20 Websites Every Financial Controller Should Bookmark
Posted by Marco Rolla
Being a good financial controller means staying informed, since you need to know what is happening in your industry -- from consumer trends to sector regulations -- and in the events of the larger business world. Some of these happenings might inform your own company's policies, while others may illustrate a concept you employ to be a better financial manager. You also need to understand what is going on to prepare accurate forecasts, make strategic decisions and run your company's finances responsibly.
Reading the newspaper helps, but it can't replace the advantage of receiving the news as it happens; also, the newspaper doesn't always explain why something matters or how it might impact business. For that, you need a different type of resource. You need websites. While you don't have time to surf the Internet, you can keep a few sites bookmarked for your review.
Here are the 20 websites we think every financial controller or finance manager should have bookmarked:
Catching up on the News
Wall Street Journal: The WSJ is the best site for business news as it relates to the United States. You'll find a mixture of reporting happenings, company analysis and commentary on trends.
Financial Times: The FT is to the world what the WSJ is to the United States. Coverage from the Financial Times tends to cover more world happenings, even when reading the U.S. Version.
Bloomberg: Bloomberg's homepage provides overviews of the markets as well as futures and commodities. Events that are happening now are highlighted along the left side of the site, while analysis and commentary takes center stage.
CFO Journal: This site is published by the WSJ, and it explains business news with an eye toward corporate finance. CFO features special emphasis on current, reporting and governance.
CFO Report: The CFO Report is part of the CFO Journal, but it is not easy to find from the front page. It focuses on news and trends that financial executives find important, and while some news is aggregated, other content is commentary or analysis of the issues.
Understanding Issues Better
The Economist: If you are not dialed in to what is happening around the world, you may find it difficult to connect the dots between how a drought in Brazil impacts beef production, for instance. The Economist helps keep you informed so you can make those connections.
Barron's: Barron's explains company happenings and economic occurrences, and it takes the content from the WSJ one step further to explain why those events produced those results.
Fast Company: This site focuses on innovation within companies; read this to spot new trends in technology and design.
Fortune: This site covers how business leaders responded to different issues and what happened next. It also looks at hot-button issues, some of which is more commentary than analysis, but it provides good insight.
Inc: This site looks at growth -- why it happens and how to get results. This helps financial controllers in advisory roles, but it also talks about financing growth and managing company finances.
Improving at Work
Harvard Business Review: The HBR has tips on running a company better and discusses best practices.
CFO: This website will help you function better as a manager, stay current on accounting or tax changes, and learn about risk and compliance issues that could impact your business.
CFO Daily News: A light read. Articles are casual and short, but they contain good coverage of what is happening in the world of corporate finance.
Financial Executives International: This website looks at corporate finance from a practical stance, and articles range from ideas on managing political risk to best practices for managing your company's finances. Be sure to check out "Five Things You Should Read."
Deloitte for the WSJ: Deloitte (yes, that Deloitte) has a column in the WSJ's CFO Journal. Expect insight into industry outlooks and best practices, as well as advice from business leaders.
LinkedIn Pulse: This is the news section of LinkedIn, and it aggregates content from top publications and mixes articles with those articles from people you follow, letting you stay connected with industry happenings.
Stock Markets: Stock markets let you see how your industry is doing. Check websites like NASDAQ to check earnings calendars, get the latest headlines and see when IPOs are debuting. Even if your company is not publicly traded, you know the events and issues that impact larger competitors may trickle down to you. For instance, if you work for a company that makes zippers, you will want to stay updated on the demand for clothing.
SEC: As a financial controller, you should also review federal happenings by checking the Securities & Exchange Commission website. Even small, unlisted companies can be affected by changes in monetary policy and reporting requirements.
Local Paper's Website: Understand what is happening around you, and remember your local paper will help you stay on top of local news so you can spot new opportunities.
Your Competitors' Websites: Stay informed about your competition; even if you don't have a hand in developing your company's strategy, you need to know what the other guys are doing to have accurate forecasts.