February 2018: What We’re Reading

By The Center Team on February 28, 2018

Recent news and insights to keep you up to date and on track—tips for presenting data, the resurgence of ZBB, how to close the finance talent gap, and more.

We’re here to help you make your business spending more strategic, intelligent, and connected. Stay up to date and on track with recent insights from business strategy experts and fintech thought leaders.


Are You Really a Strategist?
John Gimpert, CFO Leadership Council | @CFOLeader

CFOs can learn to play a more central role in the strategic planning process while accelerating personal career growth by reflecting on these important questions.

“In observing successful CFOs, I have noticed they don’t just jump into the inherent intensity of the strategic planning vortex. Successful CFOs step back, reflect and shape a personal strategy to guide their involvement in the strategy process.”


What Time Inc. Was Best at in the Glory Days: Overspending Horrendously
Karl Taro Greenfeld for the Los Angeles Times | @karltaro

An absorbing cautionary tale about the failures of the financial strategy at former publishing powerhouse Time Inc. The lack of strategic business planning, and subsequent absence of clear budget and spending guidelines, paved the way to the company’s collapse.

“I never knew our budget. I just hired staffers and spent freely on freelancers, assuming that, at some point, if I was overspending, someone would come to my office and alert me. Nobody ever came.”


Presenting Financial Information Visually in PowerPoint
Dave Paradi, Think Outside for Slide | @daveparadi

Less is more. Make your financial presentations more successful by leading with the message, and by paring down detail to help your audience connect with the data.

“Too many analysts mistakenly think that their audiences want every number they have and all the details behind the analysis. This is simply not true. Most people don’t have a great love of numbers, but they do need to know what the numbers mean to their department, area, or life.”


Cultural Change: A Map for CEOs
Oliver Pickup for Raconteur | @OliverPickup

The role of the modern CEO is complex; they are expected to embody the culture of their organization, be approachable, be tech-savvy, and lead with sound strategy. Raconteur interviewed dozens of successful CEOs to learn their advice on how to ensure a healthy, unified company culture.

“The key to building an excellent company culture is identifying and sharing a purpose. Top talent today wants good compensation and interesting work, but first and foremost they want to feel that they are contributing to a greater purpose than pure commercial gain.”


Three Ways to Bridge the Financial Talent Gap
Todd McElhatton for CFO | @CFO

The role of the finance department is shifting to a more strategic one, and younger workers increasingly seek more fulfillment in their careers—yet only one-third of CEOs give their CFOs a passing grade for talent management. McElhatton shares some specific strategies for keeping the right employees engaged and empowered.

“The finance function is changing. It is no longer just about reporting and balancing books, but about shaping a company’s strategy and driving business outcomes.”


Has Zero-Based Budgeting Been Given a Second Life?
Daniele Tedesco for FP&A Trends | @dtedesco

New challenges and competitive pressures are leading companies to revisit a trend from the 1970s: zero-based budgeting. When executed efficiently, transparently, and effectively, this rigorous method can be a powerful tool for more strategic financial planning in a dynamic environment.

“The advantages are obvious: The various budget items are calculated based on the immediate needs of the different departments for the following year and not simply based blindly on the previous year’s budget or expense level. This enables inefficient and rigid structures to be dismantled.”