Siemens’ CEO: US has a training gap
May 2nd 2013
Globally, a talent crunch is hampering businesses, who say they can’t find enough skilled workers. One US chief executive, Eric Spiegel of industrial machinery company Siemens, says that’s not the fault of the worker. “America has a training gap,” Spiegel said during a Washington Post event on the topic of manufacturing. “Until we put the burden on those who train rather than those who need to be trained, we’ll never solve this problem.”
China coveting German machining technology
May 1st 2013
Chinese machinery companies, already the global industry leader by revenue, are increasingly looking to upgrade their technology standards by buying German competitors, the South China Morning Post reports. Many German machinery firms are struggling financially, while China’s machinery industry is estimated to have increased revenue 12% last year. One example of the buying spree is Sany Heavy Industry’s acquisition of 90% of Putzmeister. Sany is China’s largest construction machinery maker, and Putzmeister is a global leader in concrete pumps used in construction.
Mathematician to tackle Venezuela’s inflation
April 30th 2013
Two days after he was sworn in as Hugo Chavez’s successor, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appointed a new finance minister, MercoPress reports. Nelson Merentes, a trained mathematician, is considered to be more pragmatic than Jorge Giordani, the Marxist academic he replaces. As finance minister, Merentes will be in charge of getting Venezuela’s high inflation under control. Twice in the previous decade, Merentes held the finance minister job under Chavez.
Crying in the boardroom
April 29th 2013
We’ve written recently in CGMA Magazine about stress levels of the global workforce. Now, Jim Edwards of the Financial Post is writing about whether it’s OK to cry at work. The article cites a survey in which 41% of women have cried at work, compared with 9% of men, then asks ad executives, all women, whether shedding one tear or many in the office is acceptable. One response: Yes, as long as it’s not habit-forming. Another: No, be strong!
More wealth for South Africans
April 25th 2013
By 2020, gross household wealth in South Africa will double to about 1 million rand ($109,000) per year, according to Core Data Research. The Mail & Guardian reports that Core Data expects households to have annual income growth of 12.5% during the next eight years. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has repeatedly expressed concern about South Africans’ high levels of debt.
Optimism of UK CFOs rises
April 24th 2013
A Deloitte survey of 120 CFOs found that finance chiefs at the largest UK companies are more upbeat about their companies’ future than they are about the future of the British economy, CNBC reports. The perception that businesses face a lower level of financial and economic risk is driving the increased optimism, Ian Stewart, Deloitte’s chief economist, said. Business confidence rose for the third consecutive quarter, and two-thirds of CFOs said that bank borrowing was an attractive source of lending, the highest level recorded since the survey began in the third quarter of 2007.
Hopes for monetary easing in India rise
April 23rd 2013
India’s inflation rate dropped to the lowest in three years in March, fuelling hopes that the Reserve Bank of India will lower interest rates in its upcoming May 3rd monetary policy review, The Economic Times reports. Wholesale price inflation, a widely watched measure of prices, dropped to 5.96% in March from 6.84% in February. The 5.96% is the lowest inflation rate in India since November 2009.
Turn rejection into a job offer
April 22nd 2013
This scenario won’t be in play every time a job candidate fails to land a position, but Susan Adams, writing for Forbes, talks about how one woman’s persistence helped her get a job after initially being told she was out of contention. Instead of writing a thank-you note after the interview, the candidate wrote an “influence letter.” She addressed the hiring manager’s specific concerns and eventually got another chance to prove herself and was hired.
Risk management: One event, two outcomes
April 17th 2013
A fire caused by a lightning strike at a chip manufacturing plant in New Mexico sent two cell-phone companies on divergent paths in 2000. Kristina Narvaez, the president and chief executive of ERM Strategies LLC, writes for CFO.com about the value of a business continuity plan. Nokia had one in place, and it was able to overcome the temporary loss of chip inflows from Royal Philips Electronics and remain profitable. Ericsson was slow to react, and the company reported a loss of $200 million because of the fire.
Customer profile: A secret business weapon
April 16th 2013
“Aside from a select few companies – like Amazon – most brands still have no unified view of what their customers are saying, doing, or buying on their websites, in retail and across social media.” That’s one key sentence in Richard Ting’s post on Harvard Business Review’s blog. His examples: He tweeted a complaint to an airline he flies regularly, and no one replied. He never gets tailored content from a site he visits often. While combining data into a coherent customer profile is not easy, it’s a process that will allow brands to have far richer and far longer engagement with customers.
How to create a great work space
April 15th 2013
In a short article for Bloomberg Businessweek, Christopher Coleman makes a case for making the workplace feel less worklike. The first point: Listen to what your employees need. It might be a simple lighting change or a better chair.
Study points to risk of UK women director quotas
April 12th 2013
Results of a Cranfield School of Management study suggested that a government-set, voluntary target of 25% female membership on FTSE 100 boards by 2015 may be missed, the Financial Times reports. The Cranfield study found that, in March 2013, the FTSE 100 had only 17.3% women directors, up from 15% a year earlier and 12.5% in 2010.
Accountancy startups rebound in UK
April 11th 2013
The accounting profession in the UK is rebounding from the recession, AccountancyAge reports. According to research by Bloomsbury Professional, the country experienced a gain of 850 accountancy firms last year. “New firms are joining the market, clients are now willing to increase their spend on finance and accountancy advice, while the firms that survived the recession are financially tougher and less likely to fail,” a Bloomsbury official said.
Indian banks to adopt IFRS starting in 2015
April 10th 2013
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), which regulates the accounting profession in India, has come up with recommendations on how the Indian banking sector should implement International Financial Reporting Standards, The Economic Times reports. It will be up to the Reserve Bank of India to enforce IFRS adoption between banks, which is unlikely to take place before 2015. The ICAI also has set up an advisory board on extensible business reporting language (XBRL).
China struggles with FATCA compliance
April 9th 2013
Compliance with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act faces fierce opposition in China, because FATCA would provide potentially career-busting information about certain Chinese account holders’ assets abroad, according to AsianInvestor. But an intergovernmental agreement that allows non-US financial institutions to report FATCA information to local Chinese governments rather than the US Internal Revenue Service, the US’s tax collector, may be in the works.
The business perks of business travel
April 8th 2013
If your company is considering expansion into an emerging market, the best thing it can do is spend time in that market. Makes sense, right? Except company executives often think of a site visit in terms of days, with two of those taken up by travel. As David McCann writes for CFO, executives for the Starwood hotel chain spent about a month recently in Dubai, and they came away richer for the experience. They were able to learn first-hand about the market as well as get to know each other in non-boardroom contexts.
Ford India apologises for “distasteful” ads
April 5th 2013
Advertisements created by the agency JWT India were called “contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford,” the Guardian reports.
CFOs: Take a look at yourself
April 5th 2013
Those who work in finance aren’t the only people who think finance spends too much time “putting out fires” and not enough time adding value with analysis, CFO’s David McCann writes.
The spokes of Beijing’s progress
April 4th 2013
Noah Feldman misses the old Beijing. Ten years ago, he writes for Bloomberg, riding a bike was a way of life for the people in China’s capital. But as the workers in China’s urban areas made more money, they began buying cars and finding the freedom that comes with being able to drive just about anywhere. Those cars help to create Beijing’s legendary smog and make biking, for safety and breathing reasons, nearly impossible.
Big companies, big job numbers
April 3rd 2013
Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith says some big companies in the US have numerous openings for jobs that pay more than $60,000 a year. Amazon tops the list with more than 2,400 better-paying jobs. Two members of the Big Four, PwC and Deloitte, are among the top 11 in number of openings.
EU lifts most Zimbabwe sanctions
April 2nd 2013
The EU has agreed to immediately lift sanctions against 81 individuals and eight entities in Zimbabwe, following a peaceful and credible referendum on a new Zimbabwean constitution, the BBC reports. Sanctions against Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, nine other people and two firms remain in force.
Spanish open-source software users challenge Microsoft
April 1st 2013
A Spanish association representing about 8,000 open-source software users has filed a complaint against Microsoft before the European Commission, saying the software developer is using an anticompetitive obstruction mechanism in computers sold with the Windows 8 operating system, Reuters reports. The mechanism is making it difficult to install another operating system such as Linux.
Omit needless words
March 29th 2013
Bryan A. Garner, writing for Harvard Business Review, wants us all to be on the same page. Actually, he wants us to avoid phrases such as “on the same page,” which falls into the category of bizspeak. Garner pushes for plain, concise communication, reminding us that “in light of the fact that” can be easily substituted with “because.” Why write six words when one will do? Your message is cluttered if you’re wasting words. He has many more examples.
BRICS development bank under consideration
March 28th 2013
Heads of state from Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa, the fast-developing nations known collectively as the BRICS, are getting together to talk about establishing a development bank that would fund infrastructure and development projects in the member states, the South Atlantic News Agency reports. The initial capital investment the BRICS countries are considering is $50 billion.
8 leadership lessons from leading women
March 27th 2013
Beth Brooke was told at age 13 that a degenerative condition could keep her from walking. She basically outran that diagnosis with pure determination, went on to play multiple interscholastic sports and is now an executive at Ernst & Young. Her story was one used by Jenna Goudreau of Forbes to detail eight leadership lessons. Goudreau also draws on the experience of the chief executives of Campbell’s Soup and luxury hotel brand Four Seasons.
ROI of doing nothing
March 26th 2013
When better returns follow the implementation of new strategy, is it certain those changes were the drivers of the improved bottom line? It’s possible the same improvements would have occurred if no action had been taken, Dan Kocher writes for Business Finance. As companies have more money to invest in internal improvements, as opposed to searching everywhere for cost savings, it’s important for those companies to create a baseline to measure against and calculate an expected return on investment.
How to ease the pain of a cultural misstep
March 25th 2013
If you’ve ever spent time in another country on business, you’ve probably faced an awkward social situation in which you didn’t know how to react. A Harvard Business Review blog post provides strategies to limit foreigners’ faux pas. The first tip: Show a genuine interest in that country’s culture. Even if you stumble a little on the way, others will see that you are trying to learn to avoid future missteps. And your efforts might make it easier to close a deal.