Rick Telberg
Rick Telberg

What Your Boss Wants From You in 2011

The world’s top public and private sector CEOs expect more creativity from their leadership cadre, and new ways to simplify business processes and re-invent customer relationships. Finance and accounting professionals cannot afford to ignore their demands.Click here to submit comments.

December 16, 2010
by Rick Telberg

Finance and accounting professionals may be unprepared for a world of increasing complication in 2011 unless they can learn to be more entrepreneurial and innovative than ever before, suggests a new survey of CEOs.

The risks of failure, as we’ve seen from the banking debacle, remain real and ever-present.

At the root of the problem is a world of global inter-connectedness, according to a new IBM survey of 1,541 CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders, including 290 respondents in the U.S. The common factors are the issues and problems of worldwide integration.

The study provides a roadmap for some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the coming New Year and rare insight into the concerns, wants and needs for people like your boss or your clients. To be sure, IBM is addressing the effectiveness of physical and digital infrastructures. But any CPA or CFO understands immediately and intuitively the meaning for finance an accounting.

“We occupy a world that is connected on multiple dimensions, and at a deep level — a global system of systems,” the report says. The authors call for stepped-up governance, regulatory and compliance systems, saying a world “subject to systems-level failures” requires “systems-level thinking.”

There are two main issues:

  1. Top executives say rapidly escalating “complexity” is their biggest problem, and they expect it to continue, even accelerate, in coming years.
  2. They are equally clear that their organizations are not equipped to cope with the problem.

U.S. CEOs are especially worried. Some 86 percent expect high levels of complexity over the next five years, but only 45 percent feel properly prepared.

IBM calls the 41-percentage-point difference a “complexity gap,” adding, it “poses a bigger challenge than any we’ve measured in the eight years we’ve been conducting such research.”

The question for finance and accounting professionals is: What will you do in 2011 to streamline business processes and help create a more agile organization?


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Rick Telberg is president and chief executive of Bay Street Group LLC, advisors in marketing, management and strategy.

Copyright © 2010 CPA Trendlines/BSG LLC. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. First published by the AICPA.

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