E-books can be viewed online via CPA Library at www.cpaaustralia.com.au/bookreviews_jun2012. Contact CPA library on 1300 737 373 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New CEO Corporate Leadership Manual
By Steven Bragg
Wiley, 344 pages (print version)
Every CEO position has its unique challenges, but Bragg argues that there are general lessons that can help anyone new to the role. Much of what he has to say is about financial management and there is a focus on early assessment of the state of the company as well as the funding of projects and new initiatives. Once a CEO is comfortable in the big chair they can begin to look at expansion. There are sections on how to choose acquisition targets, price them and successfully integrate them. While the book is mainly designed to assist those moving into a CEO role, it would be a useful reference and learning tool for anyone aiming to step into a senior corporate role.
The Green to Gold Business Playbook
By Daniel Esty and P.J. Simmons
Wiley, 440 pages (print version)
This book expands on the well-regarded volume Green to Gold by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston, with a greater emphasis on gaining competitive advantage through sustainability action in buildings and operations, IT, product design, logistics, marketing, accounting and other key business functions. Esty and Simmons have little time for deep-green environmental ideology, couching their message in terms of lower costs and risk reduction. They offer a range of frameworks, checklists and action plans, although the information is fairly general. The regulatory material also relates to US law, although as it generally regards broad principles this is not a huge drawback.
The Enterprise Business Analyst
By Kathleen Hass
Management Concepts, 410 pages (print version)
Hass, a specialist in corporate planning and execution, believes that business analysts must move from tactical, project-focused roles towards creative, innovative functions, to deal with the ever-increasing complexity of the business environment. She sets out a path for this transition, focusing on methods for fostering team creativity and strategies for improved communication. She also examines the part that business analysts can play in finding new opportunities and sparking innovative solutions. This is interesting stuff, although her case studies (many based on her personal experience) are not always as illustrative as they might be, and key questions about the skills required of business analysts in their new role are not examined in sufficient depth. Nevertheless, there are enough ideas here to make the book useful to anyone interested in the next steps of corporate evolution.
By David Parmenter
Wiley, 352 pages (print version)
CFOs are the critical pivot of many companies but the role can be a difficult one to understand. This book, building on Parmenter’s Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants, aims to examine ways to create permanent improvements in organisational processes from the CFO perspective. Parmenter has collected practices from more than 4000 financial managers globally, and uses the data to design reporting templates, rolling forecasts, workshop agendas and relevant KPIs. He also spends time on aligning reporting methods and schedules with corporate needs, emphasising the need to provide information that line managers can use. Parmenter realises that a CFO must also be good at managing people, and he offers useful lessons on developing leadership traits and getting the best from specialised teams. The book links to a companion website that has a range of supplementary tools and podcasts.