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Google Buys HTC's Pixel Team for $1.1 Billion

CFO Magazine - 22 September 2017
Google has agreed to pay HTC $1.1 billion to bring employees of the Taiwanese firm who work on Pixel smartphones under its roof as it seeks to build up its hardware business. The deal covers about 2,000 engineers and technical staff employed in HTC’s mobile division. Google will also acquire a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.
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How Is Regulatory Reform Likely to Proceed?

CFO Magazine - 21 September 2017
The great debate over the shape of post-crisis financial regulation is in full swing, with the House of Representatives, federal financial regulators, and the Trump administration all having staked out their positions on reforming the financial services industry.
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Hurricane Harvey Buffets Builder Confidence

CFO Magazine - 19 September 2017
The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida appear to have shaken the confidence of home builders. The National Association of Home Builders on Monday reported that its housing market index (HMI) fell 3 points to 64 in September amid concerns that the hurricanes will make it difficult for builders to find workers and materials. The August reading was revised downward by a point.
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Rope Tightens Around Global Tax Avoidance

CFO Magazine - 18 September 2017
The OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project, with an overall goal of reducing global loss of tax revenues due to double non-taxation, has created the need for careful monitoring of developments in international tax law. Christopher Howe Christopher Howe Universal revenue needs are fueling an unprecedented period of international cooperation on taxation, marked by the implementation of new information-exchange protocols between countries and stringent national and international anti-tax-avoidance rules. Like it or not, the playing field is being redesigned to switch focus from whether income will be taxed, to where it will be taxed.
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Oracle Shares Slip on Cloud Revenue Outlook

CFO Magazine - 15 September 2017
Oracle shares fell more than 7% on Friday as the company’s quarterly guidance came in below analysts’ estimates amid a slowdown in the growth of its cloud business. For the first quarter, Oracle reported total revenue increased 7% to $9.19 billion, driven by a 51% gain in cloud revenue to $1.5 billion. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) recorded revenue growth of 62% while platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure revenue rose 28%.
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Equifax Hack Exposes App Patch Vulnerability

CFO Magazine - 14 September 2017
The massive data breach at Equifax appears to highlight a security vulnerability for many large companies — they do not maintain a proper inventory of their applications. Equifax confirmed on Wednesday that the hackers exploited a flaw in Apache Struts, a popular open source framework for creating Java apps. The breach, which may have exposed the personal data of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers, occurred in mid-May.
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CFOs Should Partner with Chief Procurement Officers

CFO Magazine - 14 September 2017
For most companies, supplier spending is their single largest cost — about 50% of revenue for manufacturing and 30% for services. And yet, this major contributor to profit and loss is often buried as many companies have poor visibility into their procurement costs.
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Closing the Confidence Gap in Sustainability Data

CFO Magazine - 13 September 2017
Investors, financial analysts, and rating agencies around the world are increasingly seeking relevant and trustworthy reports on sustainability performance to help guide their assessments of a company’s value-creation capacity and capability. Therefore, companies that utilize effective internal controls around nonfinancial data will earn greater confidence from key stakeholders and likely earn a value premium relative to their peers.
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Value Drivers

CFO Magazine - 11 September 2017
Choosing the top finance chiefs for the third annual installment of CFOs to Watch was tricky. We wanted to honor a CFO’s past performance but, like stock-pickers, also wanted to select candidates with an eye toward what they might do in the next 12 months. Consequently, the 20 finance chiefs named on the list really satisfy two requirements: they’ve made sizable contributions to their companies’ past successes, and, at the same time, the current disruptive forces buffeting their organizations may vault these CFOs into even greater prominence.
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Dealing with a Deficit (of IT Talent)

CFO Magazine - 11 September 2017
Middle-market companies are struggling to attract and retain technology employees — and looking to managed IT services providers and the cloud for help in meeting the talent shortfall. A recent CFO Research survey of 123 U.S.–based middle-market senior finance executives, conducted in collaboration with RSM, finds that about half (49%) of the finance chiefs say the inability to attract and retain qualified technology talent adversely impacts them. Survey respondents represent firms with annual revenues between $25 million and $200 million, and a plurality of respondents (35%) carry the title of CFO.
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Getting Over Hurdle Rates

CFO Magazine - 11 September 2017
As upbeat as CFOs may feel about the growth prospects for their own companies and the broader economy, they have yet to loosen the criteria they use for making investment decisions. In the second-quarter Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey, which collected responses from 750 senior finance executives, respondents revealed that they have maintained unusually high — even unrealistic — hurdle rates, or the minimum return they expect from any project they opt to invest in.
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Career Census

CFO Magazine - 11 September 2017
When it comes to schooling and experience, there’s no such thing as a “typical” CFO, except that they tend to be well-educated and, still today, a majority are men. How much do you know about the backgrounds and careers of the top finance executives at the 250 largest publicly held U.S. companies? Take our quiz to find out.
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CFOs Should Help Lead Workforce Transformation

CFO Magazine - 8 September 2017
A host of trends are pressuring many organizations to rethink their workforce models — and not just function by function or business by business, but enterprise-wide. Such trends include competition for digital and analytical skills, millennials’ expectations for progression and development, workforce trends such as the gig economy, and the adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) and other technologies.
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Why Stand Alone Against Cyber Risk?

CFO Magazine - 24 August 2017
While most companies now have insurance policies that cover specific cyber risks, a growing number are getting their cyber liability coverage as part of broader policies that cover other property-casualty exposures, according to survey results released on Thursday by the Risk and Insurance Management Society.
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For CFOs, Opportunities to Move Up Are Limited

CFO Magazine - 24 August 2017
For finance chiefs with a yen for moving up to the CEO chair, the likelihood of that happening pulled back this year — but their future prospects might be brighter than that current trend seems to suggest. From 2013 through 2016, the proportion of big U.S. companies whose chief executives had been CFOs in their most recent previous position had inched steadily upward. By last summer, that was the case for 7.8% of CEOs at the 673 companies that are in the 2017 editions of either the Fortune 500 or S&P 500, according to research by executive recruiting firm Crist Kolder.
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AP Benchmarks Reveal Opportunities for Fraud

CFO Magazine - 24 August 2017
What does a high-performing accounts payable organization look like? According to APEX Analytix, provider of supplier portal software, it has high levels of electronic invoice submission, touchless invoice processing, and electronic payments. It also has five or fewer standard payment terms, and reviews “at risk” suppliers at least monthly. It is also tightly integrated with the internal audit and corporate security teams.
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Legal Case Shows Social Networks Can't Remain Neutral On User Privacy

CFO Magazine - 23 August 2017
What is more important — that LinkedIn should be able to control the commercial use of its vast database of users’ “public profile” data (to protect the privacy of users, among other motivations) or that anyone should be able to access and exploit data that individuals choose to put in the public domain (in the interest of promoting an open and competitive market)?
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Virtual & Augmented Reality Should Pique CFOs' Interest

CFO Magazine - 23 August 2017
Emerging technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have become important tools for companies of all sizes, and many CFOs are exploring the possibilities from technology, growth, and marketing standpoints. The transformative potential of these technologies will touch every industry, from entertainment and health care to retail and manufacturing. In fact, VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR) are projected to become a $150 billion market by 2020, according to a recent report from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. The report predicts that the technologies will have 250 million to 300 million users by the early 2020s and have long-term potential to capture two-thirds of our leisure time and 50% of our leisure dollars.
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Bank Profits Surge 10.7% to Record $48.3B

CFO Magazine - 23 August 2017
U.S. banks’ profits surged to a record high in the second quarter, fueled by an increase in net interest margins as short-term interest rates rise. In its latest Quarterly Banking Profile, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said federally-insured commercial banks and savings institutions reported aggregate net income of $48.3 billion, up $4.7 billion (10.7%) from a year earlier.
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Voluntary Audit Committee Disclosures Surge

CFO Magazine - 18 August 2017
Despite a lack of new audit committee disclosure requirements since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, companies have been voluntarily disclosing more and more about their audit committees and their relationships with auditors, an Ernst & Young study issued earlier this month finds. For instance, the percentage of companies that explicitly state that the audit committee is responsible for the appointment, compensation, and oversight of the external auditor has nearly doubled since 2012, increasing to 87% in 2017. That’s up from 45% in 2012 and 81% in 2016.
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The Many Myths of Budgeting Season

CFO Magazine - 17 August 2017
August, it has been said, is the Sunday of summer. Relaxation gives way to a muted but growing anxiety about the demands of September as the workforce slowly marches back into business-as-usual mode. For no one is that more true than the CFO, as August marks the entrance to primetime budgeting season.
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Employee Pay Raises to Hold Steady Next Year

CFO Magazine - 17 August 2017
U.S. companies expect to hold the line on pay raises for employees in 2018, according to a survey of 819 employers by Willis Towers Watson. The survey found that virtually all respondents (99%) are planning to hike compensation next year. Salaries for exempt (i.e., professional) non-management workers are forecast to be bumped up an average of 3%, the same increase they’ve received in each of the past three years.
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Fraudsters Fare Worse When Whistles Blow

CFO Magazine - 16 August 2017
Finance executives that “cook the books” not only have to worry about being exposed by a whistleblower, they and their companies also are more likely to be hit with financial penalties — and likely to pay far higher ones — when a whistleblower is involved in a government enforcement process.
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Why Banks Are Paying So Little Interest

CFO Magazine - 16 August 2017
From December 2015 through June 2017, the Federal Reserve raised the short-term benchmark interest rate four times, each time in an increment of 25 basis points. But according to national average deposit rates published by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the interest rates banks are paying depositors have barely budged.
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U.S. Households Pile On the Debt

CFO Magazine - 15 August 2017
Are consumers’ balance sheets getting too stretched? Aggregate U.S. household debt in the second quarter reached a new high, hitting $12.84 trillion. That total is $164 billion above the previous peak, which was set in the third quarter of 2008.
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Ex-SEC Attorney Raps WSJ Report on Enforcement Activity

CFO Magazine - 15 August 2017
If the first half of the year was any indication, the Securities and Exchange Commission is on track to have another record year for enforcement activity in 2017. Looking at data compiled in our SEC Sanctions Database, which tracks a subset of enforcement actions that resulted in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million, the agency shows no sign of easing its efforts to sanction bad actors.

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