Antiquated processes and tools combined with misconceptions regarding forecasting accuracy have hindered the quality of forecasting processes around the world, producing often questionable forecasts. Yet, organizations have good reason to strive for accurate forecasts.
In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.
Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.
I have worked with CFOs who leave the issue of ethical conduct to the HR and legal functions.
But others have taken a different view — they take a significant interest in ensuring that management and employees always behave in an appropriate fashion, consistent both with laws and regulations and the expectations and standards of the organization. They realize that not only can inappropriate behavior lead to compliance failures, fraud, and theft, but the consequences can adversely affect employee morale and the firm?s reputation.
The bottom line is that ethical failures can affect operational and financial performance and share price.
The Ethics Resource Center recently a business ethics report, based on a survey of 4,800 employees. I was surprised by some of the statistics and suspect most CFOs will be too.
Hospitals are supposed to be safe places.
Unfortunately we do hear about mistakes that severely disable patients or even cost them their lives. There are probably many reasons why this happens, but in my experience I witnessed how patient information is not easily retrieved or shared—and therefore poorly analyzed—among a healthcare team. All of us depend on the medical community’s expertise as well as proper management of our personal medical data.
As I found this to be quite disturbing, I took it upon myself to gently ask one of the nurses about the management of their patient data. Here is what I discovered:
Every year we go through the process of setting the next year’s marketing budget.
Even though we know it’s coming, we are seldom prepared. As a result, the budgeting process becomes a defensive scramble to justify spend, and often the way it’s approached is to open this year’s budget spreadsheet and click on “File/Save As” to create next year’s template.
Besides the fact that the document you just copied is probably not an accurate reflection of spend to date, just re-spinning last year’s model isn’t going to help drive your marketing organization to greater levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
Here are a few suggestions for getting the budgeting process off to a better start
The Red Queen gets an undeservedly bad rap in most modern theatrical presentations.
Remember though, she is still a queen, able to move in any direction over the entire surface of the chess board, and despite all this talk of running in place, she is there at the end to celebrate Alice’s own promotion to queen as she reaches the edge of the board. This treadmill economy won’t last forever, and with proper preparation, you may even be able to step off yourself before the rest of your industry catches on.
I see where CFOs need to “Float like a Butterfly”. Not only do Chief Financial Officers need to be appreciated for their ability to (continually) transform, Successful CFOs are appreciated for their grace and form as they accomplish amazing tasks with what looks like relative ease.
Do CFOs need to “Sting like a Bee”? Do they need to inflict pain to accomplish corporate objectives?
Mike Tyson probably said it best: “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
The future of business is the martial arts CEO, the jujitsu strategist. Far too many organizations approach business with an American football mentality, complete with scripted plays, huddles and time outs, but the real world isn’t quite so convenient and accommodating.
It’s no secret that business and finance professionals are spending too much time on mundane tasks, and not enough on delivering insight and other value-added activities.
A recent survey shows that while the process of generating budgets, plans and forecasts has stayed relatively static, business professionals are spending increasing amounts of time wrangling data and manipulating inadequate toolsets to deliver the budgets, forecasts and strategic plans that drive company decision making.
Where does all the time go?
Butterflies have an easy transformation from caterpillar.
CFOs, those that make it to the role and those that are successful in the long term, have a much harder time. In fact, they do not have one transformational moment in a cocoon, but a series of ongoing transformations they must seek and overcome to continue to be successful and on top of their game.