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The CFO 411: Steady on Your Feet

Close view of a Gymnast legs on a balance beam

Good news for those dismayed by the dismal data in the recent jobs report: U.S. retail sales climbed in May, the second month in a row. Healthy consumer spending could signal that the U.S. economy remains sure-footed. Elsewhere, more companies are moving their HQs to urban centers in a bid to attract millennial workers unwilling to commute to the ’burbs. And fears of a possible Brexit intensify as the vote looms large.

4 need-to-know headlines

1. Consumer spending shows further retail divide

Despite the hiring slump, retail sales climbed 0.5% in May, besting expectations. That sent economists and execs cheering that the economy may sidestep a downturn. Yet those in retail noted that the chasm between online and brick-and-mortar sales continues to grow. While most consumers still shop in stores, e-commerce sales surged 1.3%. (via

2. More companies embrace the city

McDonald’s recently joined the crowd of companies flocking to urban centers in a bid to attract more millennial workers. The fast food giant announced that it will leave its sprawling suburban headquarters in favor of a sleek spot in Chicago’s trendy West Loop neighborhood by 2018. Companies are migrating into cities to chase the talent pool: Young, educated workers are moving into urban areas at a rate not seen since the 1970s. (via [log-in required])

3. Brexit fears mount as vote approaches

If the U.K. votes to leave the European Union at next week’s referendum, the Brexit could throw the brakes on growth for the world economy. When recent polls suggested that momentum was building in favor of a departure, the markets responded with volatility. Sterling swung wildly, stocks slumped, and Japan’s yen surged. “Everything is about Brexit right now,” one trading strategist said. (via

4. Companies pledge to address gender pay gap

Twenty-eight major companies—including Amazon, American Airlines, Gap, Johnson & Johnson, and Dow Chemical—have signed on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge. These companies agree to conduct an audit of their own internal pay practices, including recruitment and promotions, and take concrete steps to chip away at any pay gaps between the genders. In the tech sector, for one, companies will have their work cut out for them: A recent survey showed that, 69% of the time, women are offered less money than men for the same role. (via [log-in required] and

The stat: $26.2 billion

That’s the amount Microsoft has agreed to pay for LinkedIn, setting a new record for the most expensive valuation ever in an all-cash deal for an internet company. The acquisition values LinkedIn at 79 times its 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for the period ending March 31. While the move is meant to invigorate Microsoft, some analysts are scratching their heads over the soundness of the deal. (via

Sound bite of the week

“Every job I took, I was deeply uncomfortable in terms of feeling unqualified. Every step, every risk I took, built confidence.” —Amy Hood, who became Microsoft’s first female CFO in 2013, at a summit on women in leadership. Hood credits taking on stretch roles as building both the skills and confidence she needed to eventually move into the CFO office. (via

4 Top Stories + 1 Key Statistic + 1 Industry Quote = The CFO 411
The CFO 411 is our weekly news roundup that brings you top headlines, data points, and sound bites to keep you in the know. Follow our updates on LinkedIn for more finance must-reads.

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