Social Studies

Why CFOs can&spamp;rsquo;t ignore social media.
Scott LeibsFebruary 1, 2012

You may not realize it, but there’s a good chance that as of this moment you’re acting out a scene from the movie The Social Network. Late in the film, the company’s first CFO, Eduardo Saverin, is being deposed in a civil suit:

Attorney: After expressing misgivings about Mr. Zuckerberg taking the company and moving it to California for the summer, why did you put $18,000 into an account for his use?

Saverin: I figured we were partners and I wanted to be a team player. I figured Mark, Dustin, and the interns could work on the site while I generated advertiser interest in New York. But what I mostly figured [was] how much could go wrong in three months?

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To invest or not to invest? To regard three months as a period in which not much can happen, or as one in which everything might change? To appreciate just how big the Next Big Thing can be, or fail to? Those are just some of the questions and challenges regarding social media that all CFOs must confront, even if they aren’t quite ready to click the “Like” button. If you think that social media is nothing more than a time killer for your kids and perhaps a hipster or two in the marketing department, think again. Senior editor David Rosenbaum explains how social media can help you understand “Who’s Out There?” and how to redefine your relationship with them. (For a related take, see “Deal with It.”)

Elsewhere in this issue we take a look at different kinds of relationships, specifically, those you’ll need to develop overseas if you hope to expand your global operations. In our inaugural CFO/360° Special Report, we take a look at some of the challenges confronting companies that want to staff up foreign operations or develop joint ventures as a way to tap into emerging markets. See “Global Positioning.”

And speaking of global, our latest Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey finds that CFO optimism is up, at least a little. The same holds true for hiring and spending plans. See “Proceeding with Caution.”

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