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From corporate taxes to crisis playbooks, here’s what mattered to CFOs this week

July 9, 2021, 9:00 AM UTC

Good morning,

Here’s what happened this week:

Research released on July 1 by Aon, a professional services firm, found that senior executives of corporate development teams, investment banks, and private equity firms view tax risk as “a more serious threat to deal success now than it was in the recent past,” according to an M&A Risk in Review report. “Tax risk can be large,” said Gary Blitz, co-CEO of M&A and transaction solutions practice at Aon. Tax planning is now crossing boarders and jurisdictions as businesses become increasingly more global, Blitz said. During a meeting this week in Venice, the G20 is likely to sign off on changes to global taxation rates. About 130 countries have endorsed a plan for multinational companies to pay an effective rate of at least 15%. “When there’s tax reform and tax legislation, there are new rules, and it takes many years for those rules to be explained in detail and understood,” Blitz said.

Following the Great Recession, for almost 10 years, Stanley Black & Decker has used a scenario planning playbook, CFO Donald Allan Jr. told me. “I can’t say that we perfectly planned out a scenario of what we just went through the last year and a half,” Allan said. But the Fortune 200 American manufacturer reported annual revenue of $14.5 billion in 2020, up 1% from the prior year. And net earnings of $4.2 billion in the first quarter of 2021, up 34%. Experiencing the financial ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic along with the current global semiconductor chip shortage has placed a focus on the question: “How do we build stronger relationships with our top 25 or top 30 vendors to make sure we really weather those cycles better than our competitors?” Allan said. 

What is it actually like to go through the process of taking your startup public via a SPAC? Fortune’s Quarterly Investment Guide includes a deep dive by Adam Bluestein into the SPAC journey of a startup called Ginkgo Bioworks. The biotech company was founded by four Ph.D. students in bioengineering and computer science at MIT. “A decade ago, Ginkgo would have had very limited options: position themselves as an acquisition target for a larger business or find an investment bank to underwrite an IPO,” Bluestein writes. “But in 2021 their path collided with one of the biggest financial trends of the year: SPACs.” Bluestein writes that In 2020, more than 248 SPACs were listed on Nasdaq or the NYSE, raising a record $83.4 billion—six times the amount raised in 2018, and nearly equal to the amount raised by traditional IPOs. Read the full story here


See you on Monday.

Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com

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Big deal

A new Gartner report found that most finance teams need a more effective assessment of customer behavior to understand the risks of nonpayment. Provisions and write-offs of bad debt increased to approximately $12.262 billion in 2020 from $9.75 billion in 2019, according to the report. The graphic below shows how the standard approach of evaluating a customer’s financial health often fails to reveal some of the reasons for nonpayment. 

Courtesy of Gartner

Going deeper

Here are a few good Fortune weekend reads:

Fortune's Quarterly Investment Guide by Fortune staff

Everything to know about REvil, the group behind a big ransomware spree by Jonathan Vanian

Higher inflation is no longer hypothetical—and it has Americans worried by Lance Lambert

Goldman Sachs: Ethereum could overtake Bitcoin by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez

Leaderboard

Some notable moves from this past week:

Robert Bellaflores was named CFO at LMP Automotive Holdings, Inc., an e-commerce and facilities-based automotive retailer. Bellaflores has served as senior corporate controller at LMP since April 16, 2021. He has over 30 years of accounting experience in both public and private industries.

Tracy S. Harris was named CFO at MIB Group, Inc., which provides insurance services. Harris brings over 20 years of experience spanning public, private, and non-profit sectors having served as CFO for several organizations.

Patrick Shearer was named CFO at NuZee, Inc., a specialty coffee company. Shearer brings to the company over 25 years of experience, including serving as a partner in the risk and financial advisory services practice of Deloitte.

Emily Smith was named CFO at Vanguard Renewables, a company that specializes in food and dairy waste-to-renewable energy projects. Prior to joining the company, Smith served as SVP of corporate development and operations at Energy Recovery.

Overheard

“Every time someone enters a buy action, we have a warning that says it’s an unproven asset, it’s highly volatile, and you could lose all of your money.”

—Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi, an online finance company, on a warning issued to customers before a crypto purchase, as told to CNBC.

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