Editorial: Management, mayhem and money

There might be mayhem in the corporate sphere with number of high profile receiverships and staff cuts but the Auckland Chamber of Commerce’s first Business Confidence Survey for the year, reported mid-February (see survey results page 8), showed dramatic rise in confidence.
This could be seasonal and SME phenomenon; people coming back to work refreshed and chipper after break having had some decent summer weather for change. Time will tell with that but, unscientifically, I do recall in recent years that after yet another challenging 12 months, businesspeople still hanging in there generally start new year with optimism that ‘this time it will be better’.
This month’s ‘young gun’ writing in As I See It on page18 , MYOB’s Rhys Bateman, cites the Institute for Economic Research findings in SME research as indicating that businesses are just half way through the recovery cycle, with long way still to go.
That is, of coursea, if what we are experiencing is ‘recovery’ and not just the expression of today’s new reality where there are no ‘cycles’ as we knew them but just series of unpredictable periods of economic activity resulting from the particular forces at play at any one time. The few certainties are of the overarching macro kind, such as the inexorable march – or gallop – of technology; the tipping of the global economic power axis towards the east; the ageing workforce; and the disruption caused by the increasing incidence of extreme natural events driven by the dynamics of climate change.
Surprisingly perhaps, the thought leaders in our February NZ in 2013 special issue painted generally optimistic view of the year ahead. While generally well-received, University of Auckland’s director of operations Mike Groves, no doubt spoke for others when he questioned whether the picture would be so rosy if painted by manufacturers, retailers and exporters (see his letter on page 7). We undertook to do mid-year update on the leaders’ Q&A and include the latter sectors in the survey cohort.
Meantime we hope you enjoy this issue and its focus on the money. Mostly we’re not so flush that we can afford to risk losing hard-earned gains to corporate fraud. Bernard Hickey sits in on an SFO presentation and briefs us on the telltale signs that fraud is likely to be present. See the cover story on page 30.
Until next month and our focus on ‘big data’ in NZ Management’s Technology Issue.

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