CFO Top Ten

Two-thousand and seventeen was a year of numerous newsworthy events from start to finish. America inaugurated a new president, passed a tax reform bill, saw regulations slashed, witnessed an economic boom in the jobs market, and looked in amazement at the meteoric rise of bitcoin, just to name a few. But what about the news stories for finance executives? What about trends in hiring and developing talent; complying with new revenue recognition rules; the rising tide of artificial intelligence; and the latest tech companies to watch?

Don’t worry — CFO has you covered. Below are our 10 most-read stories of 2017:

10. Betting on Blockchain

While blockchain technology is unfledged, Keith Bear, a vice president and global leader for financial markets at IBM, says it’s “mature enough to commit quite sizable and sophisticated applications to it.” In addition to reducing the cost of existing business models, he says, blockchain has the potential to help companies develop new ways of serving clients that might not presently be easy or affordable. Read more…

9. How Risky Are New Revenue Recognition Rules?

Having an effective system of internal controls that includes a consistent approach to tackling revenue recognition judgment, such as maintaining key accounting conclusion memos, and keeping accurate minutes of related discussions, will facilitate greater transparency. Even if an auditor or regulator doesn’t agree with the ultimate conclusions, organizations will be better positioned to demonstrate a good-faith effort. Read more…

8. Revenue Recognition ‘Doomsday Clock’ Is Ticking

The new accounting rule isn’t just a back-office issue. For subscription-based companies, it has the potential to impact sales commissions, go-to-market strategies, compensation plans, product roadmaps, everything. Read more…

7. What Are Auditors Looking For This Year?

A number of the emerging audit red flags arise from prevailing global economic and business trends, especially the disruptive (and to some extent unanticipated) impact of technology. Read more…

6. KPMG Replaces Audit Chair in Wake of PCAOB Leaks

Faced with the revelation that six of its auditors had improperly received advance information from an employee of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board about upcoming inspections of the firm, KPMG announced that it was replacing its top auditor, Scott Marcello, with Frank Casal, a 38-year veteran of the firm. Read more…

5. Two CFOs Tell a Tale of Fraud at HealthSouth

“People who didn’t even work for HealthSouth lost career opportunities because of connections with HealthSouth. People’s husbands, wives, and kids were negatively affected by this all across the country.” Read more…

4. Hire Expectations

The shortage of young finance talent is widely discussed among CFOs, but rarely closely examined. The shrinking unemployment rate has drained the talent pool in many corporate functions and industries, and companies continually complain that they can’t find qualified staff. For finance departments, the problem is different: If they were looking solely for the technical skills they wanted years ago, they would be overwhelmed with candidates. Today, though, such skills are table stakes, and the focus is on finding people who stand out because they have other desired qualities as well. Read more…

3. JC Penney Closing 140 Stores in Early 2017

The U.S. retail chain plans to close as many as 140 brick-and-mortar locations after announcing disappointing results over the 2016 holiday season. Comparable sales for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 28 fell 0.7%, compared with a 4.1% increase in the prior period. Net sales slipped 0.6% to $12.5 billion on the year. Read more…

2. Artificial Intelligence Comes to Financial Statement Audits

Artificial intelligence advocates speak of a time to come when these systems will be capable of auditing 100% of a company’s financial transactions. These visionaries foresee the day when AI will enable auditing that is a continuous and real-time process, not a prolonged exercise requiring large teams of accountants working overtime after the close of a fiscal year. Read more…

1. Disruptive Influences: 20 Tech Companies to Watch

To give CFOs a sense of the exciting tech developments going on, as well as to alert them to innovative solutions, the editors of CFO decided to filter the marketing noise generated by tech firms. The goal was to produce a short list of promising companies and applications geared toward the next-generation enterprise. Since CFOs have a large hand in technology adoption, we considered solutions for finance as well as other parts of the organization. Read more…

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