The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.
Part 1: Timken Company CFO Q&A and Brex Exec On Going From CFO to COO
This week, senior reporter-at-large Vince Ryan will publish a Q&A with Phil Fracassa, CFO of The Timken Company, a 120-year-old, acquisitive engineered product manufacturer. Fracassa, who has a background in business development and tax and has spent 18 years at Timken, talks about acquisition strategy, Timken’s global manufacturing footprint, and the company’s culture. (11/30)
Reporter Adam Zaki will also write a story about Michael Tannenbaum’s experience going from CFO to COO of corporate card issuer Brex, and the thought process behind the transition from finance leader to a more “ambiguous” role. (12/1)
Part 2: This Week
CFO will be attending the Baruch College 18th annual auditing conference on Tuesday. Sessions on ESG, enforcement and litigation, digital assets, audit quality, and artificial intelligence are scheduled. Look for PCAOB and SEC to touch on the issue of whether financial audits should catch fraud. A fireside chat with PCAOB chair Erica Williams (most likely virtual) rounds out the agenda.
The Friday after Thanksgiving was a hit for retailers — online. E-commerce sales rose 7.5% from a year earlier to $9.8 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. In-store sales rose only 1%. Consumers could spend another $12 billion today, Cyber Monday, although many online sales have been in full gear for days. Heavy discounting is helping drive the buying.
U.S. consumers are spending despite mounting credit card debt and lower expectations for their families’ financial situations in the next six months, according to The Conference Board. (New CB numbers on consumer confidence arrive Tuesday.)
The performance of stocks in the past few weeks is making individual investors happier about their household balance sheets. Markets have been boosted by projections that the Fed funds rate is at its zenith and that a “soft landing” is possible, not to mention the suggestion that rate cuts will ease the cost of credit by mid-year 2024.
With no Federal Open Market Committee meeting until December 12, Fed governors have several speaking appearances this week, including three on Tuesday. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, signaling the Fed will be cautious about further rate hikes, is addressing Atlanta business leaders on Thursday. However, he’s unlikely to give extensive commentary on monetary policy.
This week, plenty of economic data arrives to bolster or weaken inflation expectations, including the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index and personal income. Core PCE estimates for October are at 3.5% year-over-year, down from 3.7% in September. Monthly growth in personal income is expected to stay positive at 0.2%.
On the business side, data on construction spending, ISM manufacturing, the U.S. trade balance in goods, and retail and wholesale inventories will hit the wires. According to an Atlanta Fed November survey, business leaders in the Atlanta Fed district expect inflation to moderate to 2.5% by this time next year. But three-quarters expect labor and non-labor costs to influence prices upwardly.
Despite the strong performance of the equity markets last week, not many market watchers foresee a spate of initial public offerings (IPOs) before midnight on December 31. Companies with active filings hope the recently lower CBOE volatility index will stay in its current range of 12% to 13% or just slightly higher in the first quarter of 2024.
Earnings this week: Workday, Intuit, NetApp, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Crowdstrike, Salesforce, Dollar Tree, Five Below, Kroger, Splunk, Hormel Foods, Foot Locker, Ulta Beauty, Big Lots, Cracker Barrel, TD Bank, Zscaler, Dell, and Snowflake. — Vincent Ryan
Part 3: The 6 a.m. CFO
MDH Partners’ CFO Arun Singh discusses the importance of self-reflection, how he supports sea turtle initiatives all over the world, and taking on jobs out of his traditional scope of work.
“Every day, I do something that falls wildly outside of my job description. I recently researched extra strong rare earth magnets and attached covers to the metal vents over several coworkers’ desks. I want everyone to be comfortable in their offices.” (11/30)