EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

A gasoline rag tune up

From our daily member newsletter on February 10, 2016

Many years ago I had to buy my son a car to get to school. So, we went down to the local used car lot and I spotted a Ford Escort. It was kind of cute. If memory serves, it was black and it was a stick shift. Having grown up poor, I wasn’t new to buying a used car. I opened up the hood and the engine was spotless. I was kind of surprised given the number of miles on the car and when I asked about it, the dealer told me he had steam cleaned the engine. Among the many things he told me he fixed was that he had replaced the windshield. Hard to sell a car [ Read more… ]

A shortage of CFOs-finally!

From our daily member newsletter on February 9, 2016

For those of you who are avid readers of The Wall Street Journal, something I have been predicting for some time has finally come to pass: There is a shortage of CFOs. (Keep in mind, however, that I also predicted 10 of the last 3 recessions.) The article can be found at the bottom of page B1 in the Tuesday, February 9, 2016 edition and is titled: CFO Searches Drag On As Demand Takes Off. To quote Peter Crist, chairman of recruiter Crist/Kolder Associates. “Every CFO I am talking to is in a conversation with another recruiter or a private-equity firm.” While the focus of the WSJ is on primarily public and very large firms, I would suggest to you [ Read more… ]

Successive approximations

From our daily member newsletter on February 8, 2016

In the accounting mindset, there is only one answer. The books either balance or they don’t balance. I guess this is what I have always found so satisfying about our craft. Ah, the symmetry of it all! Artists as well as other creative types on the other hand seem to have a problem with this concept. For them, there are lots of possible answers to each and every question, some of which contradict the others. How untidy, don’t you agree? As we move away from our core skill of certainty into the world of marketing our backgrounds, it is hard to make the conceptual break. Not only is there not one right resume, there is no right 90-second announcement and [ Read more… ]

Coming in second

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2016

It can be very frustrating to be told that you were number two. It gives you the feeling that if you had only done something different, presented something in a different way, (worn matching socks) the job might have been yours. If it happens to you more than once, it kind of makes you feel like you are “always the bridesmaid, and never the bride.” But, do you really know if you truly were number two? Perhaps you were number three or four. You just really don’t know, and frankly, IT DOESN’T MATTER. As I have often been heard to say “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Being the first choice is the only thing that wins the [ Read more… ]

Do the “experts” know anything?

From our daily member newsletter on February 4, 2016

I have observed over my life that most of the people identified as experts are wrong a very high percentage of the time. In much the same way that a clock that has stopped is right twice a day, some acknowledged experts are identified by the media as genius only because they inadvertently made a correct guess at just the right time. Sometimes they have even been right despite themselves, but that never gets discussed. Consider all the data that is constantly being collected on the supply of oil and the demand for oil. How is it possible that no one saw the huge price decline coming? How many of you are old enough to remember the saying “it came [ Read more… ]

Little white lies

From our daily member newsletter on February 3, 2016

Sad to say, a lie is a lie is a lie. Some would also argue that the withholding of important information is also a lie. I believe this to be the truth and you probably do too. One would have to wonder then why those of us of the accounting profession who pride ourselves on “no surprises” and never telling a lie, feel the need not to show college graduation dates, and if we are really old, some of our first jobs. I would have to ask those who do these things if they would ever hire someone they thought was hiding something about their background. I tend to think not. If you are telling a little white lie or [ Read more… ]

Taking job specifications seriously

From our daily member newsletter on February 2, 2016

I just don’t think that I will ever see in my lifetime a job specification that calls for a minimum of 30 years of work experience. If you ever see one, I do hope you will send it my way so I can frame it. For those of us who are “well experienced,” it can be a difficult decision applying for a job that only calls for 8-10 years of experience. As in the age old question of “How many men does it take to turn in a light bulb?,” at what point can someone early in their career be considered for a job as a Chief Financial Officer or Controller. And if this is all the company feels is [ Read more… ]

Why you left your last job

From our daily member newsletter on February 1, 2016

When they stopped paying me, that was bad enough. But, when they had the security guard escort me from the building and dumped my few personal belongings on the sidewalk, I decided enough was enough. I just wasn’t going back to work at THAT place anymore. If you have a sense of humor and think you might be able to carry it off, the use of humor to explain why you were “booted out,” terminated, down sized, or just plain fired, please feel free to use my opening paragraph. That said, I doubt that it will work for most people. I get the sense from most of the folks I have heard explain why they left their former employer that [ Read more… ]

I will work for food

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2016

Given that for senior level jobs, there are apparently more folks looking for work these days than there are jobs, I’m sure some of you have been seriously considered for jobs that paid less than you were previously earning. As an experienced sailor would tell you; any port in a storm. Unfortunately, there is always a bit of disbelief coming from across the table that ANYONE would work for less than they earned before and not bolt for the door once the economy picks up. My own experience has been that this is not what financial folks do. However, telling someone you will work for food, is probably taking their employment offer a little too far. First, let’s do the [ Read more… ]

Selling what’s in the wagon

From our daily member newsletter on January 28, 2016

As the length of time grows since your last “assignment,” the battle cry that is heard more frequently is the need to reinvent yourself. I’m not exactly sure how one can REALLY do that. As my Grandmother used to say: “I am who I am.” The question I would pose to you is, are you sure you have looked at everything in the wagon to be sure you are selling everything that’s there? Clearly, the economic principle of highest and best use applies to your career just as it does to those things that we call consumer products. If you are a Manufacturing CFO, a job in a manufacturing environment theoretically is going to produce the best results for you [ Read more… ]

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