Duties of a Controller:

Posted: March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Duties of a Controller:

  • Prepare accurate and timely financial statements
  • Assess, design and set up accounting systems to ensure effective and efficient recording of accounting transactions
  • Evaluate and recommend changes to internal controls
  • Identify critical success factors and ways to measure them
  • Monitor adherence to established operating procedures and internal controls
  • Prepare/review general ledger accounts to ensure the integrity and accuracy of accounts
  • Manage and perform accounting and month end closing
  • Assist in analysis of Buy vs. lease decisions
  • Manage fixed asset accounting and reporting
  • Manage cash flows, collections and payments
  • Provide management with financial and operational information vital to the decision-making process including revenue streams, costs and margins
  • Review and analyze results for operational management
  • Facilitate management meetings
  • Hire, train and retain competent accounting staff
  • Effectively develop and manage accounting staff
  • Assist with tax functions as well as special projects
  • Coordinate activities of external auditors
  • Prepare support schedules for year-end work papers
  • Perform other assignments as directed

The 7 Success Principles of Steve Jobs

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Thoughts

As we kick off the New Year, leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners are looking for new and innovative ways to grow their brands. Who better to turn to than one of the most innovative leaders of our time—Apple CEO Steve Jobs?  Through first-person interviews with Apple employees, experts, and analysts, as well as Steve Jobs’ own words over the past thirty years, I discovered that there are 7 principles largely responsible for Jobs’ breakthrough success.  These are described in my new book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, and they are principles that I will discuss in blog posts over the coming weeks.  Briefly, here are the principles that anyone can use to “think differently” about their service, product or brand.

Principle One: Do what you love. Steve Jobs once told a group of employees, “People with passion can change the world for the better.”  Jobs has followed his heart his entire life and that passion, he says, has made all the difference.  It’s very difficult to come up with new, creative, and novel ideas unless you are passionate about moving society forward.

Principle Two: Put a dent in the universe. Passion fuels the rocket, but vision directs the rocket to its ultimate destination. In 1976, when Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, Jobs’ vision was to put a computer in the hands of everyday people.  In 1979, Jobs saw an early and crude graphical user interface being demonstrated at the Xerox research facility in Palo Alto, California.  He knew immediately that the technology would make computers appealing to “everyday people.”  That technology eventually became The Macintosh, which changed everything about the way we interact with computers.  Xerox scientists didn’t realize its potential because their “vision” was limited to making new copiers.  Two people can see the exactly the same thing, but perceive it differently based on their vision.

Principle Three: Kick start your brain. Steve Jobs once said “Creativity is connecting things.”  Connecting things means seeking inspiration from other industries.  At various times, Jobs has found inspiration in a phone book, Zen meditation, visiting India, a food processor at Macy’s, or The Four Seasons hotel chain.  Jobs doesn’t “steal” ideas as much as he uses ideas from other industries to inspire his own creativity.

Principle Four: Sell dreams, not products. To Steve Jobs, people who buy Apple products are not “consumers.”  They are people with hopes, dreams and ambitions.  He builds products to help people achieve their dreams.  He once said, “some people think you’ve got to be crazy to buy a Mac, but in that craziness we see genius.”  How do you see your customers?  Help them unleash their inner genius and you’ll win over their hearts and minds.

Principle Five: Say no to 1,000 things. Steve Jobs once said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”  He is committed to building products with simple, uncluttered design.  And that commitment extends beyond products. From the design of the iPod to the iPad, from the packaging of Apple’s products, to the functionality of the Web site, in Apple’s world, innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

Principle Six: Create insanely great experiences. The Apple store has become the world’s best retailer by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to create deeper, more emotional connections with their customers.  For example, there are no cashiers in an Apple store. There are experts, consultants, even geniuses, but no cashiers.  Why?  Because Apple is not in the business of moving boxes; they are in the business of enriching lives.  Big difference.

Principle Seven: Master the message. Steve Jobs is the world’s greatest corporate storyteller, turning product launches into an art form.  You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you can’t get people excited about it, it doesn’t matter.

Simply put, innovation is a new way of doing things that results in positive change. Innovation is attainable by anyone at any organization, regardless of title or position.  Make innovation a part of your brands’ DNA by thinking differently about your business challenges.

Apple Mkt Cap Hits $500B

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Half a trillion dollars.

With a little up move after hours, Apple now has a market capitalization of $500.1 billion.

Astonishing.

The stock is now at yet another all time high. After rallying $9.65, or 1.8%, to $535.41 in the regular session – closing at the high for the day and giving the company a market cap of $499.2 billion – the stock has inched up another 96 cents after hours to $536.37. That’s just enough to push the stock’s market cap to the north side of a half trillion bucks.

The stock is now up 32.4% for the year to date.

Apple now has at least twice the market cap of all but three other U.S.-listed public companies:

The Street‘s mean analyst target for the stock is $572.10; the median target is $600; the highest target on the Street is $700.

To get to a trillion dollars, Apple’s shares would have to hit $1,073.

Maybe by that point the company will be paying a dividend.

Update: I would note that Apple is in rarified air here, but it is not the first company to cross the $500 billion level; PetroChina, Exxon, Microsoft, General Electric and Cisco Systems have all visited this neighborhood before; but note that none of the others were able to hold above the magical half-billion mark. (PetroChina at one point had a valuation north of $1 trillion.)

Intrapreneurship

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Thoughts

In 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged the popular use of a new word, intrapreneur, to mean “A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation”. Intrapreneurship is now known as the practice of a corporate management style that integrates risk-taking and innovation approaches, as well as the reward and motivational techniques, that are more traditionally thought of as being the province of entrepreneurship.

View on strategic planning

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have a strategy and a plan about where I’d like to be in three years, but I never let the plan get in the way of the first shot in the battle.

I see a lot of organizations trying to make the world fit their plan.  It’s not possible. The world is changing too quickly. The ability to be nimble is the single determinant between those that are succeeding and those that are failing. Rigidity is the enemy of progress. The most successful companies embrace the world’s chaotic energy. Chaos opens up opportunities.

 

“the trust principles”, drives our DNA and ensures that we are ethical, honest, and not conflicted in the way we works.

I really believe we’re doing something for the world.  People are passionate and incredibly energetic.  And at the core of our culture is organizational curiosity.

I think curiosity is an enormous determinant of organizational and individual success.

I try to push our company out into the world.  It’s very easy for companies to get introspective.  It’s very easy for companies to be convinced that the actions inside are the answers. When you’re a big company, there’s a lot of action inside, but we must be curious and nimble utilizing real time information.  That is why rigidity is the real the enemy.

 

I do something called “deep dives” with everybody from my general council to my head of sales to my head of marketing 3 of 4 times a year. We don’t talk about results.  We talk about the world and the business and strategy.

We don’t discuss, “How are you doing according to your plan?”  Instead we discuss, “How are we going to be the world’s best in India?”  “How are we going to double the size of this business in three years?”

And a lot of times, those are just very whiteboard-type thinking sessions which I think ultimately drive organizational curiosity.

Leadership philosophy

I try to avoid being hierarchical. I try to be optimistic and curious and encourage innovation everywhere.

Running a company is fine.  Changing a company is what energizes both me personally and the organization.  There’s no such thing as going sideways.  If you’re going sideways, people get antsy, they get miserable, the organization stagnates and you’re going backwards even if you kid yourself that you’re going sideways. So I try to help the company get into that energizing innovation and breakthrough.

 

What CEOs Can Learn From Jeremy Lin

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Key persons

As everyone looks for lessons to understand the Jeremy Lin ‘Linsanity’ phenomenon, I viewed it from my lens of having interviewed 250 CEOs and as a Knicks fan following Jeremy Lin before he became a sensation. So in seeking truth, I decided to crunch some numbers. The results were compelling and revealed that there are definitive lessons CEOs can learn and apply from Jeremy Lin. This article has two parts: first my analysis of Lin with CEO lessons, and second, direct CEO perspective where I talk with Michael Chen, recent CEO of GE Media Finance and President of an NBC News Business, about Jeremy Lin.

1. Identify the Superstar on your bench. An unexpected insight came when I compared the 11 games Jeremy Lin played for the Knicks before his breakthrough with the 11 games he played after February 4th. I calculated points and assists per minute. The finding: In Lin’s 11 games after his breakthrough playing an average of 34 minutes per game he averaged 23.9 points per game and 9.1 assists per game; in his games prior to breakthrough his averages using 34 minutes per game would have been 20.4 points per game and 9.7 assists per game. Net/net, before his breakthrough, Jeremy Lin was already achieving at the same high level, but was just under the radar. To Coach Mike D’Antoni’s credit, the moment Lin had just one great game, he immediately made Lin a starter.  The message to CEOs is look under the radar in your organization — analyze P&Ls of overlooked businesses or current smaller untapped markets, seek breakthrough ideas from the depth of your organization, and view carefully potentially overlooked data because there may be a superstar on the bench.

2. Play team ball. When Jeremy Lin took over the point guard position, the Knicks won 9 of 11 games; during the prior games the Knicks lost 9 of 11. And during this turnaround, they were mostly playing without their two perennial all-stars. So what happened? The Knicks created a winning corporate culture. Once a culture is defined, the key to a team is everyone has a role. As it turns out Jeremy Lin’s role as point guard is what I define as a high-leverage position. He orchestrates. Lin’s passing ability immediately made everyone else better, and low percentage shots became high percentage shots. For example, Steve Novak prior to Lin’s leadership was a background character without a defined role averaging only 3 points a game; since February 4th, Novak has averaged 12 points a game off the bench and is a top 5 NBA leader with 46% 3-point shooting percentage, and is now looked upon as an option to take the final shot of the game.

Playing team ball, the Knicks followed their new leader Jeremy Lin’s lead and started playing team defense as well. The Knicks 11 games prior let teams score an average of 96 points per game. The 11 games with Lin leading the Knicks became one of the NBA’s elite teams holding teams to just 90 points per game. Knick fans witnessed something they hadn’t really seen since 1973 when Frazier, Bradley, DeBusschere, Reed, Lucas and Monroe played true team basketball team offense and defense. I have fond memories as a kid sitting with my dad watching the beauty of team basketball, and now I can sit with my kids and witness team ball together. The message to CEOs is that team ball wins, and the first step to team ball is having a defined culture and identifying high-leverage positions whose occupants make everyone else better. Just like a winning coach has 48 minutes of intense team basketball, a winning CEO has each associate successfully playing their roles and integrating them with others every day–playing team ball a full 48 minutes.

To gain further perspective adding to the two insights – identify the super star on your bench and play team ball – following are some questions I asked recent CEO Michael Chen about his take on Jeremy Lin.

Michael, as a recent CEO, what do you think companies can learn from “Linsanity”?

Robert, every corporation probably has 20-30 hidden Jeremy Lin’s in its organization.  No, I’m not talking about just Harvard grads or Asian-Americans. I am talking about employees (men/women, diverse/non-diverse) who have the potential to become future leaders, but for one reason or another have yet to be discovered. As corporations get bigger, bureaucracy inevitably creeps in.  Sometimes, companies create several layers of management between employees and senior leaders, making it very difficult for these “Jeremy Lin’s” to be discovered.  Therefore, companies should create a process that gives potential superstar employees an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of senior leaders.  When I was at GE, we created a “Growth Competition” which allowed anyone with an innovative idea to enter the competition.  They needed to create a team, develop the concept, and submit a detailed plan to a group of judges, who then decided whether or not it would qualify for a presentation to the Vice Chairman and other leaders of GE. It was like the “American Idol” of finding future business leaders, except our judges were nicer.

What advice would you give the hidden “Jeremy Lin’s” in organizations?

Personal branding is essential. A few years ago, I developed a personal branding model which I call the “4 I’s”: have integrity, make an impact, beinclusive, and inspire people.  1) Have Integrity – As Jeremy Lin has shown to the Knicks, be dependable, trustworthy, accountable, and loyal to the organization. 2) Make an Impact – Whenever you have an opportunity to showcase your talents, give it your all. If you succeed, fantastic.  If it doesn’t work out, at least you know you went down swinging.  3) Be Inclusive – Don’t try to do it alone.  Like basketball, business is a team sport.  Share the ball with others, involve them in the decision making, and help them succeed, and 4) Inspire People – Teams and corporations are looking for leaders who can energize and bring out the best in others.  So like Jeremy Lin, be passionate, give others hope and respect, recognize them for the credit they deserve, and always stay humble.  He is living proof that the 4 “I’s” Personal branding model works!

Michael, you are an Asian American of Chinese heritage, just like Jeremy Lin.  How does it feel that he has become an overnight sensation in the NBA?

To be honest, I am overwhelmed with pride and joy.  The Asian culture encourages people to be humble, and not self promote, which may give off the perception that Asian Americans are not aggressive enough to make it as an athlete nor assertive enough to be leaders in this county. Hopefully, Jeremy Lin will help break that stereotype, and we will see many more Asian Americans in professional sports and leadership positions.  Jeremy Lin has shown all of us that you can be both humble and successful, which makes me proud of my Asian heritage.  In addition, his success also makes me proud to be born and live in this country as an American, where people are given the opportunity to fulfill their lifelong dreams.

What do you see as Jeremy Lin’s future?

I truly believe Jeremy Lin will be a star in the NBA, but I feel a little for him.  It’s almost like he has the whole world on his shoulders, and that he must continue to excel every single night or he will be disappointing the Knicks,New York City, and even our country.  I think those are tough expectations to fulfill.   He will have his off nights, but I do believe he is the real deal, and the Knicks will be rewarded over the long term for giving Jeremy Lin the opportunity to prove he can be the starting point guard for their team.

. . . Thanks Michael. So in summary, in business unlike sports, it’s not always easy to know if you win. And yet a CEO is charged with making their business win. Perhaps the greatest lesson comes from not just watching, but listening to Jeremy Lin – a man who had no athletic scholarships out of high school, was undrafted out of college, graduated from Harvard, and is the first American player of Chinese descent to play in the NBA.  Jeremy Lin reminds us, “Don’t let people tell you what you can’t do.”

Top 100 companies 2012

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
Rank ▾ Company Job growth U.S. employees
1 Google 33% 18,500
2 Boston Consulting Group 10% 1,958
3 SAS Institute 8% 6,046
4 Wegmans Food Markets 5% 41,717
5 Edward Jones 1% 36,937
6 NetApp 30% 6,887
7 Camden Property Trust -2% 1,678
8 Recreational Equipment (REI) 12% 10,466
9 CHG Healthcare Services 17% 1,312
10 Quicken Loans 20% 3,808
11 Zappos.com 70% 3,003
12 Mercedes-Benz USA 2% 1,680
13 DPR Construction 18% 1,265
14 DreamWorks Animation 8% 2,151
15 NuStar Energy 6% 1,512
16 Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 4% 6,996
17 JM Family Enterprises -1% 3,685
18 Chesapeake Energy 23% 10,502
19 Intuit 9% 7,102
20 USAA 7% 23,211
21 Robert W. Baird 5% 2,509
22 The Container Store 11% 3,495
23 Qualcomm 6% 13,353
24 Alston & Bird 3% 1,645
25 Ultimate Software 15% 1,209
26 Burns & McDonnell 5% 3,165
27 Salesforce.com 39% 3,802
28 Devon Energy -6% 3,286
29 PCL Construction -5% 1,262
30 Bingham McCutchen -7% 1,489
31 Scottrade 9% 3,139
32 Whole Foods Market 6% 60,213
33 Goldman Sachs N.A. N.A.
34 Nugget Market 8% 1,135
35 Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Co. 3% 1,311
36 Southern Ohio Medical Center 18% 2,276
37 Plante Moran 1% 1,476
38 W. L. Gore & Associates 2% 5,852
39 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 1% 3,580
40 SVB Financial Group 9% 1,349
41 Adobe 11% 5,296
42 Baptist Health South Florida 10% 13,302
43 Novo Nordisk N.A. 3,961
44 Balfour Beatty Construction -2% 2,041
45 National Instruments 7% 2,708
46 Intel 4% 44,209
47 American Fidelity Assurance 0% 1,490
48 PricewaterhouseCoopers 9% 30,569
49 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta -1% 6,616
50 World Wide Technology 23% 1,470
51 Allianz Life Insurance 2% 1,711
52 Autodesk 5% 2,798
53 Methodist Hospital 8% 12,152
54 Baker Donelson 3% 1,142
55 Men’s Wearhouse 2% 14,784
56 Scripps Health 2% 12,006
57 Marriott International 3% 108,939
58 Perkins Coie 7% 1,820
59 Ernst & Young 6% 24,347
60 American Express 4% 27,235
61 Nordstrom 6% 52,431
62 Build-A-Bear Workshop 0% 3,564
63 General Mills 1% 16,939
64 TDIndustries 9% 1,554
65 Atlantic Health -2% 7,255
66 QuikTrip 3% 11,615
67 Deloitte 7% 41,125
68 Genentech 1% 11,592
69 Umpqua Bank 5% 2,244
70 Teach For America 14% 1,469
71 Mayo Clinic 3% 41,949
72 EOG Resources 13% 2,063
73 Starbucks 3% 109,477
74 Rackspace Hosting 37% 3,027
75 FactSet Research Systems 22% 1,663
76 Microsoft -4% 53,410
77 Aflac -4% 4,242
78 Publix Super Markets 1% 147,760
79 Mattel -4% 5,178
80 Stryker 24% 10,368
81 SRC 7% 1,153
82 Hasbro 3% 3,129
83 Bright Horizons Family Solutions 5% 14,343
84 Booz Allen Hamilton 7% 24,819
85 Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts 6% 12,439
86 Hitachi Data Systems 7% 2,200
87 The Everett Clinic 4% 2,001
88 OhioHealth 4% 12,924
89 Morningstar 8% 1,364
90 Cisco 7% 34,847
91 CarMax 16% 15,565
92 Accenture 9% 34,000
93 GoDaddy.com 25% 3,274
94 KPMG 5% 20,823
95 Navy Federal Credit Union 8% 7,745
96 Meridian Health 27% 9,333
97 Schweitzer Engineering Labs 27% 1,992
98 Capital One 7% 27,912
99 Darden Restaurants 12% 169,516
100 Intercontinental Hotels Group -2%