Capitol

Joseph R. Biden Jr. will become the 46th president of the United States at a time when the nation is grappling with several sober realities at once: a deadly pandemic that is claiming the lives of thousands of Americans daily, a bumpy vaccine rollout, a shaky economy with more than 10 million unemployed, and demands for police reform and racial justice.

But in the wake of one of the most tumultuous presidential elections in US history—marked by outgoing President Donald Trump claiming the election was stolen, deadly violence at the US Capitol, and Trump’s impeachment—perhaps Biden’s biggest challenge lies in attempting to heal a nation that is bitterly divided.

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The trade-off between cost reduction and increased effectiveness of the finance function is a false choice. Leading finance departments are guardians of enterprise value creation, demonstrating stewardship of their own spend by lowering absolute costs and shifting work towards more value-added activities.

We have analyzed the finance functions of hundreds of companies to understand how cost and effectiveness have evolved over the past ten years. After controlling for differences in sector, scale, and geographic footprint, several findings emerged:

  • Finance organizations have, on average, decreased their cost by 29 percent.
  • The most efficient cohort of finance departments (“finance leaders”) achieved similar cost improvement to the level shown by average performers—an impressive feat given that the finance leaders started from a lower cost base.
  • Finance leaders spent 19 percent more time on value-added (versus transaction-processing) activities than a typical finance department did.

What can companies do differently to join the finance leaders? The research points toward four imperatives. The first is to cast a wider net for new efficiency opportunities, reaching beyond the transactional activities that have long been the primary focus of attention. Second, boost finance’s role in managing data, whether consolidating, simplifying, or controlling the flood of information flowing across the organization. Third, strengthen decision-making through widespread adoption of data-visualization, advanced-analytics, and debiasing techniques. Finally, reimagine the finance operating model so that it fosters new skills and capabilities.

These steps are already enabling companies to join the finance-function elite—while cutting audit costs by double-digit percentages, improving data quality (and reducing wasteful data-cleaning efforts), upskilling finance teams, and enabling the function to guide better decisions throughout the enterprise.

 

Friday, 15 January 2021 13:38

The New Language of Luxury

black tom

Where once the language of luxury was a restriction, a defined way of speaking and a strict etiquette, now the language of luxury is more clearly defined by our desire to connect and the values we share. This is not only better, more empathetic marketing but it also has great creative potential. The New Language of Luxury has a broad palette to choose from with boundaries that are ready and willing to be pushed.

Far from being one-dimensional or acting as an excuse to play it safe, there is colour, creativity and space to be bold. Whilst certain terms once became luxury’s dogma – world-class, elite, ultra-luxurious to name a few – the New Language of Luxury is about crafting words in a way that paints a bright picture of all these attributes without needing to explicitly say them. It is about exercising moments of simplicity, creating intimacy, depth and detail and looking at the world with humility.

It’s also acknowledging that how you do this is completely open to interpretation - there is no one size fits all model when it comes to luxury writing, but instead nuance and space that can be filled by character and creativity. It could be writing entirely in rhymed verse or in 5-word sentences.

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The trade-off between cost reduction and increased effectiveness of the finance function is a false choice. Leading finance departments are guardians of enterprise value creation, demonstrating stewardship of their own spend by lowering absolute costs and shifting work towards more value-added activities.

We have analyzed the finance functions of hundreds of companies to understand how cost and effectiveness have evolved over the past ten years. After controlling for differences in sector, scale, and geographic footprint, several findings emerged:

  • Finance organizations have, on average, decreased their cost by 29 percent.
  • The most efficient cohort of finance departments (“finance leaders”) achieved similar cost improvement to the level shown by average performers—an impressive feat given that the finance leaders started from a lower cost base.
  • Finance leaders spent 19 percent more time on value-added (versus transaction-processing) activities than a typical finance department did.

What can companies do differently to join the finance leaders? The research points toward four imperatives. The first is to cast a wider net for new efficiency opportunities, reaching beyond the transactional activities that have long been the primary focus of attention. Second, boost finance’s role in managing data, whether consolidating, simplifying, or controlling the flood of information flowing across the organization. Third, strengthen decision-making through widespread adoption of data-visualization, advanced-analytics, and debiasing techniques. Finally, reimagine the finance operating model so that it fosters new skills and capabilities.

These steps are already enabling companies to join the finance-function elite—while cutting audit costs by double-digit percentages, improving data quality (and reducing wasteful data-cleaning efforts), upskilling finance teams, and enabling the function to guide better decisions throughout the enterprise.

 

Medical-heart

The healthcare industry in the United States has experienced steady growth over the past decade while simultaneously promoting quality, efficiency, and access to care.

Between 2012 and 2019, profit pools (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA) grew at a compound average growth rate of roughly 5 percent. This growth was aided in part by incremental healthcare spending that resulted from the 2010 Affordable Care Act. In 2020, subsidies for qualified individual purchasers on the marketplaces and expansion of Medicaid coverage resulted in roughly $130 billion 1 2 of incremental healthcare spending by the federal government.

The next three years are expected to be less positive for the economics of the healthcare industry, as profit pools are more likely to be flat. COVID-19 has led to the potential for economic headwinds and a rebalancing of system funds. Current unemployment rates (6.9 percent as of October 2020) 3 indicate some individuals may move from employer-sponsored insurance to other options. It is expected that roughly between $70 billion and $100 billion in funding may leave the healthcare system by 2022, compared with the expected trajectory pre-COVID-19. The outflow is driven by coverage shifts out of employer-sponsored insurance, product buy-downs, and Medicaid rate pressures from states, partially offset by increased federal spending in the form of subsidies and cost sharing in the Individual market and in Medicaid funding.

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The trade-off between cost reduction and increased effectiveness of the finance function is a false choice. Leading finance departments are guardians of enterprise value creation, demonstrating stewardship of their own spend by lowering absolute costs and shifting work towards more value-added activities.

We have analyzed the finance functions of hundreds of companies to understand how cost and effectiveness have evolved over the past ten years. After controlling for differences in sector, scale, and geographic footprint, several findings emerged:

  • Finance organizations have, on average, decreased their cost by 29 percent.
  • The most efficient cohort of finance departments (“finance leaders”) achieved similar cost improvement to the level shown by average performers—an impressive feat given that the finance leaders started from a lower cost base.
  • Finance leaders spent 19 percent more time on value-added (versus transaction-processing) activities than a typical finance department did.

What can companies do differently to join the finance leaders? The research points toward four imperatives. The first is to cast a wider net for new efficiency opportunities, reaching beyond the transactional activities that have long been the primary focus of attention. Second, boost finance’s role in managing data, whether consolidating, simplifying, or controlling the flood of information flowing across the organization. Third, strengthen decision-making through widespread adoption of data-visualization, advanced-analytics, and debiasing techniques. Finally, reimagine the finance operating model so that it fosters new skills and capabilities.

These steps are already enabling companies to join the finance-function elite—while cutting audit costs by double-digit percentages, improving data quality (and reducing wasteful data-cleaning efforts), upskilling finance teams, and enabling the function to guide better decisions throughout the enterprise.

 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020 10:02

The CEO Moment: Leadership for a New Era

CEO-MOMENT

COVID-19 has created a massive humanitarian challenge: millions ill and hundreds of thousands of lives lost; soaring unemployment rates in the world’s most robust economies; food banks stretched beyond capacity; governments straining to deliver critical services. The pandemic is also a challenge for businesses—and their CEOs—unlike any they have ever faced, forcing an abrupt dislocation of how employees work, how customers behave, how supply chains function, and even what ultimately constitutes business performance.

Confronting this unique moment, CEOs have shifted how they lead in expedient and ingenious ways. The changes may have been birthed of necessity, but they have great potential beyond this crisis. In this article, we explore four shifts in how CEOs are leading that are also better ways to lead a company: unlocking bolder (“10x”) aspirations, elevating their “to be” list to the same level as “to do” in their operating models, fully embracing stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the full power of their CEO peer networks.

If they become permanent, these shifts hold the potential to thoroughly recalibrate the organization and how it operates, the company’s performance potential, and its relationship to critical constituents.

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The trade-off between cost reduction and increased effectiveness of the finance function is a false choice. Leading finance departments are guardians of enterprise value creation, demonstrating stewardship of their own spend by lowering absolute costs and shifting work towards more value-added activities.

We have analyzed the finance functions of hundreds of companies to understand how cost and effectiveness have evolved over the past ten years. After controlling for differences in sector, scale, and geographic footprint, several findings emerged:

  • Finance organizations have, on average, decreased their cost by 29 percent.
  • The most efficient cohort of finance departments (“finance leaders”) achieved similar cost improvement to the level shown by average performers—an impressive feat given that the finance leaders started from a lower cost base.
  • Finance leaders spent 19 percent more time on value-added (versus transaction-processing) activities than a typical finance department did.

What can companies do differently to join the finance leaders? The research points toward four imperatives. The first is to cast a wider net for new efficiency opportunities, reaching beyond the transactional activities that have long been the primary focus of attention. Second, boost finance’s role in managing data, whether consolidating, simplifying, or controlling the flood of information flowing across the organization. Third, strengthen decision-making through widespread adoption of data-visualization, advanced-analytics, and debiasing techniques. Finally, reimagine the finance operating model so that it fosters new skills and capabilities.

These steps are already enabling companies to join the finance-function elite—while cutting audit costs by double-digit percentages, improving data quality (and reducing wasteful data-cleaning efforts), upskilling finance teams, and enabling the function to guide better decisions throughout the enterprise.

 

Thursday, 10 December 2020 12:03

Global Economics Intelligence Executive Summary

INTELLIGENCE

After experiencing a withering first half of 2020, the world economy partly revived in the third quarter, as COVID-19 restrictions were eased. Manufacturing and trade regenerated first; the consumer sector followed.

Prepandemic levels of industrial activity were approached if not breached—US industrial production recovered to within six percentage points of December 2019 levels, while in the eurozone, GDP expanded 12.6% in Q3, within 4.4% of the December 2019 mark.

The pace of industrial growth generally quickened in October and November. The purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs) for manufacturing, at both the global level and for individual surveyed economies, rose higher into expansion territory. The manufacturing outlook was especially strong in Brazil and India; only in Russia did the indicator point to contraction.

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The trade-off between cost reduction and increased effectiveness of the finance function is a false choice. Leading finance departments are guardians of enterprise value creation, demonstrating stewardship of their own spend by lowering absolute costs and shifting work towards more value-added activities.

We have analyzed the finance functions of hundreds of companies to understand how cost and effectiveness have evolved over the past ten years. After controlling for differences in sector, scale, and geographic footprint, several findings emerged:

  • Finance organizations have, on average, decreased their cost by 29 percent.
  • The most efficient cohort of finance departments (“finance leaders”) achieved similar cost improvement to the level shown by average performers—an impressive feat given that the finance leaders started from a lower cost base.
  • Finance leaders spent 19 percent more time on value-added (versus transaction-processing) activities than a typical finance department did.

What can companies do differently to join the finance leaders? The research points toward four imperatives. The first is to cast a wider net for new efficiency opportunities, reaching beyond the transactional activities that have long been the primary focus of attention. Second, boost finance’s role in managing data, whether consolidating, simplifying, or controlling the flood of information flowing across the organization. Third, strengthen decision-making through widespread adoption of data-visualization, advanced-analytics, and debiasing techniques. Finally, reimagine the finance operating model so that it fosters new skills and capabilities.

These steps are already enabling companies to join the finance-function elite—while cutting audit costs by double-digit percentages, improving data quality (and reducing wasteful data-cleaning efforts), upskilling finance teams, and enabling the function to guide better decisions throughout the enterprise.

 

COVID-TRENDS

Covid-19 has forced a radical shift in consumer and company behaviors. As industries adapted to the necessity of social distancing, new business models took off or accelerated.

Now, many leadership teams are wondering which of these changes will endure beyond the pandemic, permanently reshaping businesses and industries.
Will a large number of employees decide to work from home in the future, shrinking the need for commercial office space?

Companies that have the ability to foresee such pivotal moments adapt faster and better in turbulent times.

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The trade-off between cost reduction and increased effectiveness of the finance function is a false choice. Leading finance departments are guardians of enterprise value creation, demonstrating stewardship of their own spend by lowering absolute costs and shifting work towards more value-added activities.

We have analyzed the finance functions of hundreds of companies to understand how cost and effectiveness have evolved over the past ten years. After controlling for differences in sector, scale, and geographic footprint, several findings emerged:

  • Finance organizations have, on average, decreased their cost by 29 percent.
  • The most efficient cohort of finance departments (“finance leaders”) achieved similar cost improvement to the level shown by average performers—an impressive feat given that the finance leaders started from a lower cost base.
  • Finance leaders spent 19 percent more time on value-added (versus transaction-processing) activities than a typical finance department did.

What can companies do differently to join the finance leaders? The research points toward four imperatives. The first is to cast a wider net for new efficiency opportunities, reaching beyond the transactional activities that have long been the primary focus of attention. Second, boost finance’s role in managing data, whether consolidating, simplifying, or controlling the flood of information flowing across the organization. Third, strengthen decision-making through widespread adoption of data-visualization, advanced-analytics, and debiasing techniques. Finally, reimagine the finance operating model so that it fosters new skills and capabilities.

These steps are already enabling companies to join the finance-function elite—while cutting audit costs by double-digit percentages, improving data quality (and reducing wasteful data-cleaning efforts), upskilling finance teams, and enabling the function to guide better decisions throughout the enterprise.

 

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