more-arw search

Recommended Reading: The Best Stories on Proformative from May

Recommended Reading: The Best Stories on Proformative from May

Why CFOs Should Care About Shadow IT
No one can reproach employees for using their mobile devices to tap into apps that make them more personally productive. It’s just so convenient and easy these days for salespeople to download an inexpensive business app that helps them effectively interact with customers or traveling executives to compile their reimbursable business expenses in one online place.

No one other than the CFO that is. “CFOs are involved in the import of these decisions, whether they know it or not,” says Christian Kane, a Forrester Research analyst who specializes in operations and infrastructures. “With Shadow IT, there is no central oversight, no cost savings potential, plus higher security and compliance risks.”

On the Job Hunt at 55: Finding a Finance Position in Today's Market
For 30 years, Martin Kwitter worked for Big M Inc., a family-owned company that ran 165 clothing stores along the East Coast. This past September, faced with a business situation that was becoming untenable, the company brought in a turnaround specialist. Kwitter, the company’s director of finance and real estate, was soon laid off, along with the rest of the senior executive team. A few months later, Big M filed for bankruptcy.

Kwitter and the rest of the senior team had known for at least five years that the company was in trouble, but they had stayed out of loyalty to the owners. “We felt an obligation to them,” he says. “And obviously they felt very little obligation to us at the end of the day.”

Since then, Kwitter has been looking for work. “It’s tough out there,” he says. “It’s a full-time job getting a job.”

Take It from This CFO: How to Make Investor Relations More Accountable
As a CFO, my greatest challenge with investor firms is the lack of accountability when it comes to investor outreach. Often, IR firms will busy themselves with press releases, presentations, quarterly conference calls, and websites – all of which can distract them from focusing on why they are hired: to outreach to investors and educate them on a company.

The following steps will enable you to maintain better control of the IR process, save costs, and free up your IR firm to focus more on investor outreach. There is work involved to make this happen: An IR firm must be given the tools to perform the best investor education: executive time, consistent and meaningful messaging, and financial results.

When Should You Walk Away from a Business Initiative?
Knowing when to say when during Happy Hour is one thing, it's quite another when it comes to business. Knowing when to pull the plug on an initiative – be it a new product or service, a technology system, a new business partnership, or a major purchase – is an inexact science. But there are indicators for helping you determine when to delicately, yet decisively, walk away.

Can Social Media Help You Recruit Your Next Finance Employee?
Rather than waiting for the perfect candidate to submit a hard copy of his or her résumé in person or via mail, many businesses are being proactive and actively searching for the most qualified prospects by turning to social sites. Indeed, Proformative members recently discussed the merits of adding social media to a company's hiring strategy.

8 Payroll Mistakes That Get Companies into Hot Water
Ever since the Internal Revenue Service launched its Employment in 2010, closing the employment tax gap has been a hot topic. But, it’s not just the IRS that will be banging down your door. Other agencies will be bringing the IRS in through the back.

They include the Department of Labor and state agencies, experts say, prodded by the Affordable Care Act (also know as “Obamacare”) to increase their audit activity. They won’t be acting alone. “The data they obtain related to an audit of the health plan, including information related to payroll issues, will likely be shared with the other agencies,” warns Phil Noftsinger, president of payroll-services company CBIZ Payroll.

Is Your Love for Excel Misplaced?
It's no secret that spreadsheet errors are very easy to make. Inaccuracies in spreadsheets - both minor and innocuous - occur fairly frequently. One measly error can throw off an entire document and those related to it. In finance departments, this can lead to misinformed reporting and decision-making. CFOs and accounting professionals know all too well it's crucial to eliminate the risks of errors in spreadsheets, but they may not realize just how rampant the problem actually is. Moreover, many of them have never been able to let go of Excel and their familiarity with the popular program.

Why Small-Biz Lending Is Still at a Crossroads
Wary risk managers, old-school underwriting standards, and banks still licking their wounds from the financial crisis are holding back significant movement in traditional small-business loans. 

“Traditional banks are in a bind when it comes to small business lending — they want to do more of it, but their legacy underwriting systems weren’t designed to accommodate it,” says Daniel DeMeo, CEO of Capital Access Network Inc., which specializes in small-business financing. 

One reason for the lack of change, DeMeo believes, is the weight banks continue to give business owners’ credit scores when evaluating eligibility for capital. “In general, they have an over-reliance on personal credit scores, which are not accurate predictors of business performance and a business’ ability to repay,” he says. 

It’s just one of many reasons small-business lending sits at a crossroads, even though various reports will have us believe there has been more activity between financial institutions and smaller companies. The reality is more complex.

How Can You Achieve Your Goal of Becoming CFO?
After moving through the ranks of a company and gathering valuable experience, many finance professionals wonder how they can successfully make the leap and become a CFO. Proformative members ask this question on a regular basis on the Ask & Share section of the site.

While every finance executive has a different background, level of experience and skill set, there are common qualifications many believe can make an individual successful in a CFO role. 

The B2B Credit Checklist: What to Know Before Extending Credit
Businesses rely on clients to pay their bills, but as many CFOs know all too well, clients will frequently take their sweet time paying invoices as part of their cash-management strategy, because their working capital is taking a hit from their own late-paying clients, or because they are in dire financial straits. Whatever the reason, companies need to do what they can to limit their exposure to such credit risk.

Any finance department that has dealt with a pile of overdue invoices knows the frustration and potential damage late payers can bring. To avoid such problems in the future, business executives should revisit their process for extending credit and make sure employees are aware of the company's policies. Otherwise, you will continue to experience delinquent payments and the risk of invoices that never get paid.