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News for the way you work

Finance Professionals See Growth, Hiring Ahead in 2014

December 24th, 2013

Optimism is running high among CFOs and other top finance executives who say 2014 is going to be a good year for the country, their own company, and hiring. The annual Business Outlook Survey by the Association for Financial Professionals found 52% of finance executives predicting the year may get off to a bumpy start, but it will pick up steam in the second half. This is the largest percentage of optimists since before the recession in 2008. The largest share  expect the year will see a 2.1% growth in GDP. But 11 percent are are even more positive, and predict a 3% rise in overall national growth. The survey also revealed that finance executives now expect their companies to begin hiring, both in U.S. and abroad, with 43% anticipating expanding U.S. payrolls. AFPOnline.org

Survey Shows Big Savings By Switching to Electronic Invoice Processing

December 3rd, 2013

Do you know how much your company spends processing invoices? Twenty percent spend between $6 and $15 per bill, while a surprising 7.3% spend more than $16, up to $25 for each invoice.

A report on the cost of A/P processing says companies that process paper invoices could save significantly by switching to an electronic processing system. How much? Well, a survey by Iron Mountain says 31.1% of firms processing electronic invoices spend less than $2 per. Compare that to the 12.2% of their paper using counterparts who spend that little.

By going electronic, a mere .5% of companies spend from $16 to $25 per invoice.

CFODailyNews.com says companies don’t even have to fully automate to see savings. “In fact,” writes Jennifer Azara, “Many companies find they have better success with a phase-in approach rather than making all their suppliers jump in with both feet.”

Hedge Funds Slowly Moving To Automate Client Services

December 1st, 2013

In a world where buy and sell orders can be executed in milliseconds and billions of dollars can be moved around the globe in less time than it takes to read this article, one type of transaction remains true to the world of pen and ink. Prospective investors in hedge funds almost universally must complete printed application forms that often can be 50 or more pages.

And that’s only part of it. Hard copies of bank statements, investment reports, tax returns, passports, and more had to be submitted with the application. All this, then, is reviewed by fund administrators and manually entered into the fund’s electronic system before a dime can be transferred. Read the rest of this entry »

Finance Leaders Worry They Don’t Have the Right Talent

November 1st, 2013

Deloitte global finance talent survey coverFinance leaders of some of the world’s largest companies are growing ever more concerned about their ability to recruit, retain and develop talent in their finance organizations. While nearly three-quarters of them have a talent strategy, 4-in-10 admit they are not optimistic about meeting talent demands in the future. Deloitte’s 2013 Global Finance Talent Survey found that “that the talent strategies in place today are insufficient, and finance leaders are finding them difficult to execute.” What’s more finance departments are finding themselves in a time of significant change, asked to meet new business needs and to work more closely — collaborate and partner — than they ever have before. However, Deloitte reports that finance departments were not designed for partnering and most have not placed much emphasis on those skills in hiring. Now, finance has new talent needs. Deloitte’s report examines the question: “Business leaders are inviting the finance team to step into a more strategic role,
but is finance ready to deliver?” Deloitte

Private Equity Funds Could Be On the Hook For Pension Shortfalls

September 4th, 2013

1st circuit fed logoPrivate equity investment funds can be held liable for the unfunded pension liabilities of their portfolio companies under a decision by a federal appeals court in Boston.

Ruling that equity funds are engaged in a “trade or business” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the court overturned a district court decision to the contrary. Read the rest of this entry »

Confidence Rises Among Finance and Accounting Professionals

August 13th, 2013

accounting and finance confidence indexConfidence among U.S. finance and accounting workers spiked nearly 10 points in the 2nd quarter to 63.1, the highest since 2007, according to the Finance and Accounting Employee Confidence Index.

Overall confidence increased 9.7 points to a six-year index high of 63.1. It’s the highest confidence level among all the industries tracked by Randstad in the quarter, which include engineering, IT and healthcare. The Index is compiled by The Mergis Group, a Randstad subsidiary. Read the rest of this entry »

Pension Funds Are Biggest Players in Alternative Assets Globally

August 6th, 2013

100 To alternative asste managersThe 100 largest alternative investment managers controlled more than $3.1 trillion at the end of 2012, with real estate managers handling the largest share.

The Global Alternatives Survey, compiled by Towers Watson, found real estate funds had 34% of the total global investment, followed by direct private equity fund managers with 23% ($717 billion). Hedge funds and funds of hedge funds had $612 billion and $176 billion respectively.

Pension funds, by far, comprise the largest share of the total, accounting for 36% of the total assets managed by the 100 largest managers. The next largest share, at 19%, comes from wealth managers; insurance companies, at 9%, rank third. Fifteen years ago, pension fund assets amounted to just 5%. Read the rest of this entry »

Report Benchmarks Finance Division Ops In North America

April 26th, 2013

finance benchmarking report 2013With 80% of companies in the U.S. using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and accounting software so ubiquitous and sophisticated even novices can keep books, you would think an accountant’s job would have gotten easier.

Not so. Remarkably, two-thirds of U.S. businesses still reconcile accounts manually, contributing to an average 48 hour workweek for management-level accounting and finance workers. Even non-management staff are putting in an average of 42 hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Women’s Accounting Professionals Group Rebrands to be More Inclusive

January 31st, 2013

AFWA new logoWith women now filling six out of ten auditing and accounting jobs in the United States, the American Society of Women Accountants decided it was time to update the organization’s brand and reach out to a new generation of women financial professionals. The organization voted to change its name to Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and add the tagline, “Connect. Advance. Lead.” The new name, said the organization, “refreshes our image and resonates better not only with our current members, but also with prospective members and particularly those in younger generations.” Founded in 1938 as a professional group for women accountants, a small, but even then growing number, today the AFWA includes women in a variety of professional financial services jobs. “By contemporizing and broadening the appeal of the organization through a name change, the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance is confident it will attract a new generation of women accounting and finance professionals who are in a position to define a new way of thinking in the companies for which they work,” said Lee K. Lowery, CAE, ASWA’s executive director. Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance

A New Paradigm For Alternative Asset Strategies In An Era of Low Returns

December 14th, 2012

As alternative investment strategies become significant and substantial parts of institutional investors’ portfolios, the risk management practices that they have traditionally employed are no longer adequate, writes Tyler Kim, CIO of MaplesFS. He says that with “fixed income yields at historic lows and equity markets exhibiting lackluster performance” greater risk is required to achieve returns similar to those in the past. While these alternative investment strategies offer good returns, institutional investors in particular are exposed to risks unlike those they’ve experienced before. In his article, he outlines how to develop “an adaptive approach to risk management that enhances portfolio performance, and more importantly helps institutional investors to embrace alternative investments with greater confidence.” FINalternatives