How can one explain why seemingly successful companies, such as Borders, Blockbuster, Circuit City, Wang Labs and Digital Equipment, go bankrupt or fall from a successful leadership position?
Finance can be far more dangerous than poor quality because scrap, rework and customer returns all make themselves known very quickly. Financial performance metrics that drive dysfunctional operational behavior are, on the other hand, the elephant on the shop floor that simply does not go away.
Accountants, bookkeepers and small business consultants have recognized the benefits of accessing client information remotely, where all parties can work on the same data in real-time, creating the opportunity to maintain more timely and accurate financial data for the business client. The Internet has become the network, facilitating a variety of different working models which allow…
I continue to get mixed signals regarding how advanced CFOs are with their journey to become the “strategic advisor” that is so frequently mentioned in finance and accounting magazines and consulting firm’s centers of excellence (CoE) websites. There are countless articles…
There has always been somewhat of a struggle between the IT department and “management”, much of the difficulty existing with the need to demonstrate clear returns on investments for IT purchases. Unfortunately, expenditures in information technology are often the result of short-term views of long-standing problems, applying “solutions” that do not fully address the requirement or which do not deliver the productivity or performance gains expected, particularly in a dynamic and rapidly changing business environment. The assumption is that a wise investment in information technology will result with improved profitability and performance. [But} demonstrating this on paper is not always easily accomplished.
How long should ERP implementations take? How much do they cost? How long does it take to recoup these costs? How long does it take to realize the benefits of the new system? These are the magic questions asked by thousands of companies around the globe.
With so much money at stake — after all, some ERP implementations can cost millions of dollars — the timing of such a technology project is critical.
The answer, as you might expect, is that it depends on many different factors.
Accountants are a strange breed. They love math and numbers. Many love the feeling of control. They start out young. Later in their career most experience a “coming of age” and shift from bean counters to bean growers.
We were all once young. We all experienced growing pains. This article is about the coming of age of accountants. Their maturing is an especially painful process.
Magic is a very technical profession - you’ve got to learn all that sleight of hand stuff and it’s got to be very accurate. It attracts geeks who enjoy that sort of thing who practice by themselves for hours on end, often in their bedroom from a young age. Polishing the act to get it just right.
Yet to be a big success you’ve got to learn strong people skills. How to engage an audience, how to draw them into your story, how to entertain them, not just show off how clever you are at the magic.
What are the most important business decisions? Which decisions are material or risky? Is Finance really involved in decision-making today or just providing information as input to the decision?
Agreeing the ‘business value opportunities’ is the first lever for a good reason – it’s the most important lever to get right.
Yet this is the lever that most CFOs skip over, or pay lip-service to.
Most Finance Directors say that having the right people with the right skills is their number one priority for delivering business value from Finance.
Yet, in my experience not many FDs identify the specific capabilities needed by their finance business partners, as opposed to general skills like ‘presenting with impact’ or ‘influencing skills’.
As a result a lot of learning and development money gets spent on general ‘soft skills’ training - presentation skills, negotiation skills etc. Does this really drive more business value?