The Year in Review

Test your recall of 2011 finance trends.
CFO StaffDecember 1, 2011

Although we might wish it otherwise, there have been few dull moments in the business world this year. Herewith a look back at some of the hot topics covered in these pages (and on throughout 2011.

1) In February, we wrote about the fine art of the turnaround, and quoted a veteran CFO and consultant as saying that the majority of distressed companies he has worked with are hampered by:
A. Poor relationships with their banks
B. An inflexible workforce
C. A too-narrow base of customers
D. A limited view of cash flows

2) A month later, our cover story on fraud prevention cited a recent report that found that what percentage of 760 companies polled had been victims of fraud over the past 12 months?
A. 21%
B. 55%
C. 70%
D. 88%

3) More recently, we reported just last month on one novel fraud-prevention technique suggested by an insurance-company executive, which is to:
A. Install nonoperating cameras conspicuously throughout the workplace
B. Have all employees sign an “ethical behavior” pledge
C. Appoint a full-time internal fraud officer
D. Run periodic credit checks on current employees

4) In April, our 60th consecutive quarterly Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey found that optimism among CFOs regarding their domestic economy had:
A. Reached a four-year high
B. Reached an all-time high
C. Hit its lowest level since September 2008
D. Shown optimism among CFOs in China dropping for the first time ever

5) In May, we reported that the current number of companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges had changed by how much since 2000?
A. +15%
B. +5%
C. -10%
D. -30%

6) In June, we reported that what percent of CFOs believe there is “an imbalance between the effective tax rates paid by large companies versus smaller companies”?
A. 28%
B. 44%
C. 67%
D. 81%

7) The following month, we cited a study that found that missing a quarterly consensus earnings forecast increased a CFO’s odds of being fired by almost:
A. 10%
B. 20%
C. 30%
D. 40%

8) Finally, just last month we examined the notable rise in employee productivity since the onset of the recession, including a Deloitte study in which companies said that the top driver of recent productivity gains has been:
A. More effective use of IT
B. Improvements in business processes
C. Layoffs driving up many per-employee measures of productivity
D. Better incentive/compensation policies

Answers: 1–D; 2–D; 3–D; 4–A; 5–D; 6–C; 7–B; 8–B