A BusinessWeek survey of CFOs with Deloitte Consulting, soon to be renamed Braxton Associates, shows that CFOs today are working longer hours and believe their jobs are a lot harder. Regulatory pressure, investor anger, and political pressure are factors. CFOs also feel they are getting more help from more active audit committees. This is all to the good. But a third of those surveyed also believe that even with the new rules and legislation, an Enron-type disaster could still happen. Clearly, there is no substitute for shareholder and director vigilance.
The perilous state of the world has investors fleeing to the safety of bonds, gold, cash, and real estate, understandably. But much of that wariness will begin to lift in the months ahead, and investors will begin to come out of their shells. When they do, they will discover financial statements that are more believable today than at any moment in the past decade. CFOs are back to doing their jobs again. And that's good news for the bottom line.