With the dog days of summer at their peak, consumer confidence, much like that of CFOs, has hit a sizzle. Consumers, like corporate finance chiefs, seem confident despite all the reasons to be concerned about the economy and its future. Whether it’s a sense of optimism, empirically driven confidence, or blissful ignorance, a positive outlook has all of a sudden become the most popular take on the economy these days.
With the next day off (outside of any well-deserved summer PTO) coming in September for many companies, the race to accomplish the goals of Q3 while setting up for the end of the year has begun. Leaders of teams who hope their employees work hard over the next several weeks may be best served by focusing their productivity evaluations on moments that matter. As some companies are going as far as to list the price of a call based on the salaries of attendees in order to discourage redundant meetings, leaders who focus on the quality of the work of their teams, and less on the quantity, may be better set up for success in the Fall.
Speaking of leveraging confidence to achieve success, Thursday is the 55th anniversary of Buzz Aldrin’s famous "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” line during the 1969 moon landing. For CFOs, the things that are done efficiently over the next few weeks may prepare them for their moon landing-esque moment, whether that be the end of the year, the achievement of a growth-related goal, or the opportunity as an individual to climb the ladder to another CFO or even CEO position.
(The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.)
Part 1: A “Wicked Smaht” CFO
This week, reporter Adam Zaki talks to Boston Red Sox CFO Tim Zue. Zaki and Zue discuss the details of a CFO’s role in the MLB, his industry-specific KPIs, and some of the perks and pressures of being the finance chief of one of Boston’s most beloved organizations. (7/20)
Part 2: Economic Calendar
Monday — Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler addresses artificial intelligence and securities regulation at a National Press Club headliners luncheon.
Tuesday — Economists expect the June retail sales report to show an increase of 0.5%, up from 0.3% in May. Also arriving are the data on U.S. industrial production and capacity utilization. Business inventory numbers are also due, and the National Association of Home Builders releases its July builder confidence reading.
Wednesday — The Census Bureau posts its data on new residential construction, also known as housing starts, for June. While new construction is down from 2022 levels, the lack of existing homes for sale boosts new home construction.
Events developer Consero holds an executive Corporate Learning & Development Executive Roundtable at the Harvard Club in New York. Topics include maximizing the return on learning and development (L&D) technologies and bringing learning to employees using artificial intelligence.
Thursday — The Conference Board publishes its leading economic index, which once again is expected to fall.
The SEC holds a closed meeting.
Comic-Con, the comic book and sci-fi festival, kicks off in San Diego.
Friday — The U.S. women’s soccer team plays Vietnam in its opening match in the group stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand. The United States is in Group E, which includes Portugal and the Netherlands.
Earnings this week — Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, Novartis, Baker Hughes, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Tesla, American Airlines, Haliburton, Johnson & Johnson, Manpower, Marsh & McLennan, Nasdaq, Travelers, United Airlines, American Express, Comerica, Nokia, and others.
Part 3: Who Should Be Your Company's Finance CIO?
The rising interest in finance automation presents a compelling growth opportunity for controllers to establish themselves as de facto finance chief information officers. Our guest contributor says controllers should partner with their CFO to realize the full benefit of automation within the finance function and across all other organizational processes. (7/18)
Stat of the Week
China’s gross domestic product grew by 6.3% year-on-year in the second quarter, lower than economists expected.