Our cover story this month is actually a multistory package in which we talk to CFOs in three critical industries and ask them about the outlook for 2012. Two of those industries, banking and housing, were at the heart of the financial meltdown of 2008 to name-your-end-date. The third, manufacturing, has been profoundly affected not only by the resulting plunge in consumer confidence, but by rising commodity prices, the shifting calculus of offshore labor rates, and many other factors.
So it’s fair to say that as these three industries go, so goes the economy. After all, we won’t get back to robust health based on iPad sales alone. The CFOs we spoke to all have interesting views on the challenges they face, and on the innovative directions their companies have taken to seek out growth opportunities amid these enduring tough times. This special package begins here.
In an effort to bring you as many CFO perspectives as possible, we continue to modify the look and feel of CFO magazine to more closely match our recently expanded website. In that spirit, you will find columns in this issue devoted to six of the seven topic areas that we cover in depth on our website every day. Beginning with our first issue of 2012, you will find all seven topic areas (Accounting & Tax, Banking & Capital Markets, Growth Companies, Human Capital & Careers, Risk & Compliance, Strategy, and Technology) represented in every issue. Our goal is to make it easier for you to quickly find the stories, data, and other business information you need, organized by topic and presented consistently across all our platforms.
This same structure holds true for our new mobile offerings, which range from a downloadable digital edition of CFO magazine to apps tailored specifically for smartphones and tablet devices. If you haven’t downloaded one or more of those free apps, I encourage you to take a look. We now provide a huge range of essential finance information in a clear, easy-to-use format ideally suited to each kind of device. Magazines are great — they’re light and portable, you can tear out pages to pass along to colleagues, and they never need to be recharged. But odds are good that you are never without a digital device of some kind, and if that’s true, then you always have CFO close to hand, literally.