The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.
Part 1: Leadership Lessons
Reporter Adam Zaki will publish a Q&A with ServiceRocket’s CFO Joy Mbanugo. Zaki and Mbanugo discuss how her experience in leadership positions at EY, BlackRock, and Google helped develop her approach as CFO, her thoughts on the developing technologies impacting finance leaders, her most relevant KPIs right now, and how her upbringing allowed her to avoid “intellectual laziness.” (12/7)
Zaki will also publish a story on Pigment’s Office of the CFO 2024 Expectations vs. Reality Report. The survey addresses CFO outlooks on their decision-making, confidence within their decision-making abilities, thoughts on artificial intelligence, and more. (12/6)
Part 2: This Week
The employment picture takes center stage this week, starting with the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey results reported on Tuesday. Economists expect openings to slip to 9.38 million from 9.55 million in October’s data. But hirings and “separations” — quits, layoffs, and discharges — are projected to remain relatively flat.
But that doesn’t mean layoffs aren’t still happening. Spotify announced Monday it is laying off 17% of its workforce. The Challenger, Gray & Christmas report on layoffs and job cuts is due this week. The pace of workforce reductions has slowed in recent months, but 2023 will close with a substantial increase over 2022.
Friday’s employment data from the U.S. government is not expected to contain any surprises — payroll adds will be up in November due to some labor strike settlements, but economists project little movement in the unemployment rate.
Despite data pointing to a “soft landing” for the U.S. economy, expectations of rate cuts got a boost last week. Although Fed Chair Jerome Powell said it was “premature” to discuss lowering the Fed funds rate, 30-day Fed funds futures now imply more and earlier interest rate cuts in 2024. The CME FedWatch tool shows a 51% chance of a 25-basis-point rate reduction in March. Some Wall Street analysts expect as many as six rate cuts next year.
“We’re now at the point where the window to go public before year-end is barely open,” said Bill Smith, co-founder of Renaissance Capital, in his weekly email over the weekend. “Some companies may try to thread the needle, launching in the week ahead for a mid-December listing. But most are likely looking to the year ahead.”
Indeed, there are no IPOs scheduled to price this week, but there has been news of issuers getting ready for 2024. Panera Brands has confidentially filed for an IPO, as has Chinese-founded fast-fashion giant Shein. Other companies expected to be in the 2024 class are Reddit, Fanatics, and Skims.
The AICPA & CIMA Conference on SEC and PCAOB developments is being held today through Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
The U.N. climate change conference continues this week.
Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish festival commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, starts at nightfall on Thursday.
Earnings this week: GitLab, JOANN, Autozone, Toll Brothers, Box, J.M. Smucker, Brown-Forman, Campbell Soup, C3.ai, Chewy, Sprinklr, GameStop, Broadcom, Lululemon, Dollar General, DocuSign, Guidewire Software, and others.
Part 3: Managing Financial Policies and Procedures
Every organization should undertake a regular audit of its financial policies and procedures. Finance teams that can efficiently run these reviews can get back to the key work of the business without spending too much time or money bringing policy up to date. Personnel costs are the biggest contributor to the overall cost of managing financial policies and procedures.
For that reason, it’s critical to build and maintain an ecosystem where people can gather and do the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. Perry D. Wiggins, CFO of APQC, offers four practices to help finance teams use their time effectively. (12/6)