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The promise of big data hasn’t yet been fulfilled, and some executives say it’s hurting more than helping. According to a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs, which was cited by Fortune, “roughly 80% of large companies report they’ve seen an important strategic decision go haywire in the past three years because it was based on ‘flawed’ data.” Meanwhile, nearly one-third of C-level executives say information overload has “made things worse.” The biggest challenges so far have been trying to do too much too fast, and internal bureaucracies that limit the flow of information in the business.
Retail CFOs on 2016: Down, but not out (CFO.com)
Retail CFOs have a tepid outlook for the year ahead, according to CFO.com. In a recent survey of 100 finance chiefs in the retail sector, “three quarters said they expect sales to increase this year, but on average they pegged the increase at only 3.4%.” That’s down from 3.9% last year and 5.1% in 2014. Meanwhile, retail sales growth last year was significantly lower than expected, at just 2.1% — “the poorest year-over-year performance since the sharp decline suffered in 2009,” the publication reports.
After releasing a negative outlook for 2016, Nordstrom CFO Michael Koppel said part of what’s dragging down the company’s profits is its attempt to keep up with online retailers like Amazon. “With our increased investments to gain market share along with the changing business model, expenses in recent years have grown faster than sales,” he said. This is a major industry challenge as millennials, who have become the dominant force in retail sales, do much of their shopping online, forcing brick-and-mortar retailers to bulk up their online presence.
Companies pay workers to live close to the office (The Wall Street Journal)
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, some companies like Facebook are beginning to offer a new perk: “rent subsidies, house-hunting services, and down-payment help for employees willing to live close to the office.” It aims to attract talent to high-cost areas like New York and San Francisco, and to help reduce the stress and burden of long commute times.
In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times, Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger described an unconventional hiring tactic he uses to find candidates with strong character: Sometimes he invites the job candidate to breakfast — but arrives at the restaurant early, pulls the manager aside, and asks them to mess up the candidate’s order. “I do that because I want to see how the person responds,” he tells Bryant. “That will help me understand how they deal with adversity.” Sneaky, but effective.