The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.
Part 1: MIT Sloan Summit and Chipotle CFO’s AI Plans
This week, reporter Adam Zaki will publish a Q&A with Chipotle’s CFO Jack Hartung. Zaki and Hartung discuss interesting ways the company is implementing AI to manage productivity, what has made Hartung stick around for more than two decades, how to maintain the foundations of business during rapid growth, and more. (11/16)
CFO will also attend MIT Sloan’s CFO Summit in Boston on Tuesday. Zaki will publish a story on takeaways and learning lessons from the event. (11/17)
Part 2: This Week
At midnight Friday funding for the U.S. government runs out, providing more drama this week as Congress seeks to agree to a stopgap measure. House Speaker Mike Johnson has unveiled a plan to temporarily fund agencies while individual spending bills are negotiated, but the bill lacks funding for Ukraine or Israel. Meanwhile, Moody’s changed the credit-rating outlook for the U.S. to negative on Friday, citing the rise in Treasury bond yields increasing “pre-existing pressure on U.S. debt affordability.” Moody’s said that affordability will decline “to very weak levels compared to other highly rated sovereigns.”
Economic data this week will be essential inputs for the Federal Open Market Committee as it considers whether it’s “mission accomplished” in the fight against inflation. October consumer price index (CPI) numbers arrive on Tuesday. Economists expect headline CPI to fall to 3.3% year over year, but they forecast that core CPI will stay at 4.1%. Fed funds futures pricing this morning shows a 15% probability of a rate hike at the December 13 FOMC meeting.
“We know that ongoing progress toward our 2% goal is not assured: Inflation has given us a few head fakes,” Powell said in his speech at an IMF event last Thursday. Fed funds futures pricing shows only a 15% probability of a rate hike at the December 13 FOMC meeting.
This week's economic data includes the small business optimism index, producer price index, U.S. retail sales, business inventories, import prices, industrial production and capacity utilization, homebuilder confidence, housing starts, and building permits.
Retail sales may be the most awaited number, given that the holiday season is nearly here, and consumer spending has yet to buckle from higher prices. But the CNBC/NRF retail monitor found that retail sales excluding autos and gas fell by .08% in October. Economists expect Wednesday’s retail sales data from the Census Bureau to show a dip from September’s 0.7% increase. Home Depot, Target, Macy’s, and Walmart report earnings in the next few days, rounding out what consumers are and are not buying.
Adobe Analytics has forecasted that U.S. shoppers will spend $221 billion online over the holidays, a year-over-year increase of 5%. But retailers have had to offer discounts to price-conscious customers to boost sales, the highest discounts coming in apparel, electronics, sporting goods, and appliances, said Adobe Analytics.
Earnings this week: Home Depot, Target, Cisco, Alibaba, Macy’s, Walmart, Roblox, Draftkings, Tyson Foods, TJX Companies, Applied Materials, BJ's Wholesale Club, Palo Alto Networks, JD.com, Fiserv, and others.
Look back: If you missed the drama last surrounding the hack of China’s largest bank, a significant player in the Treasury market, Reuters has a story putting it all in perspective. — Vincent Ryan
Part 3: Metric of the Month
Billing adjustments come about for perfectly understandable reasons and it’s best to resolve them as quickly as possible. Organizations that take too long to make adjustments face increased enterprise risk and can also cause ripple effects for key finance processes like reporting and forecasting. APQC finance chief Perry D. Wiggins offers ways to eliminate billing adjustment bottlenecks. (11/15)