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Rebooting a Business

May 21, 2012

The American Institute of CPAs wrapped up its Spring Meeting of Council last Friday with some interesting sessions, including one that had a group of financial executives talking about rebooting a business.

Priyan Fernando, executive vice president at American Express Global Business Services, described how it is important to protect the sensitivity of information with outside vendors. “It becomes much more important to treat vendors as an extension of your organization,” he said.

Under Armor CFO Brad Dickerson discussed the importance of connecting people at his sportswear company. “You need to have the ability to balance that and connect people to solve problems,” he said. Asked about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his trademark hoodie, he replied, “I would say he’s not our core consumer.”

Kenneth Kelly, senior vice president and controller at the spice company McCormick, asked, “Do you want to be a problem solver or an accountant? I would come in and say, ‘Here’s the accounting solution,” and my partner would say, ‘Don’t tell me about the accounting stuff. Tell me what the client wants, and then tell me the accounting solution.’”

Geoffrey Moore, a venture partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, spoke after the panel about technology trends, but also about his relationship with his CPA, whom he views as a trusted advisor. He said he feels he can call his CPA to ask for advice anytime about any problem, including when an employee is “going off the rails.”

AICPA chairman Greg Anton closed out the conference, declaring, “What a 125th anniversary celebration! My life has been enriched by this experience.”

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