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“Finance Factories” (May) contained an excellent analysis of the breeding ground for CFOs. Of particular interest was CFO Europe’s take on the key factors that are involved in creating the CFOs of the future at “academy companies.”
We recently completed a study at our recruitment company, which showed that more than a third of senior finance professionals felt their current role wasn’t challenging enough. This is a growing concern among accountants in all stages of their careers, including CFOs. For companies and their CFOs who want the best finance teams possible, the message is that the need to attract the best talent does not necessarily depend on big bonuses and benefits. Rather, senior finance professionals want greater challenges.
It seems the time is nigh for more companies to adopt the measures outlined in your article or work to provide other career paths for their best people.
Badenoch & Clark, London
Protection from the Pirates
Caroline Joiner of the Global Intellectual Property Center is right to assert in “Counter Attack” (June) that “the internet is the Wild West for counterfeiters and pirates.” Few sectors are immune from internet-based theft — financial institutions find their brands used in phishing scams and counterfeit versions of blockbuster drugs can be ordered without prescription from illegitimate online pharmacies.
But all is not lost. There are cost-effective and efficient strategies, both offensive and defensive, that can help rights holders to manage online counterfeiting and other fraud just as they do the offline counterparts. For example, technology is better at enabling internet monitoring, and notice-and-takedown regimes — once the purview of copyright owners — are being used more broadly, backed by other measures such as smart domain-name management and targeted civil and criminal enforcement. If companies want to protect their brands from dilution, and their bottom lines from diminution, strategies like these must be a central component of their efforts.
Partner and Head of the London IP Group
Covington & Burling, London
Talk to the Techies
We applaud Christoph Ganswindt’s clear focus on business value in Lufthansa/Star Alliance’s common IT platform initiative (“Tech Takes Off,” June). But many more European enterprises need to take the same action.
In many companies, there is a communication gap between the IT function and the board, which is impeding the alignment of IT investments with business objectives and executives’ ability to make decisions and adapt to changing market conditions. Our own research of CIOs in 250 firms across Europe found that nearly three-quarters of decisions about innovation investments are made without full consideration of the impact on IT. Clearly a stronger, strategic dialogue between all C-level executives and IT is needed.
Head of Strategy
CA, Slough, UK
Supply and Demand
“Payables Panic” (July/August) discussed “win-win ways to extend payment terms” but did not mention the area that banks have identified as a key corporate-financing tool of the future: supply chain finance (SCF). According to research we carried out, over 90% of major international banks are now offering corporate customers SCF solutions, nearly twice as many as last year.
In parallel, we have found surging corporate demand for these solutions, with a 65% increase in live SCF programmes over the past 12 months. Significantly, the European companies we surveyed predicted that SCF will grow more strongly over the next two years than lines of credit from their relationship banks. This is a telling reflection of their concerns about the sustainability of bank lending and the urgency with which they are seeking ways of releasing tension that threatens the stability of many supply chains.
Senior Vice President