37th Edition — October 20, 2019
An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly is the greatest competitive advantage.
1. CFOs Are Really Good People (Most of Them)
I find forensic accounting fascinating. If I were 30 years younger, that would probably be a path I’d plow. My focus would be on prevention and detection through data analysis.
Accordingly, one of my many Google Alerts is set on ‘CFO Fraud’. You’ve got to be kidding me–I learn of a new fraud encounter nearly weekly, and three just this month alone. I get it as in why these people do what they do, but I also can’t at the same time.
Do me a favor. Please buy one of the titles below, skim it, and then talk to your CPA firm in setting up internal audit procedures that can nearly eliminate fraud as best as possible.
- Preventing and Detecting Employee Theft and Embezzlement by Pedneault
- Fraud 101: Techniques and Strategies for Understanding Fraud by Pedneault
- Benford’s Law: Applications for Forensic Accounting, Auditing, and Fraud Detection by Nigrini and Wells
2. Books on Business Criminal Behavior
Now I’m on a roll. Regarding criminal behavior, the five books below are the best I’ve read on this subject matter which are hard to put down:
- American Kingpin by Bilton
- Bad Blood by Carreyrou
- Scores by Blutrich
- Ghost in the Wires by Mitnick
- Conspiracy of Fools by Eichenwald
All of the titles above were bestsellers after they were released. All read like fiction.
3. Data Viz
I’m a frameworks junkie as I like creating and collecting these mental constructs. Last week, I posted a framework on a Quora Space that I curate called the Frameworks Fanatic. I had never heard of the 3 Stages of Understanding Data Visualization which addresses perceiving, interpreting, and comprehending.
Andy Kirk’s framework reminded me of my favorite book on visual design by Edward Tufte entitled The Visual Display of Quantitative Information where he addresses three important ideas:
- Data-ink Ratio
- Substance over Design
Critics of Tufte say that he’s too minimalist. You’ll need to decide for yourself.
4. Marketing Ineptitude
I continue to be disappointed by the lack of marketing genius I see in small agencies that I encounter directly and indirectly. Most focus on tactics forgetting that one of the main roles of their clients is to know how their customers think, feel, behave, and make purchasing decisions.
That reminds me of the best questions I’ve ever encountered from a marketing perspective:
- What is your overt benefit?
- What is the real reason for the customer to believe in that overt benefit?
- What is the dramatic benefit of the product or service?
Can your company’s internal marketing team adequately answer these questions? Incidentally, these questions are found in the book with a cheesy title, Jump Start Your Business Brain by Doug Hall.
5. The 100 Greatest Characters in the National Football League
The NFL is big business due in part to its crazy characters of the game. This week, Joe Namath landed in the No. 1 position on the list of the game’s greatest characters.
What if you and I wrote a book on the greatest CEO characters of the past 50 or so years (living or dead)? Who would be on that list? Here’s my shortlist:
+ Bob Parsons – GoDaddy
+ Sir Richard Charles Branson – Virgin Group
+ Gary Vaynerchuk – best selling author, speaker, business owner
+ Al Dunlap – CEO of various companies
+ Ross Johnson – RJR Nabisco
+ Steve Ballmer – Microsoft
+ Jack Welch – GE
+ Lee Iacocca – Ford and Chrysler
Those are the tip of the iceberg. Would your company’s CEO make this list?
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.