Your company’s treasury team is a powerful function with the ability to influence all the levers of shareholder returns. Yet, often these teams are structured, staffed, and incentivized poorly.Continue reading →
Warren Buffett’s reputation as an investor has become legendary. What can an individual investor learn from Warren Buffett’s investment style, his philosophy, and some of his past mistakes?Continue reading →
Over the last few decades, the role of the CFO has undergone a profound shift. The historical tasks of the finance function such as books and records, financial reporting, and statutory compliance continue to be important but are now taken for granted by CEOs. The CFO of today and tomorrow must be able to take financial data and use it to influence operational decision making and strategy. But how?
In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Paul Ainsworth draws on his experience over his 30+ year career as a CFO at large, multinational companies across different geographies to outline the changing role of the CFO and the necessary skillset required to fulfill the growing expectations.Continue reading →
Overdue receivables are one of the most common and serious frustrations entrepreneurs face. The hidden costs can be staggering, from lost time dealing with the problem to the cost of hiring dedicated experts, to the serious and long term damage to a business’ reputation with its clients.
In this practical and comprehensive guide, Toptal Finance Expert Scott Hoover shows that overdue receivables are actually easily avoidable. Scott outlines six steps all businesses should take, which will make a material difference to accounts receivable and tackle any issues up-front.Continue reading →
The Python language has the functionality to consign many a VBA-filled spreadsheet, held together with sticky tape, to the recycle bin. Its ease of use and suitability for iterative development lends well to finance-based workflows. This article delves into this and provides a brief tutorial.Continue reading →
Using the 2016 Wells Fargo Banking Scandal as an example, this article dissects the situation according to the principles of the three classic ethical theorists: Plato, Kant, and Mill. It then offers some suggestions on how to improve ethics in business.Continue reading →
Consultants often struggle to find new, solid clients. We asked Steve Blank, the founder of the Lean Startup movement (and someone who has helped hundreds of companies get a better product to market faster and worked with dozens of consultants along the way) how consultants can attract clients.
Steve’s advice is a bit counter-intuitive. But it’s something that Toptal’s best consultants have already been doing for years.Continue reading →
With today’s rapid pace of technological progress, organizational change is perhaps more necessary than it ever has been. But change is hard. Countless studies show that more often than not, corporations fail to implement change successfully, losing money, time, and employee morale in the process.
Based on his 20+ years of international finance experience across a range of industries, and over a decade of experience as a CFO, Toptal Finance Expert Edwin Petersen outlines his thoughts on why change management often fails and how to get it right.Continue reading →
A decidedly less sexy, albeit critical, part of a CFO’s job description is working capital management and optimization. There are countless examples of companies that are forced to incur unnecessary debt and other financial obligations to meet their short-term financing needs, when in fact ample cash is sitting idly stuck in working capital.
But working capital optimization is hard to get right and often requires significant cross-functional efforts to execute effectively. In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Emilio Labrador draws on 25 years of professional experience across multiple industries to outline some of his main suggestions and approaches on how to tackle working capital management projects.Continue reading →
The field of robotics has seen incredible strides forward in recent years. As a result of improvements in computer vision, dexterity and also overall economics, use of robots has increased in a variety of different fields. However, most of the growth in robotics so far has happened in industrial applications, and thus hidden from the view of the general public. But is this about to change?
In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Francesco Castellano focuses on the commercial robotics market. Thanks to recent breakthroughs in the fields of AI, mechatronics, sensors, and batteries, service and commercial robots are likely to see tremendous growth and adoption, likely heralding a new robotics revolution that could transform our daily lives in countless ways.Continue reading →
A monthly digest packed with information that will make you a smarter financial professional.
Every month, we bring you our top financial news insights, inspiring content and fascinating interviews packed with tips and advice from our top experts. In June, we dissect Mary Meeker’s slides (what is she telling us with just one slide on Crypto?), ponder invisible asymptotes, and interview Scott Brown on what makes an incredible Interim CFO.Continue reading →
Companies, like castles, need a line of defense to repel the invaders’ advances. Economic moats, taking a cue from their watery namesakes, are long-term and sustainable competitive advantages that protect others from seizing market share. But on the flipside, are they actually just lazy, passive strategies that shun innovation?Continue reading →
In the last Super Bowl when the New England Patriots faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles, Americans bet a staggering $4.76 billion on the game. 97% of that figure was done so illegally. However, this will likely change by the time the next Super Bowl rolls around. In a hotly anticipated move on May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, paving the way for states to legalize sports betting.
This article covers the foundations of sports betting, including its $150 billion market size, implementation timeline, and revenue distribution. It will also examine the implications of its legalization, including increased sports engagement and popularity, ethical concerns, fresh opportunities, and its impact on fantasy sports and eSports.Continue reading →
Of the three functional categories that drive value in business—i.e., the “hard,” the “soft,” and the “intangible”—mission statements comfortably reside in the third, alongside such concepts as brand and culture.
But despite the skepticism that is often associated with this category, and having uncovered some of the greatest gems in the corporate arena, this article argues that mission statements, when crafted and utilized effectively, are capable of driving billions of dollars in value.Continue reading →
Fewer than 3% of applicants make it through Toptal Finance’s rigorous screening process. How do the best of the best become such effective financial consultants? We sat down with one of Toptal’s most on-demand financial consultants, Jeffrey Fidelman, who shared his proprietary methods for ensuring success for his clients and how he has grown his own business exponentially.Continue reading →
In an era of subdued prices and with usage expected to plateau within the next 30 years, the focus for oil and gas companies must turn to cost control. Applying technological innovations such as blockchains, wearables, and advanced analytics to the supply chain can keep costs in check and maintain profitability.Continue reading →
This year, Spotify will move its headquarters from Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood downtown to the Financial District. Beyond its physical presence, Spotify will also make its mark at NYSE when it goes public via direct listing, an unusual choice. What is expected to be the largest tech public debut of 2018 has set Wall Street and the music industry abuzz, with everyone eager to see how this unconventional approach will play out.
This article covers everything you need to know: a brief overview of the typical IPO process, how the direct listing will function, why Spotify chose to buck tradition, potential motivations behind the decision, and its potential implications.Continue reading →
Did you know that, in 2016, $60 billion was invested in art, which was comparable to the exit proceeds from venture capital investing?
This article sheds light on the opaque world of art investments and whether it’s a realistic choice for inclusion in portfolios. The article covers types of art as well as how investments are valued and return performance relative to other assets.Continue reading →
The attention on international payments tends to center around innovations appearing in the developed world. But what about developing countries?
This article addresses what contributes to volatility and illiquidity in emerging market currencies, and how they can stabilize to become more flexible.Continue reading →
Financial purists have long questioned whether corporate, environmental, and social initiatives benefit the bottom line and how to quantify their impact.
In this article, we put aside motive—of genuine altruism or self interest—and philosophical debates around moral obligation. Instead, we examine the results of studies around whether corporate responsibility initiatives positively impact profitability, examples of companies that have implemented such measures successfully, and recommendations for those looking to do so.Continue reading →
Today, there are many celebrities that have become investors, and many investors that are borderline celebrities. One thing is clear: The division between Hollywood and Silicon Valley has become increasingly blurred. Though in the past it has been common for famous entertainers, musicians, or actors to grow their wealth through real estate, royalties, or restaurants, celebrities today are turning towards tech investments.
This article explores why celebrities are drawn to Silicon Valley, the types of companies they invest in, different models of their involvement, and commentary on how it impacts the tech industry.Continue reading →
With the global workforce becoming increasingly mobile, international money transfers (“remittances”) have equally grown in prominence, passing the $530 billion a year mark in 2016.
Fees for transfers are at an all-time low, thanks to pressure from bodies such as the UN, which is providing consumers with more value. But how are transfer companies responding to this pressure and what steps are they taking to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack?Continue reading →
When most hear “drone,” they think expensive military aircrafts or small consumer toys. However, the future of drones will actually be shaped by practical commercial applications, due to their ability to drive efficiency and data analytics.
This article defines drones and their total addressable market and highlights how their capabilities can be leveraged in commercial business operations. It also includes investment trends and predictions for the future of the industry.Continue reading →
EBITDA is one of the most common metrics in finance. However, while intended to provide a “cleaner” picture of operating performance than net income, in reality it often achieves the opposite effect. It is also in many cases a questionable proxy for cash flow, as well as a dubious valuation tool.Continue reading →
Though traditional economic theory posits that individuals are rational, we all know this to be an oversimplification of the truth. The cyclical investment process is rife with psychological pitfalls. Only by becoming aware of and actively avoiding innate behavioral biases can investors reach impartial decisions. Herein lies the true value of the emerging field of behavioral finance, which sheds light on true financial behavior.Continue reading →
As consumers, we’re familiar with AI: we benefit from cars that parallel park themselves, devices that respond when asked questions, and streaming platforms that suggest shows we may like. However, professionally, the larger question is how industries will harness the power of AI. In finance, AI offers opportunities for operational efficiencies in everything from risk management and trading to insurance underwriting.Continue reading →
The Glass-Steagall Act, Depression-era legislation, has had a controversial, unconventional run. 80 years after its inception, it’s made its way back into public discourse. This article examines the historical context of the Act, its erosion, and its repeal, as well as its impact on the financial crisis.Continue reading →
After several months of relative quiet, Greece is back in the spotlight as the latest repayment deadline on its bailout debt comes due in July. We take the opportunity to review the root causes of the crisis, what has been happening since it kicked off, and what needs to be done to resolve the situation.Continue reading →
A cashless society is approaching, with progress particularly pronounced in certain parts of the world. This piece examines global payment trends, as well as benefits and drawbacks of a cashless economy. It also includes case studies on India and Sweden, two countries already transitioning to a cashless future.Continue reading →
With tax reform discussions likely to rise to the national forefront, this article provides analysis regarding border adjustment taxes and the recent House proposal. It assesses economic implications and historical comparisons to help you understand how you and your business might be impacted.Continue reading →
For young companies, the value of a full-time CFO is hotly contested. At the debate’s core, is the trade-off between the sheer expense of an experienced CFO at such an early stage (not cheap), and the value said individual posits to confer where growth, strategy, fundraising, and operations are concerned.
Borrowing elements from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and adapting them for this purpose, Toptal Finance Expert Scott Brown introduces a unique framework for how startups might go about thinking through and making this decision.Continue reading →
Since the historic Brexit vote, much speculation has been made regarding the effects this would have on the UK’s economy. In this article, I take a look at what the anticipated impacts of Brexit on the UK financial sector are, assess their merits and likelihood, and see what the long-lasting impact on the financial sector around the world may be.Continue reading →