2013 donor acknowledgement.

Author:Freeman, Thomas D.
Position:Financial Executives Research Foundation over the years

Message to our Contributors

What will financial executives need to know to operate effectively in three years? Five years? 10 years? 30 years?

To get a sense of how daunting and ridiculous that question is, consider this fact: Thirteen short years ago, AT&T became the first U.S. cellular company to offer instant text messaging for mobile phones. Texting is now the most widely used data application in the world. For that matter, Facebook is less than 10 years old, and we've had the smartphones for just five years. Who could have imagined how much these developments have changed how we live? If past is prologue, then imagine what we'll witness in the next five or 10 years!

One of the most important tasks that Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) tackled in 2013 was a review of its strategic long-range plan, with the full and humbling knowledge that the only thing about the future that we know for certain is that it will surprise us.

Still, whatever changes we may see, our mission remains the same: To provide knowledge and insight that enable informed decision-making by senior-level financial executives and their organizations. Likewise, the plan outlines a Big Audacious Goal for FERF: To be recognized and trusted by financial executives as a preeminent source of relevant, actionable knowledge and information that are used for effective decision-making.

Let's focus on two words in that Big Audacious Goal: relevant and actionable. We want to be the go-to organization for must-read research. All of us have credenzas piled high with well-meaning, academic tomes and white papers that we never actually got around to reading. That's not what FERF is about. If we are to be of value to senior-level financial executives, our research must be focused on their everyday needs and issues.

To achieve that end, the strategic plan is divided into short and long-range planning horizons. The 10-30-year horizon discusses the core mission and the Big Audacious Goal. The five-to-10-year horizon describes the expected landscape, e.g., more reliance on technology and tougher regulatory environment, while the three-to-five-year planning horizon sets out clearly defined objectives, such as improving the timeliness and editorial quality of our research. We will review and revisit these objectives annually.

The strategic plan was the big headline for 2013...

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