services. 

Friday — The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index is not expected to have moved much since last month’s report, when it fell for the first time in four months. The index hasn’t been above 70 since December 2021. It’s five-year peak was 101 in February 2020.

The retail sales report from the Census Bureau will show a similar size contraction to February’s 0.4%, say economists. Retailer Costco already reported that in March its sales showed the lowest increase since the COVID-19 shutdowns.

The latest numbers for U.S. industrial production, export and import prices, business inventories, and capacity utilization also get released.

Earnings releases this week —  First-quarter earnings season starts in earnest on Friday of this week, as BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and PNC Financial Services report results. Other scheduled earnings calls for the week include CarMax, Albertsons, Tata Consultancy, Rent the Runway, Delta Air Lines, Infosys Technologies, and UnitedHealth Group.

Part 3: From U.S. Navy Submarine to Finance Chief 

This week we talk to Bill Nash, the chief financial officer of autonomous vehicle company Cruise, about his career path to the CFO seat. Nash served eight years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Submarine Force and was then hired at biotech company Amgen and earned his MBA, which drew him to finance. 

“As a servant leader, it’s my responsibility to leverage my skills and the influence I have to put my teams in a position to help the company succeed. I try to do that every day,” Nash said. (April 13)

Quote of the Week

Because this edition was partly created in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia as our team returns home from their holiday travels, we will leave you with a quote from American abolitionist leader and the area’s historical phenom, John Brown

“These men are all talk; What is needed is action – action!”