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From balancing crypto to building remote trust, here’s what mattered to CFOs this week

September 3, 2021, 9:00 AM UTC

Good morning,

Here’s what happened this week:

Blockchain.com surpassed $1 trillion in crypto transactions, CFO Macrina Kgil told me. I spoke with Kgil ahead of the cryptocurrency exchange and digital wallet company’s 10-year anniversary on August 30. “These numbers don’t reflect what’s bought and sold on our exchange, but rather real usage of crypto: instantly sending value across the world as easily as sending an email,” she wrote in a blog post. This milestone is “really a great message that crypto is not just for going on an exchange and buying and selling,” Kgil said. She believes crypto will drive a digital financial system. Blockchain.com keeps both cash and crypto on its balance sheet, Kgil said. “The main pieces of crypto we hold are Bitcoin and Ethereum … but we do also hold Altcoins, as a company, when we think it makes sense,” she said.

Coinbase announced on August 19 it planned to buy $500 million worth of crypto and allocate 10% of its quarterly profits to the portfolio. Meanwhile, Walmart is hiring a crypto expert, and Amazon is seeking a digital currency and blockchain product lead. So, I had a conversation about the accounting treatment of crypto with with Russ Porter, the newly named CFO and SVP of strategy, technology, and analytics at the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). “The AICPA [Association of International Certified Professional Accountants] has come out with good guidance,” Porter said. “One of the challenges is clearly going to be the lack of definitive guidance from either the SEC or the FASB [Financial Accounting Standards Board] about the accounting treatment of crypto,” he told me. Porter explained how the volatility of crypto can affect reporting periods. 

Not all executives are convinced that their staff will effectively perform remotely or with a hybrid work schedule. Just a third of executives surveyed said they fully trust their staff in the tech-related tasks that come with remote work, a report released on August 31 by Wakefield Research and Vyopta found. That said, 72% said in the next 12 months, they plan to maintain or expand the number of employees working a hybrid schedule. About 83% of executives surveyed said a staff member has received disciplinary action for an error during an audio or video conference call, according to the report. “Many businesses have not defined and communicated their expectations for remote and hybrid work simply because they are still trying to figure out what makes sense for their company and culture,” Vyopta CEO Alfredo Ramirez told me. Ramirez offered some tips to help workers up their tech game. 

TIAA announced on September 1 that Dave Dowrich is the next CFO, effective November 1. Dowrich joins the company from Prudential Financial, where he was SVP and CFO for the international business and based in Japan. The firm also announced that Derek Ferguson was named chief administrative officer, effective October 4. In less than a year, TIAA has made major strides when it comes to C-suite diversity. Ferguson and Dowrich, Black males and now C-suite leaders at TIAA, are challenging the traditional underrepresentation of people of color in financial sector leadership roles. In May, TIAA president and CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett succeeded Roger W. Ferguson Jr., who retired after 13 years as CEO. Duckett is one of two Black women leading Fortune 500 companies. And Ferguson was one of few Black male Fortune 500 CEOs


The next CFO Daily will be on Tuesday, September 7, due to the Labor Day holiday. Thanks for reading and see you next week.

Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com

****

Big deal

The third-quarter American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Economic Outlook Survey released on September 2 found executives' outlook on the U.S. economy is beginning to shift. About 51% of executives surveyed said they're optimistic about the economy over the next 12 months, compared to 70% last quarter. About 77% of respondents said they have concerns about inflation. Executives shared tactics their companies are using to hedge against inflation, such as imposing price hikes. Survey respondents included CEOs, CFOs, controllers, and other certified public accountants.

Courtesy of AICPA

Going deeper

Here are a few Fortune reads for the weekend:

Controversial CEO, ousted after pushing bankers’ work-life balance, gets new role rebuilding post-Brexit Britain by Jeremy Kahn

This ‘financial astrologer’ sees the future of Bitcoin—and says it could go to zero by Shawn Tully

The record-breaking M&A market could get even hotter by Megan Leonhardt

Tech stocks could rise another 10% in 2021, says one analyst. Shares in these companies should benefit by Anne Sraders

Leaderboard

Some notable moves from this past week:

Axel André was named CFO at American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, joining in September. Most recently, André served as EVP and CFO for Jackson National. He also served at AIG as CFO of individual retirement. Prior to AIG, André was a managing director on the global insurance strategies team at Goldman Sachs.

Sara Furber was named CFO at Tradeweb Markets Inc., a global operator of electronic marketplaces, effective September 7, 2021. Furber succeeds Robert Warshaw, who will leave the company following a period of transition. She joins Tradeweb from IEX Group, a U.S. equity exchange operator, where she was CFO since 2018. Furber previously spent 20 years in senior roles at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Jeff Gruener was named SVP and CFO at Walgreens, the U.S. segment of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Most recently, Gruener was with Walmart for 12 years in roles including SVP of finance and strategy, SVP of merchandising operations, VP of finance for Sam’s Club and VP of global procurement. Prior to Walmart, he worked at Sears Holdings Corporation, serving in a variety of business development, strategy, and marketing roles.

Andrew Krasner was named CFO at Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, broking, and solutions company. Krasner returns to the company after serving as CFO of AssuredPartners, Inc. His career with Willis Towers Watson began in 2009, serving as global treasurer and head of mergers and acquisitions, and senior vice president of Willis Towers Watson Securities. Krasner succeeds Michael Burwell in the CFO role, who is taking a senior role in the medical and data analytics industry, according to the company.

Overheard

“I would imagine that many have threatened to quit or actually quit over invasive surveillance. That pushback may be enough to get an employer to cave.”

—Calli Schroeder, global privacy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, on workers in a tight job market having leverage when objecting to employer surveillance, as told to Fortune

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