There Is A Roadmap Through Today’s Financial Crunch

Ram Charan has a thing or two over most of today’s business leaders, and among them is this: He was advising CFOs and CEOs the last time that the economy hit the wall, nearly 15 years ago, and most of the current crop of corporate chiefs weren’t in major decision-making positions at that point. They have no roadmap for facing what’s ahead.

Relax—at least a little bit—was Charan’s message in a keynote at the CFO Leadership Council’s 12th Annual Leadership Conference. But it wasn’t an empty encouragement: Charan shared several specific strategic and tactical recommendations with the CFOs and other top finance executives who attended the annual gathering of Chief Executive Group’s CFO Leadership Council in Boston.

And Charan stressed why it is important for attendees to follow his advice in some form. “Each of you is a leader of your company,” he said. “Each of you is a leader in the finance function. And the finance function is crucial.”

Here’s the gist of Charan’s recommendations:

• Remember that cash is king. Manage your business “on the basis of cash, not on the basis of accounting,” Charan said, reminding his audience that Jeff Bezos built Amazon into a multi-billion-dollar company partly by putting cash on the throne of his operating philosophy.

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