Trial Balance

All Eyes on CPI, Fintech Nexus, and the CFO-Controller Partnership: Trial Balance

The CFO team looks ahead to this week’s conferences, CPI report, and more.
All Eyes on CPI, Fintech Nexus, and the CFO-Controller Partnership: Trial Balance
Photo: Getty Images

Business event season is heating up, as is the rhetoric over raising the U.S. government’s debt ceiling. We’re crossing our fingers that, as Janet Yellen said, Congress does its job. Meanwhile, the consequences of the turmoil in banking are coming into view.

Consumer price index (CPI) numbers are the big economic data release, but economists are not expecting evidence of much cooling off of inflation.

Nota Bene: Warren Buffett is not optimistic about the U.S. economy, expecting lower earnings this year at Berkshire Hathaway companies.

For more evergreen tidbits of wisdom apart from Buffett’s, you can livestream a college commencement — it’s the season for some interesting choices for commencement speakers

Notable speakers include Wynton Marsalis at the College of the Holy Cross; Patton Oswalt at the College of William and Mary; Tom Hanks at Harvard; and John McEnroe at Stanford University.

Business execs donning the mortar and tassel include Hayes Barnard, founder of GoodLeap (University of Texas at Austin); Randall Stephenson, former CEO of AT&T (University of Oklahoma); and Charlie Barker, co-founder of Tripadvisor (Bentley University). Overall, 13 present and former CEOs will be sharing the benefit of their experience with future members of the workforce.

If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, this 2011 quote by Conan O’Brien at Dartmouth College may come in handy:

“There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.”

(The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.)

Part 1: Reporting From BrokerFair and Fintech Nexus

This week, reporter Adam Zaki is attending BrokerFair on May 8 and Fintech Nexus on May 11 in New York City. 

BrokerFair, a commercial finance event, brings together two parties of people: brokers, whose clients are small-medium sized businesses seeking financing; and funders, the ones who secure financing for clients. This highly competitive, sometimes unforgiving industry involves intense negotiations between brokers and their customers and between brokers and funders for commissions on the loans they sell.

Leaders from this industry should provide great tips for CFOs looking to negotiate more favorable deals.

Fintech Nexus, a fintech trade show, will draw companies of all sizes to showcase their latest fintech offerings. As fintech’s role in corporate finance has increased, this event should serve as a good gauge of the offerings, people, and energy surrounding the industry.

Here are some more upcoming events that should be on the radar of CFOs and their teams.

Part 2: Economic Calendar

Monday —  The Federal Reserve releases the spring edition of the Senior Loan Officer Survey on Bank Lending Practices (SLOOS). Banks said they had tightened up on lending to businesses and commercial real estate in the January survey, and businesses’ demand for loans had dropped. The first-quarter SLOOS results will probably reflect a similar posture by U.S. banks.

Tuesday — The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) releases its Small Business Optimism Index for April. The index has experienced 15 months in a row of falling below the 49-year average, with small business fears continuing to focus on inflation and hiring plans.

Wednesday — The AICPA & CIMA CFO Conference kicks off today and runs through Friday. Located in Salt Lake City, this event for finance chiefs, controllers, and finance directors features sessions on core CFO topics. A virtual attendance option is available.

Fintech Nexus (see Part 1) kicks off at the Javits Center in New York.

Will the economy’s resistance to monetary policy be reflected in the April Consumer Price Index? Economists forecast that last month’s CPI numbers will show inflation rolling along, with headline CPI and core CPI staying above 5% year-over-year.

Thursday — FASB holds a meeting of its investor advisory committee, to discuss topics such as the statement of cash flows, accounting for and disclosure of crypto assets, improvements to income tax disclosures, and other emerging accounting issues. Remote attendance is available.

The House Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations will hold a hearing on the Government Accountability Office’s preliminary review of the regulator oversight of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

At the Current Challenges in Economics & Finance conference in Madrid, Fed Governor Christopher Waller will speak about financial stability and climate change.

Will producer price inflation continue to subside, as it did in March? The BLS releases the producer price index (PPI) and core PPI data for April. PPI is based on about 100,000 monthly price quotes reported voluntarily online from more than 25,000 chosen suppliers.

FRIDAY — Fed Governor Philip Jefferson appears on a panel about monetary policy strategy at the Hoover Institution Monetary Policy Conference at Stanford University. 

The University of Michigan releases its preliminary consumer sentiment index for May. The index hasn’t been above 70 since December 2021. The last time the index fell below 70 before that was December 2011.

Earnings this week — Tyson Foods, Six Flags, Coty, Warner Music, Apollo Global Management, PayPal, Tempur Sealy, Wendy’s, YETI Holdings, Krispy Kreme, Airbnb, Disney, Softbank, and others.

Part 3: How Controllers Can Uplevel Their CFO Support

A critical factor in a CFO’s ability to navigate our uncertain economic environment is the corporate controllers supporting their finance organizations. Bryce Armbruster, a controller at Rho, offers five proactive tips for controllers to position themselves as a CFO’s most valuable ally. (May 11)

Quote of the Week

“The incentives in bank regulation are so messed up and so many people have an interest in having them messed up — it’s totally crazy.” – Warren Buffett