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Letter from the chair.

Financial executives continue to respond to the ever-increasing demands for financial information. Publicly-held companies face greater demands due to Financial Accounting Standard Board rules and Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. Combined with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, this challenge is more acute for smaller public companies with limited resources, as well as for privately-held companies. Financial executives are presented with interpreting the applicability of FASB rules while trying to maintain growth in a highly-competitive market for capital. Amidst all this, Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) delivers timely, relevant research to keep financial executives up-to-date on the changing business environment.


For nearly 62 years, FERF has been striving towards its ongoing mission to advance the profession and practices of financial management through research and education. Through its projects on business and financial management topics, FERF objectively investigates the evolving role of financial executives, the practices of financial management, and the techniques to improve its effectiveness.

As the research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI), FERF publications provide timely analysis of the accounting, auditing and corporate governance issues facing corporate America today. More importantly, our work provides practical solutions on how to deal with these issues since it is based on the experiences of FEI members. The essence of FERF research is to communicate in various ways how FEI members wrestle with current issues and provide real time facts, issue analysis and solutions to enhance the value of FEI membership.

This connection was further enhanced this year as U.S. FEI members were provided with all FERF research reports as part of membership. By the end of fiscal 2006, FERF e-mailed 25 reports and alerts directly to members' desktops. An FEI member can now also receive continuing professional education credits through study of the FERF Executive Reports, another value for members and contributors.

Over the past year, FERF collaborated with FEI technical committees to determine the relevancy of our research. Direct results of this close alignment resulted in the following reports that were published based on key topics identified by FEI's Committees on Corporate Reporting, Finance and Information Technology and Private Companies:

* FEI Survey: Compliance Costs for Section 404

* Management's Reports on Internal Controls

* Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 Compliance: From Project to Sustainability

* XBRL Reference Guide: Guidance for the Application and Conversion Capabilities of XBRL

* Technology Issues for Financial Executives

* What Do Users of Private Company Financial Statements Want?

Meanwhile, FERF continued to reach out to FEI chapters to ensure that our research programs and offerings are applicable to the broader membership base. This ongoing iterative process will ensure that our research and resources are focused on topics of interest and that FERF provides a value proposition for all.

Additionally, other products--such as Private Net, Finance and Information Technology and What's New in Research are published monthly. FERF also contributed 20 magazine articles to Financial Executive magazine this year-another FEI member benefit that facilitates financial executives learning from their colleagues.

FERF services include the Ask FERF research service and FELIX, a moderated, e-mail based discussion forum. Approximately 20 questions per month are submitted by members through Ask FERF. In addition, throughout the year members from privately-held companies submitted 83 questions through FELIX. Both statistics point to the utility of such services for FEI members. To further enhance member services, FERF has reached out to the FEI chapters to develop professional development sessions based on our research reports.

The FERF mission is to provide high-quality, independent research. This year the FERF Board of Trustees focused on an update of bylaws and policies to improve FERF's ability to support this mission. As a result, FERF is seeking to enhance revenue sources through licensing and sponsorships, as well as, obtain greater participation from individual, corporate and chapter contributions. This year, leadership within the team of FERF staff was recognized by the trustees who, through the board committees, continue to work actively with the staff to develop talents and guide the organization.

Finally, this is the second consecutive year that FERF has seen an increase in net assets. All improvements to our products and services were attained using current year revenues. We hope to continue growing FERF's endowment for future years.

It has been my sincere pleasure to serve as FERF's Chair for the past two years. I would like to thank my fellow trustees for their efforts toward enhancing the value and relevancy of FERF research. Special thanks to trustees Scott Boggs and Brian Ruttencutter as outgoing chairs of the Budget and Investment and Audit and Development Committees. I would also like to welcome new trustees Marie Hollein, Nick Cyprus, Robert Scherba, William DeMilt and Kim Gazzola. I look forward to continuing working with my fellow trustees under the leadership of incoming FERF Chair, George Boyadjis.

I would also like to thank the FEI Board of Directors, led by Robert Walker, FEI Chair for fiscal 2006 and Colleen Cunningham, President and CEO, as well as the rest of the FERF team: Vice President of Research and Operations Cheryl Graziano, Director of Development Janet Russell, Director of Research and Corporate Secretary Bill Sinnett, and Director of Financial Services Lorna Raagas.

Most especially, FERF and I are thankful to all the FEI members and individual, corporate and chapter donors that support our research in so many ways. Our work is made possible by your generosity. We look forward to an ongoing partnership toward identifying research that will advance your financial management tools and also serve the finance profession.

Joan E. Netzel

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Author:Netzel, Joan E.
Publication:Financial Executive
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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