CFOs Favor 'WSJ,' 'The Economist' As News Consumers

CFOs of North American companies prefer to turn to The Wall Street Journal and The Economistfor news on specific topics, according to a report released this week by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.

Every quarter, the report, called “CFO Signals” tracks the thinking and actions of CFOs in North America’s largest and most influential companies. This survey included 132 CFOs from the US, Canada and Mexico. Most of the respondents are from the U.S. and work at companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, in the manufacturing, financial services and retail/wholesale industries.

The last time the report looked at how CFOs stay informed was nearly seven years ago.

The report reveals: “CFOs appear to be spending considerably more time staying abreast of global economic and policy developments than they used to. And they seem to be relying substantially on their own research (note that less than 25% say they have an on-staff economist).”

In order of preference, when it comes to staying informed on macroeconomics and geopolitics, CFOs turn to WSJ, The Economist, Bloomberg, NYT, CNN, Financial Times, Washington Post, Fox News and CNBC.

For tax, fiscal and monetary government policy, WSJ tops the list again, followed by The Economist, Bloomberg, NYT, CNBC, CNN and Financial Times.

On the capital, commodity and real estate markets, WSJ and Bloomberg are the most popular, but many CFOs are getting their news directly from bank publications as well.

CFO Magazine comes in second to WSJ for executive management trends news, with Harvard Business Review coming in third.

As for industry trends, CFOs are not relying on major news channels, but instead on internal briefings and finance teams’ insights, as well as industry-specific newsletters.

When it comes to CFOs’ preferred daily news sources, their choices are highly varied.

“Different preferences among age groups appear to be a contributing factor,” according to the report.

Broad-based news sites and apps dominate, with 40% of CFOs naming free sites and apps in their top three. Sites and apps that require a subscription or a form of payment came in as third most popular at 31%.

Television and printed dailies are still popular among CFOs. Television and cable news came in second at 34%, with printed daily news tied for third at 31%.

Reliance on TV and printed daily newspapers, however, is considerably lower among younger CFOs (56% of CFOs participating in the report are over 50, and 18% are 45 or younger).

As for which devices are being used the most, laptop and desktop PCs are the No. 1 choice. Phones are more popular with younger CFOs and tablets are used more by older CFOs.

Overall, CFOs say about 43% of their news consumption happens on a laptop or desktop PC. Broadcast media, such as radio and TV, are consumed predominantly by CFOs over 45 in the report.

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