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Dodd-Frank Will Benefit CFOs in the Long Run

CFO Magazine - 21 July 2017
When upheaval struck the financial markets starting in 2007, chief financial officers absorbed much of the impact, whether they worked on Wall Street or Main Street. Dodd-Frank was adopted in 2010 as a response to the upheaval, and in the five years since, the financial world has seen its share of Dodd-Frank critics.
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Investors to SEC: Mandate People Disclosures

CFO Magazine - 20 July 2017
A large investor group has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt rules requiring public companies to disclose information about their human capital management policies, practices, and performance. A rulemaking petition was filed by the Human Capital Management Coalition (HCMC), comprising 25 institutional investors with more than $2.8 trillion in assets under management. The group did not define any specific metrics that it wants to be reported, instead offering nine broad categories of information deemed fundamental to human capital analysis as a starting point for dialogue:
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Got Extra IP Addresses? You Can Sell Them

CFO Magazine - 19 July 2017
Can there be a “secondary market” for a scarce resource, when that resource was available to its original market for free? It’s merely a question of semantics. Whatever you call it, any company that possesses unused internet addresses — that is, internet protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses — can very likely sell them at a high profit margin.
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Customer Obsession Drives Financial Results: Study

CFO Magazine - 17 July 2017
Companies that aren’t putting solutions to customer concerns at the top of their to-do lists risk losing ground to competitors. That might not be a surprising statement, but new research suggests that CFOs are flat-out obsessed with the idea.
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Three Ways to Generate Profit With Your Data

CFO Magazine - 17 July 2017
Build it and they will come. That is the view many organizations maintain about their data lakes and data warehouses. Companies are rapidly investing in systems and processes to retain business data that they know is valuable. But they have no clue what to do with it. Most organizations search for value in their data by throwing teams of data scientists at the various stores of data collected, hoping to find insights that are commercially viable. This approach typically results in endless hours of digging for insights, and if any are found, they rarely see the light of day. In order to monetize your data, you need a different approach, one that starts by turning the process on its head. We recommend three approaches to help you monetize your data:
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Inflation Flat in June As Slowdown Continues

CFO Magazine - 15 July 2017
Inflation continued to soften in June after hitting a five-year-high just five months ago, possibly undermining the belief of some Federal Reserve officials that the slowdown is just temporary. The Labor Department reported Friday that the consumer-price index, or cost of living, was unchanged last month, while the rate of inflation over the past 12 months slowed to 1.6% from 1.9% in the prior month.
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Yellen Skeptical About Trump's Growth Target

CFO Magazine - 14 July 2017
“In the last five years, productivity growth has averaged a half percent. The last decade, something like 1.1 percent,” Yellen told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, adding that labor-force growth is also on the decline. For the administration to hit its goal, she said, productivity growth would need to rise to “something over 2.”
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CFOs Pumping Out Free Cash-Flow

CFO Magazine - 14 July 2017
On the heels of last year’s economic recovery, U.S. companies have improved brilliantly this year as generators of free cash flow, mostly by tying up less cash in working capital, a new study finds. “CFOs as a group have once again demonstrated their ability to improve on the generation of cash,” says Charles Mulford, an accounting professor at Georgia Tech and co-author of the study. “And they’ve done it across the board, in terms of the levers they have to pull and the metrics that we have to measure their performance.”
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Falling Global Tax Rates Make U.S. Less Competitive

CFO Magazine - 13 July 2017
The ayes have it. Our panel of tax and accounting experts, whose opinionated essays are gathered here, voted 3-1 in favor of a major cut in the federal corporate income tax rate. But whether congressional Republicans will have better luck fashioning a new corporate tax structure than they’ve had coming up with an alternative health-care scheme remains to be seen. Many of their opinions are reflected in this package of essays.
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SEC Chair Says Disclosure Burden Excessive

CFO Magazine - 13 July 2017
The new head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission believes its fundamental regulatory approach is sound but is concerned that disclosure burdens may be deterring some companies from going public. In a speech Wednesday, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton noted that the commission, lawmakers and other regulators “have slowly but significantly expanded the scope of required disclosures beyond the core concept of materiality,” while the total number of U.S.-listed public companies has declined about 50% in the past two decades.
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Creating a Cognitive Audit

CFO Magazine - 12 July 2017
It’s likely that over the next several years, substantial portions of public and private company audits will be augmented by cognitive technologies. In fact, much of the audit profession is exploring, experimenting, and moving forward with efforts to use various cognitive technologies in the audit. To be clear, it’s unlikely that the profession will arrive at a fully automated audit with no human intervention on the horizon, and it continues to hire more auditors each year. But there is a consensus within our organization, at least, that cognitive technologies can bring substantial value to the audit process for auditors, clients, and the investing public.
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Microsoft Launches Azure Local Cloud Solution

CFO Magazine - 10 July 2017
Heating up its cloud competition with Amazon and Google, Microsoft has launched a long-awaited platform for organizations that prefer not to use the public cloud. Azure Stack offers the same management tools, straightforward provisioning, and usage-based licensing as the public Azure cloud, but can be run on a company’s own servers. At its Inspire conference, Microsoft announced Monday that partners like Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo will start shipping hardware that has been certified to run Azure Stack in September.
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The CFO as 'Chief Commercial Officer'

CFO Magazine - 10 July 2017
Like many finance chiefs who work for startups, Lukas Wickart, the CFO of AutoGravity, a fintech firm launched in 2015, must improvise his role, rather than fit himself into some preconceived set of functions. lukas wickart Lukas Wickart “There is no handbook or training on [the job] out there. As a startup, we are writing the book as we go along,” he told CFO recently. “We make our mistakes and we learn. For example, with us having this interview here today, I’m talking off the cuff about what I’m experiencing.”
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Modern Finance Feat: Stay Stable, Be Dynamic

CFO Magazine - 10 July 2017
At the recent “CFO of the Future Summit” — an Accenture Strategy-sponsored gathering of 33 CFOs and future CFOs at Harvard University — the increasingly bifurcated aspects of the job came up again and again. Christian Campagna Christian Campagna CFOs are being asked to live simultaneously in the present and the future tending the traditional areas of profit while nurturing future areas of growth. “How do we optimize our current model and at the same time transform?” asked a major retailer’s vice president of commercial and operations finance.
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Square-Off: Are Corporate Cyber Defenses Adequate?

CFO Magazine - 21 June 2017
It’s not just about the technology, stupid. That’s the collective message of the four expert commentators in this CFO Square-Off opinion forum, which addresses the issue of how CFOs and their corporations should be addressing cybersecurity in the face of rapid advances on the hacking front. Instead, finance chiefs should be focusing on their companies’ systemic risks rather than just software.
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Why Cybersecurity Is Financially Undervalued

CFO Magazine - 21 June 2017
Like the way in which the Enron fraud scandal led to the development of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, recent cyber scandals (e.g., Target, Sony, Home Depot), which resulted in huge financial losses, may motivate the development of a new cybersecurity-focused corporate accountability movement and/or consumer protection laws.
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Do You Even Know What Cyber Defense Is?

CFO Magazine - 21 June 2017
The days are long gone when you could simply install some software to block attacks. If something did get through, you just cleaned it and moved on or you implemented something to make sure employees didn’t access the wrong systems. That was information security.
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Companies Should Learn from Cyber Attacks Against Government

CFO Magazine - 21 June 2017
A rash of recent, politically-motivated cyberattacks has thrust cybersecurity and spear phishing into the spotlight. But as we watch this global political drama unfold, we may be distracted from a much more urgent threat within our own organizations. There’s nothing preventing cyber-savvy criminals from attacking companies with tactics that have already shown their effectiveness in the political realm.
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Cybersecurity Demands a Military Mindset

CFO Magazine - 21 June 2017
American corporations have a high degree of cybersecurity risk awareness, and yet many enterprises, especially in non-regulated sectors, fall short in their cybersecurity stance. This is mainly because executives see security as an ROI-less investment mandated by regulation.
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Alternative Payment Models Pose Big Opportunity

CFO Magazine - 25 May 2017
Health-care spending in the United States reached nearly $10,000 for every person in 2015, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and no doubt passed through that mark in 2016.
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Grasping the Concepts and Benefits of Cloud ERP

CFO Magazine - 10 May 2017
A growing business must be cognizant of its financial functionality. Multiple software systems, lengthy accounting processes, suffering sales and customer experiences, and a myriad of complexities within their current systems will do nothing but slow its growth and hurt the bottom line. Forward-thinking organizations have already grasped the concepts and benefits of cloud enterprise resource planning software. For those that have yet to, we offer the following content on automation and cloud-based ERP.
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Lawyer to Head SEC Corporate Finance Unit

CFO Magazine - 10 May 2017
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton has made his first major appointment, naming Silicon Valley lawyer William Hinman to lead the SEC’s division that oversees public company filings. Hinman, a retired partner of law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, will serve as director of the division of corporation finance. As an attorney, he has worked on many high-profile initial public offerings, including those of Facebook, Google, and Alibaba.
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Are There Good Banks and Bad Banks?

CFO Magazine - 10 May 2017
In an October 1925 speech in Birmingham, Mich., Senator James Couzens, the business partner of Henry Ford, sketched out a vision of “good” businessmen, who are ethical, and “bad” businessmen, who are unscrupulous in their dealings with the public, the ultimate consumer. OpinionIf you protect the markets from fraud, Couzens argued, you ultimately protect the consumer. The optimistic assumption in the 1920s was that industries could be exhorted and led to ethical behavior by the example and standard-setting of their own business leaders.
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PCAOB Trying Different Tack in Selecting Audits

CFO Magazine - 10 May 2017
While there’s no evidence that audit firms can predict which audits the Public Accounting Oversight Board will choose to inspect, the PCAOB is taking steps that will limit the chance that a firm could manage to the risk of the inspection process. In remarks before the annual Baruch College Financial Reporting Conference last week, PCAOB board member Jeanette M. Franzel revealed that the board is embarking on a “randomization” project that goes beyond selecting audits for inspection based on risk.
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The Great Wealth Transfer is Here ... Now What?

CFO Magazine - 8 May 2017
This year, the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation crossed a crucial threshold. They turned 70.5 years-old. Why does that matter? U.S. law currently requires anyone 70.5 or older to begin annual withdrawals from their tax-sheltered retirement accounts and pay taxes on those distributions.
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Do We Remember How to Grow?

CFO Magazine - 8 May 2017
In 2016, S&P 500 companies returned $877 billion to shareholders as dividends and net share buybacks. Distributions to shareholders increased by nearly 30% from 2007 levels — but, unfortunately, such distributions also represented 90% of these companies’ net income for the year.

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