The innovation situation.

Author:Westfall, Christopher
Position:EDITOR'S NOTE - Editorial

Innovation can be a very situational concept.

If the head of R&D walks into the CEO's office and lays out a plan to innovate a particular product line or market, the proper corporate forces can be marshaled and resources dedicated to realize that particular vision.

However, if someone on the finance team wants to "innovate" how a company reports revenue or records a loss, well, that requires a little more skepticism.

Such is the life of a financial or accounting executive; often denied the chance to have the term innovator, pioneer or even entrepreneur tied to their career, That's an itch that's often left unscratched for many.

But it does not have to be that way.

There are ways to innovate around core financial process to make them more streamlined, an exercise right in the CFO's wheelhouse. Getting that monthly close to be second nature to the entire finance staff often takes a creative genius to get all the personnel and technological resources in sync. The real payoff for innovation means getting the proper mix of risk and reward. In fact, a recent study by Deloitte and Harvard Business Review offered the right mix for the innovation payoff: 70 percent safe bets, 20 percent less sure and 10 percent high...

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